Fisher’s Files: Quaker Valley volleyball players earn all-state honors

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Sunday, December 17, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Two Quaker Valley girls — Annica Kagle and Vanessa Pickett — were chosen to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association all-state team in the Class 2A division.

Kagle is a senior right-side hitter and a two-time all-state selection. Pickett is a junior setter.

“I was honored to be chosen again,” Kagle said. “I was excited to be chosen with Vanessa this year. I am so happy for Vanessa because she works really hard and is a great teammate. We could not have won this award without our great teammates.

“I am very proud of how our team finished this year. We worked really hard as a team and we had a lot of fun, too. I think this was really a great way to end my senior season.”

Pickett was elated to be chosen among the top players in the state. She is one of 11 juniors named all-state in Class 2A.

“When I found out I made the all-state team, I was ecstatic,” Pickett said. “I was really happy to know that all of my hard work during the season paid off and others realized that. The all-state team is a group of very talented individuals, and I am honored to the opportunity to make this team. Over the past year, I have worked really hard to get to where I am now.

“I am very grateful to have the chance to be a part of the QV girls volleyball program. The team is made up of talented players and great coaches. I am looking forward to what our team will do next season.”

Mat families

Two of the many families that have been instrumental in the success of the QV wrestling program in its brief history are the Richey and Kazalas households.

Logan Richey (112-51), Justin Richey (107-41) and Marcus Richey (20-16) have racked up 239 wins between them since 2018-19.

Jack Kazalas (106-21) and John Rocco Kazalas (105-20) have combined to win 211 times.

“It takes a village to have gotten the program to where it is today,” QV coach Austin Heinl said. “It has been a privilege to be around great people and great student-athletes. They are some of the most respectful, smart and hard-working kids I’ve been around.

“I definitely feel the love they have for the sport and the program.”

Two more families that have helped establish QV wrestling as one of the WPIAL’s top programs are the Cutchembers and Diemerts.

Donovan and Patrick Cutchember were WPIAL champions during their QV wrestling careers. Mason and Jack Diemert were regional qualifiers for the Quakers.

Six wrestlers have eclipsed 100 career wins at QV, led by Clarion’s Patrick Cutchember at 141-31.

Cutchember was a four-year letterman in wrestling, football and lacrosse and is the Quakers’ all-time leader in wins and falls (87).

“Patrick has to be proud of his career,” Heinl said. “He set a lot of records in our brief (team) history.”

Others who have broken the century mark at QV are John Rocco Kazalas (134-33), Connor Redinger (112-20), Logan Richey (112-50), Gettysburg recruit Justin Richey (107-41) and Jack Kazalas (105-20), who achieved the feat in three seasons.

John Rocco Kazalas, Jack’s older brother, competed at Moon as a freshman but still hit the century mark at QV by going 105-20 in three years. Redinger also won 107 times in his first three seasons with the Quakers.

Keep an eye on Coyle

QV senior guard Joe Coyle was named a player to watch in Class 4A this season in WPIAL boys basketball.

Coyle opened the season Dec. 1 with a sizzling 30-point performance in the Quakers’ 54-46 tip-off tournament win against Sewickley Academy.

The Quakers defeated host Carlynton, 66-37, in the championship game behind sophomore guard Zach Washington’s 15 points, Coyle with 14 and freshman guard Sam Chapman’s 12.

Through three games — QV lost a 69-44 decision Dec. 5 at Knoch — Coyle led the team in scoring (20.3 ppg), assists (7.3 avg) and steals. Washington also averaged double figures at 12.7 ppg.

The Quakers’ leading rebounder was junior forward Dominic Cox-Giles (5.3 avg), while junior forward Dana Kromah averaged a team-high 2 blocks per game.

Thiero fills nets

Oumou “Mimi” Thiero, Quaker Valley’s sophomore sensation in girls basketball, scored a season-high 28 points Dec. 11 in a 56-46 nonsection loss to visiting Freedom.

Sophomore guard Lucy Roig contributed eight points for the Quakers including a pair of 3-pointers.

The 6-foot-4 Thiero was averaging 22 ppg through four games this season. She was named by Trib HSSN as a 4A player to watch “who has perhaps the highest ceiling of any player in WPIAL girls basketball.”

Thiero already has received a Division I offer from Duquesne.

Good start for SA

The Sewickley Academy boys basketball team matched its win total of last year with a 42-41 nonsection victory Dec. 12 at home against Eden Christian.

The Panthers, who finished 3-18 in 2022-23, improved to 3-2 under first-year coach Jim Dudas with impressive wins over New Brighton, 66-33 and Cornell, 68-53, and the nail-biter against Eden Christian.

Wrestlers ranked

Quaker Valley’s wrestling team was third in the WPIAL Class 2A Top 10 in the Trib HSSN 2023-24 preseason rankings.

The first five teams on the list were Burgettstown, Burrell, QV, Frazier and McGuffey, followed by Highlands, Mt. Pleasant, Freedom, Jefferson-Morgan and Derry.

Quakers win opener

The QV boys basketball team connected on eight of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter to salt away its season-opening victory against Sewickley Academy.

Coyle sank four of six charity shots, Chapman hit three of four and Kromah was one for one.

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