Latrobe volleyball hopes to gain momentum with healthy lineup

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Sunday, September 22, 2019 | 9:22 PM


Reaching the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs was the goal last year for Latrobe’s girls volleyball team.

The Wildcats achieved it but want even more this fall.

“After not making playoffs for 10 years, the experience was a lot different to play and watch,” Latrobe senior Skylar Shank said. “This year, our goal is to win the section and not only make it to playoffs, but go farther.”

Latrobe returns a large core from last year’s squad, which fell to Butler, 3-0, in the WPIAL first round.

Seniors Sydney Quinn (outside hitter), Lauren Cammerata (middle hitter), Sadie Wetzel (opposite hitter), Abby Rullo (setter) and Shank (libero) join junior Emma Fenton (setter/right-side hitter) as returning starters. Senior outside hitter Sarah Vasinko lettered last season and moved into the starting lineup.

Seniors Ainsley Novotny (defensive specialist), Katelin Templeton (defensive specialist) and Carlin Johns (middle hitter), junior Gracie Wetzler (outside hitter), sophomores Annamarie Rafferty (middle hitter) and Bailey Watson (defensive specialist) and freshman Lilian Fenton (setter) see time in the rotation as well.

“A lot of us are returning lettermen. That helps with varsity experience,” Shank said. “A lot of us played in that playoff game, which was a new experience for us. We’re used to playing together over the years. With some new additions, it’s all coming together this year.”

Injuries derailed the team’s start of Section 3 play. Cammerata went down with a calf injury in the first match (a 3-1 loss to Connellsville), and Emma Fenton had to leave the squad’s second section match (a 3-2 loss to Penn-Trafford) with a calf cramp.

The injuries contributed to an 0-2 start. The team rallied for a 2-1 mark in its next three section matches to climb back in the race.

“We had gone through our two scrimmages and didn’t lose a set in any of them. We had high hopes and were ready to take on the world. One person goes down, then another, and that changes the whole dynamics of the team you put together and you have to start throwing people in positions they are not used to,” Latrobe coach Drew Vosefski said. “It’s been a rough start to the season, but we’re getting through it. We’re looking to get back on track.”

With both players back in the lineup, Latrobe hopes to make some headway in a competitive section race.

“Our section, I think, is the best competition, top to bottom, of any of the sections. It’s a dogfight every night. We probably beat ourselves up more than teams in the other sections. Everyone comes to play every night,” Vosefski said. “I am super proud of the way the girls have hung together through the adversity we’ve faced. I am looking forward to being back to normal strength and seeing what we can do to reach our goals.”

Shank has seen the team continue to improve from last year. She hopes it continues.

“I think we’re talking a lot more together as a team, and that helps. We’re coming together and working together as one, instead of individually,” she said. “There are nine seniors, and we’ve been playing together since seventh grade. We’re all comfortable with each other on the court and off it. With a lot of seniors, we’re having a lot of fun with it being our last year.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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