Pine-Richland girls volleyball optimistic about season

Sunday, September 3, 2017 | 11:10 PM

The Pine-Richland girls volleyball team hasn't played an official contest yet, but the work the group put in during the preseason has coach Amanda Fetter feeling optimistic about the upcoming season.

For starters, the Rams won the competitive Mt. Lebanon tournament this past weekend. The victory serves as an important measuring stick for a program that graduated four seniors, including Notre Dame's Emma Cottrill, and shows the team's current roster might be capable of filling those holes.

“I'm just really excited about this group of kids in general,” Fetter said. “It's a great group of kids, and in my opinion, they're on the right track for success.

“It seems like every day, we have a different kid stepping up to the plate. That's like a coaches' dream, to be honest.”

Similar to last season's playoff-qualifying team, the Rams figure to be strong in front of the net this season. Seniors Hannah Cottrill and Callie Polce, both all-section players last season, return to the right-side and outside-hitter positions. In addition to the seniors, sophomore outside hitter Anna Jurkevic has continued to make strides and could be a dynamic presence on the court.

“Anna is impressive, as always,” Fetter said. “She's an impressive kid, and she's a natural athlete, and that really shows on the court.

“We have really good right-side hitters and really good outside hitters. I would call our right-side players and our outside hitters consistent. Our hitting corps is pretty good.”

While size and athleticism figure to be strengths for the Rams this season, players like libero Maddie Schieder and setter Grace Kristofic add court savvy and awareness, Fetter said.

“Maddie just has a really high volleyball IQ. She gets the game, and she has great anticipation skills so she can make a lot of plays for us,” Fetter said.

“When you have girls like Anna, Maddie and Grace in the gym, and we have another outside hitter, Michaela Pettinato, those four are really talented. That kind of talent can cover a lot of ground for you.”

Pine-Richland will play Seneca Valley at 7:15 p.m. on September 12 at home.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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