State playoff berth caps solid season for Quaker Valley girls volleyball

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Sunday, November 13, 2022 | 11:01 AM


To the surprise of virtually no one associated with the program, the Quaker Valley girls volleyball team landed a spot in the PIAA Class 2A playoffs.

The Quakers finished in the top four in the WPIAL and took a 17-4 record into the state tournament

Freeport, Shenango, Avonworth and QV were PIAA qualifiers in Class 2A.

Freeport, ranked No. 1 in the state, defeated Shenango, 3-1, on Nov. 5 at the UPMC Events Center at Robert Morris, which left QV and Avonworth to fill the third and fourth berths in the state tournament.

Freeport blanked the Quakers, 3-0, and Shenango edged Avonworth, 3-2, Nov. 1 at North Allegheny. It was the sixth WPIAL championship in school history for the Yellowjackets.

“The PIAA playoffs are pre-seeded. They set everything up based on districts,” QV coach Mike Vavrek said. “When you get into states, you are usually facing some teams that you don’t know much about, so you have to try and figure them out early and make adjustments as needed.”

The Quakers landed the No. 5 seed for the WPIAL playoffs, where they beat No. 12 Burrell and No. 4 Central Calley by 3-1 scores before dropping a 3-0 decision to top seed Freeport in the semifinal round.

“I have been very happy with the team’s performance this year,” Vavrek said. “I think the girls have really stuck together and played as a team for each other, especially here in the playoffs where we’ve found a way to bounce back. We have gotten stronger as the matches have gone on. “

The Quakers finished third in Section 4-2A with an 11-3 record behind Avonworth (13-1) and Central Valley (12-2).

Quaker Valley split decisions with Central Valley and lost twice to Avonworth. The Quakers ended the regular season 15-3 overall and won 12 times by 3-0 scores.

“I thought we played fairly consistent volleyball for the most part in the regular season,” Vavrek said. “I think we have been working hard and improving in some of the areas that we need improvement in.”

QV went from being unranked to No. 5 in Class 2A early in the season in the Western PA Coaches Association WPIAL girls volleyball poll. The Quakers settled in at No. 4 for most of the season.

Quaker Valley won nine of its first 10 matches this year before losing twice at midseason.

“At the start of the season, I knew we had a talented team that would be very competitive in every match,” Vavrek said, “and we had to learn how to finish out games.”

The Quakers headed into the playoffs on a six-game winning streak.

QVs starting rotation consisted of middle hitters Katelyn Clark, a junior, and Kathryn Karwoski, a senior; sophomore outside hitters Molly MacDonald and Nora Hammond; Annica Kagle, a junior right-side hitter; setters Vanessa Pickett, a sophomore, and Shayna Cunnard, a senior; and Hannah Lubert, a senior libero.

At the end of the regular season, Kagle and Clark led the Quakers in kills while Lubert and MacDonald finished one-two in digs.

Five QV players were named all-section: Clark (first team), Kagle (first team), Lubert (second team), Pickett (second team) and MacDonald (third team). All but Lubert are underclassmen.

“Yes, we do have a lot of pieces from this team back next year,” Vavrek said. “But we will also be losing three key seniors, three seniors who do a lot for this team every day.

“We are going to have to find some other girls to step up next year and fill the loss of these seniors.”

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