Oakland Catholic’s Cigna earns spot on all-state volleyball team

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Thursday, December 13, 2018 | 11:24 PM


Taylor Cigna has the ability to play the full rotation on the volleyball court.

Where the 5-foot-9 Oakland Catholic junior ends up playing depends on what time of year it is. As a member of an Eagles’ team that reached the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals this fall, Cigna served as an outside hitter.

For her work, the Shaler Township resident was selected as part of the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association all-state team released last week. Cigna also was named first-time all-section and All-WPIAL.

While Cigna is happy to help the school team, she has different aspirations for college. Instead of sending the ball screaming at opponents, Cigna feels more comfortable on the other end of the equation.

During club season, Cigna mostly lines up as a defensive specialist.

“I think the first thing is having an all-out mentality,” Cigna said. “You want to be the one to pass and dig every ball. You want to go for every ball and make sure it doesn’t hit the ground. Everything starts with a pass.”

It’s been part of a long evolution of her game. While in middle school, Cigna started as a middle blocker and spent three years there.

It wasn’t until her fifth season that Cigna ended at outside hitter.

As a result of these many position changes, Cigna decided to try to work smarter instead of strictly trying to overpower opponents.

“Since I’m a shorter hitter, it comes to ball control and shot,” Cigna said. “I’m able to see the block well, I think. Having the ability to see what’s going on in front of you and have that level of ball control to maybe swing as hard as you can on one and roll the other one to throw the defense out of system can be helpful.”

During the high school season, Cigna helped Oakland Catholic make its deepest playoff run since she’s been in the program. The Eagles bowed out in a 3-0 loss to North Allegheny, which went on to complete its second straight undefeated season and capture the PIAA title.

Cigna finished with a team-high 12 kills in the loss, including one that put Oakland Catholic ahead 25-24 in the first set, which the Eagles would eventually lose 27-25.

“Throughout the season, we went through injuries and struggles,” Cigna said. “We were relentless and kept pushing through. We were super close and relied on each other to pick each other up and hold each other accountable.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

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