Shaler Area girls volleyball finding stride, clinches playoff spot
Thursday, October 10, 2019 | 4:20 PM
Developing a more unpredictable offense was the focus for the Shaler Area girls volleyball team.
The Titans didn’t have one standout hitter who would carry the offense.
Developing a diversified approach took time but led to Shaler putting together a winning streak that culminated in a WPIAL Class 4A playoff berth.
Shaler qualified for the second straight season after sweeping Seneca Valley last Tuesday. Results from the Titans’ match against Pine-Richland on Oct. 10 at home were too late for this edition.
“Our offense has gotten stronger as we got to know each other,” said 5-foot-7 Shaler right-side hitter Allison Yarnot, who contributed six kills and two aces against the Raiders. “We’ve been working on those weaknesses and pointing them out. We don’t want to settle. We haven’t peaked yet.”
Taking down Seneca Valley was important for Shaler, especially after the Raiders beat Shaler, 3-2, when they met earlier in the season. Making the necessary adjustments was something Titans coach Paul Stadelman expected.
“We are definitely a reflective team,” Stadelman said. “We look at the things we do well and try to replicate them every night. We do take a look at our weaknesses, and we try to be good students of our own game and work to improve.”
Playing a stronger game has revolved around Shaler (9-4, 6-4) being stronger on defense and with its serve receive. Against the Raiders, Shaler spread the offense around and won three tightly contested sets 25-19, 25-20 and 25-23.
Mia Schubert led the Titans with 10 kills, Addie Kania added six and Emily Peterson had three. Peterson also tied with Mackenzie Barr for a team high with four blocks.
Yarnot said she knew Shaler would get stronger as the year progressed.
“All we had to do was work together and learn the way each other play,” Yarnot said. “We had to go with it and get over the obstacles of being a young team and getting better.”
The Titans seem to have learned their lesson. Following a four-set loss to two-time defending state champion North Allegheny on Sept. 26, the Titans responded with sweeps of Mt. Lebanon, Butler, Fox Chapel and Seneca Valley.
“There was no panic button pressed,” Stadelman said about Shaler’s losses early in section play. “If we stuck to our game plan and identity, we would get better by focusing on what we can do better each and every day. Their confidence is starting to show.”
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