Quaker Valley volleyball’s Molly MacDonald lends helping hand

Saturday, August 12, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Quaker Valley volleyball player Molly MacDonald certainly is an enterprising sort.

MacDonald, 16, started a charity this winter called Brazos de Bienvenida, which when translated means “Welcoming Arms.”

She is collecting clothing, household items and food for underserved Hispanic and Brazilian residents who relocate to Pittsburgh.

“We work with the Sisters of St. Joseph’s out of Baden, Casa San Jose and the Center for Hope in Ambridge,” MacDonald said. “Initially, I was looking for opportunities to get service hours for the (National Honor Society). Then it morphed into a charity.

“I recruit my friends and teammates to help, and they can earn their service hours as well. So it’s a win-win. Currently, Brazos de Bienvenida is collecting adult winter coats for the Center for Hope.”

Donation sites currently include MacDonald’s parents’ two businesses — Advanced Chiropractic of Sewickley, located at 626 Beaver Street, and Transformation Weight Loss & Wellness, 2200 Georgetown Drive, Suite 102.

“People can drop off winter coats now,” MacDonald said. “Patients have been dropping them off. We can accept donations through Sept. 22.

“We will be collecting food for the food pantry in November and money to purchase little Christmas trees for the Kids’ Food Pantry Christmas Party in December.”

MacDonald, a 5-foot-10 junior outside hitter, recently participated with QV teammate Nora Hammond in the inaugural Queens of the ‘Burgh girls volleyball tournament at the All American Field House in Monroeville.

The tournament was run by Avonworth’s veteran coach, John Skarupa, who offered high praise for MacDonald’s athletic abilities.

“Molly is a competitor in everything she does,” he said. “She is a very aware volleyball player with great court IQ and works hard to continue to get better.

“She is a very well-rounded six-rotation outside that has put in the work through many private training sessions, and puts in those extra hours away from the gym.”

Skarupa partnered with MacDonald by asking families that attended the Queens event to donate gently used winter coats.

“We collected three big bags of coats on Sunday,” MacDonald said.

The highly competitive MacDonald, a Global Scholars member with a 4.42 GPA, is a third-year starter at QV. She began competing in volleyball in sixth grade and used to participate in tennis, soccer, basketball, figure skating and club lacrosse, as well as taking piano lessons and playing the violin.

“I stopped playing club lacrosse in ninth grade to focus on volleyball,” she said.

MacDonald competed for the Sharks at the Queens tournament. Hammond, a 5-6 junior outside hitter, played for Miller Time.

Hammond also participates in club volleyball and is a member of the QV softball team. She was elected to student council, is a Key Club member, and works as a swim instructor and lifeguard at the Sewickley Valley YMCA.

MacDonald’s and Hammond’s attention now has turned to Quaker Valley volleyball and the 2023 season.

The Quakers are coming off a fifth-place finish in PIAA Class 2A playoffs and posted an 11-3 section record and an 18-5 overall mark in 2022.

Five QV girls were named all-section: Annica Kagle (RS), Katelyn Clark (MH), Hannah Lubert (libero), Vanessa Pickett (S) and MacDonald (OH). Kagle and Clark also were selected All-WPIAL.

“We are in preseason now and are super excited,” MacDonald said. “We have some great returning varsity players and hope to go far in the playoffs this season.”

Hammond anticipates the Quakers having a banner year.

“I am looking forward to QV volleyball this fall,” Hammond said. “It should be a successful season.”

MacDonald and Kagle competed as teammates July 28 in the U18 division of the Pittsburgh Grass Volleyball tournament.

Kagle is a senior right-side hitter and another third-year starter for the Quakers. Along with being named first-team all-section last season, Kagle was a first-team All-WPIAL selection. She also was named all-state.

“Annica and I often take weekly private lessons together,” MacDonald said. “Annica is an amazing athlete.”

Ditto MacDonald.


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