Tall task ahead for Pine-Richland boys volleyball opponents

Sunday, March 18, 2018 | 11:00 PM

After spending the past few years as an assistant coach for the Pine-Richland boys volleyball team, Shawn Grady is preparing for his first season as head coach.

Grady takes over a team with some varsity experience, a handful of newcomers and a lot of height.

“We definitely have some fresh faces, but we have a lot of experience, too,” Grady said.

“We have some returning leaders. Both of our middle hitters are three-year guys. On the outside, Luke (Olson) is a three-year guy, and Steve (Gleyze) is a two-and-a-half-year guy. We have those guys returning, but we also have four sophomores who are going to get regular playing time. Three of those sophomores are 6-3 or bigger.”

Blake Todorowski, one of the newcomers, quickly impressed the coaching staff, and he earned a starting role at libero.

Dave Pohlod also has made a case for playing time with the Rams, and Jack Tyndall and Ethan Wallace also could make an impact.

It's an impressive new group, but Pine-Richland's strength will be its ability at the net.

With experienced middle hitters Chris Gebhart and Matt Zirckel and high-flying threats on the outside in Steve Gleyze and the 6-foot-5 Luke Olson, the Rams appear poised to make Section 2-AAA foes earn every point at the net.

“I think we're going to be really big on the front line. Having that height in the middle and some power outside, I think we're going to be one of the bigger front lines around, physically,” Grady said. “I think that's going to help a lot.

“I also really think Blake Todorowski, his ability to play libero is going to be a big difference-maker for us. He picks up everything.”

Pine-Richland will play at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at home against North Allegheny.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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