Penn Hills volleyball looks to build foundation with improved technique

Sunday, April 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Will Piccolino knows setting the standard for the Penn Hills boys volleyball program isn’t going to revolve around his players suddenly finishing highlight-reel kills.

The Indians are in the process of laying the foundation for getting in position to make those types of plays possible. Penn Hills recently picked up its first win of the season, a nonsection sweep of McKeesport.

“We know we have a lot of good athletes on the team,” Piccolino said. “What we need to do is teach the technique to help them evolve. I’m not bigger than most of these guys, I weigh 160 pounds, but I can hit the ball harder because I know the technique.”

The Indians haven’t found a way to break through in the Section 3-3A standings. Penn Hills is off to an 0-5 start in a section that includes Penn-Trafford, Hempfield, Plum, Central Catholic and Norwin.

What Piccolino is hoping the Indians can do in the back half of section play is start to put more pressure on each of their opponents. With a lack of experience, Penn Hills doesn’t necessarily have the players to engage in slugfests with the other teams.

The Indians want to keep the ball live and force teams into mistakes.

“I want to see more fight,” Piccolino said. “We need to be scrappy. We have to keep putting pressure on teams to make mistakes and not roll over and submit to them.”

Penn Hills has relied on Luke Hoolahan to fill a lot of different positions for the Indians. Piccolino also said that Marc Pate has shown improvement for Penn Hills.

“He’s a good athlete and was always good physically,” Piccolino said. “He just had to improve some technique.”

Piccolino, a former Penn Hills player himself, has also been adjusting to coaching varsity for the first time. What’s important to him is that he is effectively communicating with what players can do to improve.

Penn Hills has five section matches remaining. While the Indians are unlikely to find a way to navigate into the playoffs, they are hoping to be able to start building the culture up as they look toward next season.

“What I try to do is not be one of those coaches who says you have to do it this way and it’s my way or the highway,” Piccolino said. “I try to do things a certain way and show them how to do it so they can understand how it will translate to better ways to play clean volleyball.”


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