Thomas Jefferson volleyball players earn postseason honors
By: Ray Fisher
Friday, May 25, 2018 | 10:57 PM
Five members of the Thomas Jefferson boys volleyball team have been named all-section off their performance this season.
TJ seniors Logan Burnsworth, a 6-foot-4 middle hitter, and Dan Jordan, a 6-3 middle hitter, were first-team selections.
“Dan and Logan have been the anchors of the team for the last two to three years,” coach Frank Staffen said. “Replacing our middies will be the hardest for us.”
Jordan plans to continue his volleyball career at Penn State Altoona, while Burnsworth has opted to play football at Cal (Pa.).
Two other TJ seniors, Nick Urbanowicz, a 6-4 outside hitter, and Ryan David, a 5-10 libero, were second-team all-section selections; and junior P.J. Chonko, a 6-2 outside hitter, received honorable mention laurels.
Thomas Jefferson ended up in third place in Section 3-AA, then lost to Beaver County Christian in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
“We had some up and downs this year,” Staffen said. “We had to train a new setter (Ben Milas), so we got off to a slow start. We also had another starter from last year that didn't play this year.”
The Jaguars were a senior-laden squad in 2018. The senior class was represented by Burnsworth, Jordan, Urbanowicz, David, Milas, Matt Bittner (DS), Eddie George (OH), Kevin Koett (OH) and Jordan Stosic (DS/OH).
“We graduated 10 seniors, and they will be hard to replace,” Staffen said. “We have 12 freshman that joined the team this year. Though it is hard to predict for next season, we do have some talented and athletic players coming up. We just need to train them and hope they catch on fast.”
Along with Chonko, sophomore setter Riley Hovan and freshman defensive specialist Brayden Andrisko earned starting berths this season.
Others being counted on to fill more prominent roles in 2019 include sophomores Evan Kempa and E.J. Blaker, and junior Brandon Westwood.
“We will need to improve on just about everything since we will have (virtually) all new varsity players,” Staffen said. “Passing, hitting and defense will be the three areas that we will need to concentrate on.”
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.
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