Norwin girls volleyball motivated to find success

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Saturday, September 11, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Years ago, Norwin’s girls volleyball program was the standard bearer for WPIAL championships.

The Knights won 13 straight WPIAL titles from 1973-86, then added two more in ’88 and ’89.

This year’s team might not be considered a title contender. Then again, 14th-year coach Mary Ellen Ferragonio is still trying to determine what she will have on the court this season.

The way she sees it, anything is possible until the team finds its identity in the WPIAL.

“Our positions are very much undecided at this point,” Ferragonio said before her team opened the season. “The girls are really motivated to work hard in the gym. That makes our practices a lot of fast-paced fun.”

The covid pandemic cut last season short for Norwin, which finished 5-4, fourth place in the section, and missed the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.

The Knights appear to be somewhere between experienced and youthful. Depth also could be a plus.

Returning starters include setter Grace Shephard, middle hitter Alyssa Laukus, right-side hitter Chloe Lukondi, outside hitter Natalie Miller, outside hitter Marian Yaniga, outside hitter Carley DiPaulo, libero Julie Chenot and libero/hitter Riley Oslosky.

The Knights have eight seniors, nine juniors and nine sophomores.

Other players to watch include Sara Olson, Ashley Laukus, Sydney Petko, Sophia Alvarez, Carley DiPaulo, Katie Botti, Lauren Palangio, Ava Kobus, Madie Kessler, Faith Dunn and Jaden Struessning.

“The girls are very supportive of one another and are driven to continue to improve,” Ferragonio said. “The girls are well-rounded players and can successfully play multiple positions.”

Norwin made the playoffs as a No. 8 seed in 2019 but fell to Seneca Valley, 3-0. It reached the quarterfinals in ’18, ’15 and ’14, and made the semis — and PIAA playoffs — in ’13.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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