Quaker Valley girls volleyball team has high hopes after strong start

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Sunday, September 11, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s girls volleyball appears to be on the upswing.

The Quakers opened their schedule with an impressive nonsection victories against Beaver and South Park.

Sparked by junior Katelyn Clark’s strong net play, Quaker Valley blanked the Bobcats, 3-0.

“I was excited to start the season off strong,” Clark said. “I have hopes this year of making the playoffs. It would be great to see our team succeed in that way by being more competitive than we were last year.”

Clark, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter, registered a team-high eight kills and was complemented offensively by sophomore outside hitters Nora Hammond and Molly MacDonald and junior right-side hitter Annica Kagle.

“While it was not our best match, I think we found a way to do enough to put three games in a row together,” QV coach Mike Vavrek said. “We overcame a poor serving match and found a way in Game 3 to close it out when we did not play great.”

The QV girls also shut out South Park, 3-0, behind the offensive firepower displayed by Clark, Kagle and Hammond plus outstanding serving.

“I think the big thing with that match was we served them very tough and took them out of their offensive system,” Vavrek said. “which led to them making a lot of mistakes that we capitalized on. On our end, we passed pretty well and took care of the ball, really limiting our mistakes.

“As of now, we have a very balanced team, and everyone is doing their job. I think we have a good team dynamic. The girls are working well together, staying positive and improving. I’m looking forward to seeing if this team can continue to grow and stay together.”

Following a competitive preseason, the QV girls participated in the Canon-McMillan tournament won by Seneca Valley, which defeated North Hills in the finals.

“I think we looked pretty good in the preseason,” Vavrek said. “We played a lot of bigger schools in our scrimmages, and it showed us some areas of weakness that we have and areas we need to work on. But I think the girls are responding well and really working on getting better in those areas.

“At the tournament, we again played some bigger teams. I think we played OK but not great. Our biggest issue was consistency throughout the day. We would play one good game then struggle in the next. We need to focus on playing more consistent volleyball.”

QV is looking to turn things around from last year’s 5-11 season. After one week, so far so good.

“We have a lot more experience than we did last year,” Vavrek said. “We had three girls with at least a year of varsity experience (in 2021); this year we have eight.

“Also, I believe we have a lot more depth than last year, especially offensively. Our ball control and defense should be better, as well.”

Setter Shayna Cunnard, outside/middle hitter Kathryn Karwoski and libero Hannah Lubert provide senior leadership for the Quakers. Lubert is a three-sport athlete who also competes in lacrosse and track.

“I have been a part of the girls lacrosse team that has made it to playoffs for the past two years,” Lubert said. “It is a whole different game and scenery. I really want to experience that same adrenaline, energy and motivation with the volleyball girls this season.”

The three seniors are joined in the QV lineup by Clark, Kagle, Hammond, MacDonald and Vanessa Pickett, a sophomore setter/right-side hitter.

Clark, who has a 4.15 GPA and is a Key Club member, began playing volleyball in sixth grade and competed for both the QV varsity and JV squads last year. She also participated in club volleyball for the first time as a right-side hitter on Pitt United.”

Clark believes the QV girls have a positive vibe this year.

“I think we are a team with very optimistic attitudes,” Clark said. “We never get too mad at each other, and we definitely always have fun on the court.

“I think we are a very balanced team with both strong front and back-row players.”

Clark’s stats after two matches were impressive with 16 kills and just one error on 28 swings, good for a hitting percentage of over 50%.

Pickett, Lubert and MacDonald ranked among the team leaders in digs for the Quakers through two matches.

The Quakers competed in Section 2-2A last season. They are now members of Section 4-2A. Section opponents are Avonworth, Central Valley, Freedom, Hopewell, New Brighton, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Sto-Rox.

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