Stiefvater an all-around talent for North Allegheny volleyball

Thursday, May 10, 2018 | 11:00 PM

Gaining a proper perspective on volleyball and life is something North Allegheny senior outside hitter Jason Stiefvater has a strong grip on.

The Tigers are undefeated, ranked No. 1 and again headed into the WPIAL playoffs as favorites to win a third straight championship.

North Allegheny was 11-0 overall and 7-0 in Section 3-AAA heading into a match with North Hills last Thursday, after deadline for this edition.

All of the success so far won't mean much to Stiefvater if the Tigers don't build on it. North Allegheny finished as the PIAA runner-up last season. “It's tempting to look to the future and think about states,” Stiefvater said. “You need to take it one day at a time. Every practice you have to get better and every game you have to kick some butt.”

Stiefvater has helped the Tigers' attack crumple many opponents' posteriors. He is second on the team with 137 kills and hits at a .324 clip.

Finding his form wasn't an issue for Stiefvater, who started the season a little later than his teammates to attend a mission trip to Haiti with Orchard Hill Church.

While on the trip, Stiefvater worked with people at several orphanages and a mental health facility. “The whole trip made me realize that as much as I love volleyball, it's not the be-all, end-all,” Stiefvater said. “If I have a bad game or bad practice, it's not the end of the world.”

Missing the North Allegheny tournament and a few section matches was somewhat of a relief. What Stiefvater missed in playing time, he regained in life experience and some breathing time after a grueling club season.

“I actually came back better than I was before,” Stiefvater said. “Sometimes, a little time off is what you need. It didn't take that much time to readjust. I felt better rested coming back.”

North Allegheny, which hasn't lost a set in match play this season, had a deep enough bench to make up for his absence. Penn State recruit Canyon Tuman leads the team with 321 kills, while Alex Zubrow compiled 69 blocks and AJ Schmidt has a team-best 670 assists and 57 aces. Tigers coach Dan Schall believes Stiefvater helps complete the puzzle.

“He's one of the best all-around players I've ever coached,” Schall said. “We have a great lineup around him, but he does every skill well. He solidifies every aspect of our game. He helps us passing, defensively. He helps us offensively. His offense is among the best. He makes every aspect of our game better.”

Heading into the playoffs, that's all North Allegheny wants to figure out — how to get better and finding the right attitude to continue marching forward.


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