Shaler volleyball hopes to continue growing after reaching PIAA playoffs
Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 4:59 PM
Trapper Crain would like, if possible, to give up his role as an outside hitter for the Shaler Area boys volleyball team.
There are several tall underclassmen who the 5-foot-10 junior recognizes will give the team a more significant height advantage.
Crain started at the position to help out a young Shaler roster. Having players willing to move around was a vital part of the best season in the Titans’ history. Shaler finished third in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs and defeated McDowell in the first round of the state playoffs before bowing out to defending state champion North Allegheny in the quarterfinals.
Following this season, Crain would like to move back to libero, where he was more comfortable, and have someone else step up and fill his role.
“I was expecting to play libero and ended up outside,” Crain said. “We have a bunch of tall freshmen and sophomores. I’m hoping they improve and they can take over a spot since they are taller and more fit for the position.”
Finding a way to help everyone continue growing will be the challenge for coach Paul Stadelman. The Titans, who finished the season 16-4, don’t want to suddenly fade from relevance.
Before this stretch of three straight WPIAL playoff berths, Shaler missed the previous seven postseasons.
“I think it’s great to see the growth of the program,” Stadelman said. “How do you maintain the status of being a perennial team, like North Allegheny, and not be an every-once-in-a-while team? I think we need the younger guys to mimic and understand what the older guys did to get to this point. Just because we had success this season doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed next year.”
In the match against North Allegheny, the Titans saw where they had room for growth. The Tigers jumped up 6-0 in the first set and ultimately ended up sweeping Shaler.
“I thought NA played excellent,” Stadelman said. “I was hoping we could continue to defend them well and take that and convert some offense off of that and attack back and have a scrappy, gritty match. They were clicking on all cylinders, and we did our best. I wanted our guys to play hard and work through it.”
One benefit for Shaler will be that it didn’t have any seniors on this year’s roster.
The Titans want to continue building on the tradition.
Crain wants to see young guys continue to come up with the ability to take spots in the starting lineup.
“A big thing is getting young kids involved,” Crain said. “We have a strong middle school coach, and they start running camps in middle school. There are great groups ahead of us and behind us. We want to make sure we have the numbers to maintain the team every year and have a great amount of players and depth.”