Franklin Regional girls volleyball leaning on senior-heavy rotation

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Saturday, September 10, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Rachel Carter’s first season as coach of the Franklin Regional girls volleyball team was a getting-to-know-you time for the team’s new leader and its players.

Now that her system is taking root, the Panthers are ready to build toward the future.

“We put a lot of work in last year to have a successful season and it worked,” said Carter, formerly Rachel Frye, a standout at Kiski Area. “It is so much fun to coach this team and I am grateful to have such a great group of girls and the best coaching staff. I know that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

The Panthers went 12-4 last season and earned the No. 6 seed in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs before falling to Montour, 3-0, in the first round.

Seven starters returned for Carter, including Madison Nguyen, Reily Ruane and Lexa Yankauskas, who will captain a senior-heavy team.

Nguyen is a setter, while the 5-foot-11 Ruane plays right-side hitter and Yankauskas is on the outside.

“We have great team chemistry and trust each other,” Carter said. “That alone is a huge strength. But we are also lucky to have a lot of talent on our team again in each role on the court.”

Senior 5-10 middle hitter Ella Evans had 207 kills, 36 blocks and 49 aces last season, while Nguyen provided 197 assists.

Junior defensive specialist Brooke Feorene had 157 digs and 34 aces. Other key returnees are senior outside hitter Lily Alisesky and senior middle hitter Maren Whiteford.

“Our setters and defensive specialists will be the drivers of our offense, and it will be up to our hitters to put balls away,” Carter said. “We have a bunch of returning hitters who are ready to make a big impact this year.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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