Quaker Valley girls volleyball lays groundwork for special season

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Sunday, October 2, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s girls volleyball team has been dominant in the first half of the season.

The QV girls won seven of their first eight matches and all seven victories were by 3-0 scores.

The Quakers stood in second place in Section 4-2A with a 5-1 record with their lone loss to league leader Avonworth (6-0), last year’s WPIAL Class 2A runner-up.

Quaker Valley already has won more matches than last season when it finished 5-11.

“I think we have played pretty decent volleyball for the most part,” QV coach Mike Vavrek said. “We still have a long way to go, as we are just approaching the halfway point of the season.

“It has not really been a surprise (this season). We have the talent to compete with a lot of teams. The only real surprise I would say is in our seven victories, they were all 3-0 sweeps. So, we have found a way to stay up on teams and not allow them to win a set, which is something that I was curious to see if we would be able to do.”

The Quakers’ starting rotation consists of three seniors, three sophomores and two juniors.

Offensive firepower is provided by junior Katelyn Clark, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter, sophomore outside hitters Nora Hammond and Molly MacDonald and junior right-side hitter Annica Kagle.

“I think we have been really connecting as a team this year and found a way to effectively work together,” Clark said. “I think we work very well together and do it in a way that is always fun for us. That is definitely very important not only in volleyball but in any team sport.

“I hope to continue with our success in the second half of the season, as well as continue to improve our connection as a team. I am just hoping to finish off with a great record.”

The foursome of Clark, Hammond, MacDonald and Kagle is joined in the lineup by a trio of seniors — setter Shayna Cunnard, OH/MH Kathryn Karwoski and libero Hannah Lubert, a three-sport athlete who also competes in lacrosse and track, and Vanessa Pickett, a sophomore setter/right-side hitter.

“Our team’s performance has been good,” Cunnard said. “Our offense is the strongest it has ever been. Our strength is our team dynamic and the chemistry between the varsity players.

“My expectation for the second half of the season consists of winning all our section games and continue on to the playoffs.”

As of Sept. 26, the Quakers rolled Freedom, Central Valley, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and New Brighton (twice) in section play.

“In the second half of the season, I expect us to work even harder and continue to improve,” Vavrek said. “These girls have some goals they have set, and they know that in order to reach them, we have to continue to get better.

“We played good volleyball in the first half, and I think for us to reach our goals, we are going to have to play great volleyball in the second half, as every team is going to get better.”

At the start of the week beginning Sept. 26, Clark led the team in kills with 56, attempts with 115 and hitting percentage with a .374.

Kagle ranked second in kills with 39 (on 96 attempts) and was hitting at a .250 success rate. MacDonald was third in kills with 35 (on 107 attempts).

Clark, Kagle and MacDonald were complemented in the kills category by Hammond (27) and Karwoski (16).

The team leaders in aces were Karwoski (18), Cunnard (14), Hammond (11), Clark (9), MacDonald (8) and Pickett (8). Between them, the QV netters served up 68 aces.

Defensively, Lubert was first in digs with 54, followed by MacDonald (48), Pickett (43), Hammond (27), Cunnard (21) and Karwoski (16).

“I think the girls have all done their part on the court,” Vavrek said. “As you see from the stats, we are very balanced and are getting production from everyone in every category. Every game it is a different girl that steps up. We are at our best when we can get everyone involved.

“It has been a lot of fun watching these girls play together this year. We’re hoping to keep it going as long as we can.”

The Quakers were ranked fourth in 2A in the Western PA Coaches Association WPIAL girls volleyball top 10 poll released Sept. 26.

Freeport was No. 1, followed by Shenango, Avonworth, QV and South Park. Neshannock, Beaver, Central Valley, Southmoreland and Fort Cherry rounded out the rankings.

The Quakers defeated nonsection foes Beaver and South Park earlier this season.

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