Strong showing at AAU national tournament gives Shaler volleyball players a boost

Sunday, July 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Logan Peterson felt fortunate that the AAU boys volleyball national championships rolled around in early July.

The Shaler senior right-side hitter, who plays for the 17U North United club team, was itching to get back on the court. The Titans lived up to heavy expectations by winning the WPIAL for the first time in school history en route to an appearance in the PIAA Class 3A championship game in June.

While the Titans lost to Parkland in the finals, Shaler finished 19-2 and hit many school milestones. Still, missing an opportunity to claim a state title left Peterson wanting more.

“It definitely felt better to be on the court,” Peterson said. “The first week after, we were bummed out. We were so close and made it so far and didn’t make our goal. Nationals couldn’t come fast enough so we could show people what we could do.”

The 17U North United club team finished in seventh place out of 70 teams at the AAU championships in Orlando in early July. North United reached the knockout stage of the tournament, where it was eliminated by the eventual national champion.

After a high school season filled with great expectations, North United and Shaler coach Paul Stadelman felt the club season was a nice relief for the Titans on the team.

The national championships had less pressure and more of a focus on on-court play.

“I think it gave them an opportunity to go out and play,” Stadelman said. “There wasn’t much prepping or scouting reports to worry about. They got to go out and play against some of the top players from Arizona, Florida and California. They could just go out and play and compete.”

Nine of the 10 players on the North United team play for Shaler.

Dante Palombo, Zac Wurzer, Dunnovan Ronel, Zach Rosenwald, Cam Miller, Logan Schimmel, Ethan Williams, Peyton Planz and Peterson filled out the roster. Stadelman said that the team saw contributions from everyone at nationals. He’s hoping the amount of time they’ve spent playing the sport will keep their spirits up.

“I’m hopeful they are still keeping their passion for the game and still love playing it,” Stadelman said. “I hope for them this experience and going through everything for the club, nationals and state championship produce a lot of good memories. They are also getting exposed to a lot of different game situations that are new to them and they are learning how to handle them. Those situations are becoming redundant in a good way. They’ve been in scenarios where teams are serving for the match point and know how to handle it.”

Peterson, who plans to visit Division I Merrick along with Division III Misericordia and Marymount as potential college destinations, said he feels most comfortable playing right side but will also play outside hitter.

Peterson said hopes to use the club season to build momentum for next season again. Shaler didn’t seem to mind trying to live up to the hype.

“It was our first year being recognized and held that high up,” Peterson said. “It was a nice honor to be ranked, but it put a lot of pressure on us. We had more fans in the crowd than in past years. I think we put on a good show.”


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