Norwin volleyball eyes extension of strange covid-19 season

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Saturday, October 10, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Norwin senior volleyball player Brooke Gast still is adjusting to covid-19 times, where few fans, if any, are permitted in gymnasiums, and rally points hit gym floors with a pronounced echo.

Substitutes wait in outside hallways until they are called into matches.

There are masks, temperature checks and daily covid Q&As.

“It’s tough to not even have our full team or spectators in the gym during games,” said Gast, an outside hitter. “But we are glad that we can at least play.”

The safety guidelines are a small price to pay for a season. At least that is the thinking at Norwin, which wants to do its part to prolong a season that could stretch into the playoffs.

“The covid guidelines prevented us from our spring and summer open gyms and prevented the girls who were playing club to continue with that training,” Norwin coach Mary Ellen Ferragonio said.

“But every team had the same situation to handle. Not being able to have all of the team members in the same gym for matches is tough, but we are really happy to be playing.”

Norwin started the season ranked No. 9 in Class 4A by the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.

The Lady Knights made the WPIAL playoffs last season as the No. 8 seed but lost to visiting Seneca Valley in the first round 3-0.

With a number of key players returning, Norwin thinks it can extend the season once again.

“This group of girls work hard, and at the same time, have fun with the game,” Ferragonio said.

“The girls are very supportive of one another on and off the court. All of our players are pretty versatile position-wise.”

Among the top seniors taking the court this season are Gast, defensive specialist Dylan Amic, middle/right hitters Kylie Mihalov and Rachel Sullivan, setter Abby Lichtenfels, libero Jordan Stein and outside/right hitter Mackenzie Yaniga.

Gast said the Knights’ strength lies in its front row.

“I think we’re excelling in all aspects so far,” Gast said. “Our serving game is pretty tough, too, which makes it difficult for the opposing team to score off a serve.

“I think we can go pretty far this season with the hard work we have put in.”

A number of juniors also figure into the rotation, including hitters Chloe Lukondi, Alyssa Laukus, Julie Chenot, Riley Oslasky, Maria Yaniga, Natalie Miller and Carly Dipaulo, as well as setter Grace Shepard.

“It is early,” Ferragonio said. “We will continue to work hard and do the best that we can.”

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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