Fox Chapel girls volleyball shows early-season progress

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Saturday, September 10, 2022 | 11:01 AM


After some recent struggles, it appears the Fox Chapel girls volleyball team is headed in the right direction.

The Foxes were 0-12 in section play last season, 0-16 overall.

But Fox Chapel started out 1-2 and coach Diana Andreyko, in her sixth year with the program, has reason for optimism.

“We’re actually pretty optimistic,” she said. “Once again, we’re very, very young, but we’re on the rise.”

Fox Chapel defeated Knoch, 3-2, in the season’s opener to go with losses to Butler and Mars.

Fox Chapel has just two seniors — Alina Stiger and libero Peyton Shema — but there are 10 sophomores who took their lumps as freshmen last season, but weren’t discouraged.

“It’s very promising that all 10 came back,” Andreyko said. “Some played club volleyball and some had private lessons, and I definitely see a big difference.”

One is middle hitter Vanessa Perez and another sophomore is Claire Feczko, an outside hitter.

Andreyko, a former standout at Pitt, is also impressed with a freshman, Emma DiRocco.

“She’s a freshman middle hitter and Emma is very athletic and mobile,” the coach said.

One thing is certain: the Foxes will have to learn about some new section foes. Fox Chapel has been placed in Section 3-4A with Hempfield, Norwin, Penn-Trafford and perennial contender Shaler. Gone are familiar rivals such as Butler, North Hills and North Allegheny.

Four teams qualify for the WPIAL playoffs, but in a five-team section, there are only eight chances to make a mark.

Fox Chapel has had considerable girls volleyball success in the past, winning 10 section titles — the most recent was in 2011.

The seventh and eighth grade program is also in place.

Assistant coach Natalie Myers Johnson is in her second season.

Said Andreyko: “I’m happy to have Natalie back and we also have an addition, former Peters Township coach Nikki Oakes. She was a good player and she also spends time with the middle school.”

Other nonsection games will be played against Baldwin, Highlands and North Hills.

“I’m seeing our girls progress more and more,” Andreyko said. “I’m glad I’ve been sticking around. It’s taken a couple of years, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Fox Chapel last made the WPIAL volleyball playoffs in 2016, losing an opening round match to Seneca Valley, 3-0.

The last Fox Chapel playoff victory was in 2012 when the Foxes defeated Canon-McMillan, Upper St. Clair and North Allegheny en route to a WPIAL title game loss to Mt. Lebanon.

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