Penn-Trafford girls volleyball adjusts to condensed schedule

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Sunday, September 27, 2020 | 11:01 AM


The Penn-Trafford girls volleyball has quickly moved into the heart of its section schedule.

The Warriors opened the season 2-1 before taking on Hempfield, Oakland Catholic and Norwin in Section 3-4A. They are set to play the Eagles again Thursday.

Penn-Trafford rebounded to defeat Connellsville after dropping a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Latrobe on Sept. 17. It was a match where veteran coach Jim Schall said things just didn’t go his team’s way.

“It was a good match,” Schall said. “I felt we had our opportunity. We just didn’t finish.”

Penn-Trafford returns several starters from the 2019 squad.

Among them are middle hitter Julia Houck, outside hitter Jude Lovre and back row specialists Maddie Suman, Kenna Schropp (libero) and Ellie Habura.

“Because of the (covid-19) situation, we haven’t been able to get together as much as we usually do in the summer,” Schall said. “We’re still moving players around.

“I feel we’re going to have a pretty good team. Hopefully that improvement will occur soon rather than later.”

Schall said the section improved with the additions of Oakland Catholic and Connellsville. They replaced Penn Hills and Plum, which dropped to Class 3A.

“I feel we’re capable of challenging for a playoff berth,” Schall said. “We have to get things turned around quickly. I moved a couple players to new positions and they need to get comfortable there.”

Because of the coronavirus, the season was condensed. Penn-Trafford students aren’t fully back in the classroom — coming to school two days and being online the others.

Schall said it’s been difficult challenge for everyone. He said he’s just glad they’re playing sports.

Other players vying for playing time include sophomore outside hitter Kate Schall, junior defensive specialist Cailin Stukus, sophomore hitter Layla McPherson, sophomore defensive specialist Maura Suman, outside hitter Paiton Malkos, junior outside hitter Olivia Fanelli, junior middle hitter Jessie Bridge, junior defensive specialist Maddie Klobucar, senior right-side hitter Kassie Rihn, sophomore outside hitter Gia Pezze, junior defensive specialist Carlie Hoffman and junior middle hitter Sydney Andrews.

After sharing the section title with Norwin in 2017, Penn-Trafford missed the 2018 playoffs. The Warriors returned to the playoffs last season.

“Once we get everyone in the right positions, we’ll be OK,” Schall said. “We’re going to get better. I’m eager to see how much we improve.”

The next week will tell the coach a lot about how the season will go.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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