New coach set to lead Hampton girls volleyball

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Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 10:09 PM


The 2020 season will be most memorable for Hampton coach Annie Bozzo.

In fact, it already is.

Bozzo, a Shaler graduate, took over as bench boss of the Hampton girls volleyball team this summer, replacing former coach Mike Hansen.

“Being new to the program and being in a new section, I do not have an outlook for how we will fair in our section,” Bozzo said. “My goal for the team this season is to start working cohesively. We have potential and talent to make a statement, and I am excited to see all the girls’ hard work pay off.”

Bozzo graduated from Shaler in December of 2014. She was twice named All-WPIAL and all-state, then went on to play at the Division I level at Syracuse, where she majored in inclusive elementary education.

She coached in both the boys and girls programs at Shaler prior to accepting her position at Hampton.

“My basic coaching philosophy is that you need a unified team to win anything. In volleyball, it is such a team sport that every single player and coach has to be on the same page in order to accomplish anything,” Bozzo said. “I have a very competitive spirit, and I believe that as long as you work hard and have a game plan, you will be set up for success.

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘No one rises to the occasion; they sink to their level of training.’ It is unknown which Navy SEAL said this but it hit home for me because I train my girls to practice how they play.”

First item on the Talbots’ agenda this season was — and is — the coronavirus pandemic afflicting the world.

“Hampton Township School District has been great with providing a health and safety plan for us to follow,” Bozzo said. “We are screening the girls daily, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and washing our hands, wiping our volleyballs down and more to take every precaution necessary to ensure the girls are staying safe and healthy. Everyone has been been cooperating and working hard to keep the girls playing.”

Senior leadership this year will be provided by outside hitter Addie Syglowski, defensive specialist Julia Resch, middle hitter Lily Obendorfer and setter Bridget Wojcik, also a defensive specialist.

Syglowski is the epitome of the term student-athlete. She has maintained a weighted GPA of 4.5 while playing both high school and club volleyball. And, at Hampton, she is a member of the National Honor Society, French Club, Future Business Leaders of America, yearbook staff, and her church youth group.

“This season has definitely looked different than what we’re used to, but all in all we’ve been making the best of it and doing everything we can to keep this season as normal as possible given the circumstances,” Syglowski said. “We have to split our practices into two gyms, and we’re consistently wearing masks when we aren’t on the court and (we’re) taking extra precautions.

“Our coaches, boosters and parents have been doing an amazing job to help us enjoy this season and succeed just as much as any other, and all the girls are great about following all the rules and doing our part to make sure we can have a season.”

Syglowski has high expectations for the Talbots in 2020.

“I think our team has the potential to have a really good season,” she said. “We graduated a large class of seniors last year, which is never easy especially since our current senior class only has four girls. But we’ve been adjusting well and our gym is filled with a lot of talented players.

“We have lots of options for every position which is going to allow us to have a really strong group out on the court at all times. Coach Bozzo and coach (Morgan) Weaver have been pushing us and training us to be the best possible team we can be, and I think their coaching is going to help us have a very successful season.”

Other Hampton players to watch include juniors Kai Herchenroether, a 6-foot middle blocker, and setter Claudia Braun.

“We have a well-rounded team,” Bozzo said. “I feel confident every player can and will make a difference on the court.”

Hampton qualified for the WPIAL playoffs with an 11-3 section record last year, tying for second place with Mars in league play.

The Talbots were ranked ninth in Class AAA in the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s final-regular-season rankings a year ago, and have made four straight playoff appearances.

“Personally, my goal is for us as a team to prove that despite the obstacles we’re facing this season, we can still be successful and competitive and showcase the hard work that all the girls put in every day,” Syglowski said.

Hampton is in Section 5-AAA, along with three-time defending WPIAL champion Knoch, Armstrong, Burrell, Freeport, Highlands and Mars.

Simply stated, Bozzo is anticipating great things for the Talbots in 2020.

“I am very fortunate to be able to take over a program with such a great group of girls,” Bozzo said. “They are hard working, have great energy on and off the court, and get along great. I am looking forward to a great 2020 season.”

It should be memorable.

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