Seven starters return to lead Baldwin girls volleyball

Saturday, August 25, 2018 | 12:54 AM

Baldwin volleyball coach Chris Kelly sticks to the basics.

“As always, I anticipate our strengths will be pressuring other teams with tough serving, being very good in serve-receive and playing great defense,” Kelly said. “So far this preseason, we’ve worked a lot on ball control and conditioning. The girls came into camp in pretty good shape and have been working hard. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”

The veteran volleyball coach has much with which to be pleased.

Baldwin won the section championship and advanced to the second round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs last season.

The Highlanders have seven starters back from last year, along with four others ready to step into a more prominent role.

“I’m hoping that we can improve from last season,” Kelly said. “We had a good year and won a section title with only one loss in section play. Unfortunately, however, we lost in the second round of the WPIAL playoffs.

“We will be tested early as we play Peters Township in our first match (on Sept. 4). They were the only team to beat us in section play last season. We have a long way to go before our first match.”

Returning starters consist of senior defensive specialists Mackenzie Meis and Kerri Herron; and juniors Allison Murray, Ally Schenk, Anna Baloh, Riley Lenard and Mia Hampsay. Murray and Schenk are middle blockers; Baloh and Lenard are outside hitters; Hampsay is a setter.

They are joined by senior Flannery Larson, a middle blocker/right-side hitter, and junior defensive specialists Maggie Zandier and Marlo Mendez.

Kelly also is looking for some of his sophomore prospects to make contributions.

“After winning section last year and losing in the playoffs, I think we have a good mindset of going farther this year,” Herron said. “We have been working really hard to hopefully achieve our goal of winning a WPIAL championship this year.”

Herron, who at 5-foot-3 is one of the shortest athletes in the program, owns a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, Math League, and Special Olympics and Spanish clubs, and is chairman of the senior class prom committee.

“My main goal this season is to win,” said the 17-year-old Herron, who’s also a Baldwin trackster. “I want to win as many games as we can. Being a senior, this is my last chance to ever win a WPIAL championship, so along with my teammates we’re going to try our hardest.

“I want to make senior year the best year ever.”

Baldwin, one of 22 teams in Class 4A, is joined by Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Moon, Mt. Lebanon, Oakland Catholic, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair in Section 2.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.


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