Penn-Trafford volleyball looking to carry momentum from strong playoff showing

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Sunday, March 26, 2023 | 11:01 AM


The Penn-Trafford boys volleyball team came on strong in 2022 by qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs and coming within one victory of making the PIAA tournament.

The Warriors (12-7, 8-4) saw their season come to an end with losses to North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals and Shaler in the third-place game.

Now veteran coach Jim Schall, who has been coaching the boys for 21 seasons and compiled a 217-120 record, is hoping that late-season surge will carry over to this season. Penn-Trafford was WPIAL champion in 2016.

Penn-Trafford opened the season by defeating Upper St. Clair, 3-2, but dropped a 3-1 decision to Shaler.

The Warriors were also scheduled to compete in an early season tournament at North Allegheny with the host Tigers, Central York, Manheim Center, Seton-La Salle, Ambridge, North Catholic and Montour.

“It’s a good early season test,” Schall said. “There are a lot of good teams and we’ll see how we stack up.

“We hope to keep improving throughout the season. We hope to be among the top teams in a competitive section this year.”

The other teams in Section 3-3A are Hempfield, Norwin, Central Catholic, Plum and Penn Hills.

Schall will be counting on five returning starters to lead the way.

They are senior setter Daniel Tarabrella, senior middle hitter Carson Good, senior middle hitter Andrew Kessler, senior libero Logan Swartz and junior outside hitter Brad Heinbaugh.

Schall is also hoping a group of outside hitters — junior Keith Otto, junior Michael DiNapoli, sophomore Connor Evangeliste and senior Colt Kaminski — will be key contributors.

Tarabrella was a first team all-section player and was second team all-WPIAL. Swartz was a third team all-section player.

“Daniel and Carson are great individuals and great players,” Schall said. “Both are leaders.”

Schall said Kessler and Heinbaugh both came on strong late last season.

Kessler had a huge game in Penn-Trafford’s win against Hempfield. He also played well against North Allegheny. Heinbaugh also played well down the stretch.

Two players Schall must replace are his son, Patrick Schall, and Alex Rugh.

In the 2022 playoffs, Penn-Trafford defeated Peters Township, 3-1, and Hempfield, 3-2, before falling to North Allegheny and Shaler, 3-0.

“I like playing a tough schedule to prepare for the section and the playoffs,” Schall said. “I’ll see our strengths and weaknesses at the North Allegheny tournament. We’ve already played two tough opponents.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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