North Hills volleyball looks to build with experienced roster

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Thursday, September 5, 2019 | 5:43 PM


While the WPIAL volleyball season has yet to hit full swing, North Hills is showing signs of promise as the girls team looks to rebound after suffering through a few challenging seasons.

In her second season at the helm, coach Vicky Danko is developing a strong handle on her experienced roster that features six seniors, five of whom are returning contributors from last year. The added cohesion that stems from the team returning its core has allowed the Indians to turn their focus to developing their skills as opposed to their on-court chemistry.

“We’re getting quicker. We’ve already played together as a team. We should all know each other and have the basics down,” Danko said. “Our goal now is to play quicker, and they’re definitely doing that.

“We want to play quick, play fast. The girls are running quicker offenses. They’re running plays. That’s what we want to gear them toward. If we’re able to develop them into quicker players, that makes us stronger against opponents that can match that speed.”

North Hills’ results from the Franklin Regional Tournament for North Hills were notably positive.

Not only did the Indians win their pool, but they did so with a plus-56 point differential. The group continued to surge into the tournament finals, where they eventually were stopped by Franklin Regional.

Junior captain and outside hitter Sydney Ryan helped lead the way in the tournament, racking up 44 kills in nine sets to lead the Indians in points.

Defensively, seniors Megan Dominek and Kayla Haile turned in top-tier performances, recording 31 digs and 35 digs, respectively. Danko said she also was pleased with the play of seniors Julia Molinaro and Julia Arlia.

Another element that stood out was North Hills’ play in front of the net, buoyed by Bri Lawry and Katie Catrain. If the Indians hope to continue their strong play into the Section 1-AAAA schedule, they will need to continue to rely on their top two blockers, Danko said.

“We’re definitely seeing growth within Bri,” Danko said. “She has a leadership quality. She’s a positive influence on the team, and she leads us in front of the net with blocks.

“We run a very block-oriented game plan. So to have her and my other middle, Katie Catrain, work together effectively, that’s going to be a big part of what we want to do in order to have success.”

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