Tide rising for Quaker Valley girls volleyball team

Sunday, July 31, 2022 | 8:47 PM

The Quaker Valley volleyball team has it — the first full week of the season, that is — circled on the calendar.

The Quakers open their Section 4-2A schedule Sept. 6 at Freedom, followed by their first home match two days later against Central Valley. QV is hoping to turn things around from last year’s 5-11 season.

“My expectations are for us to improve every day we step in the gym,” coach Mike Vavrek said. “I would like us to compete in our new section and be in the mix for a playoff spot at the end of the season.

“We have a lot more experience than we did last year. We had three girls with at least a year of varsity experience (in 2021); this year we have eight. Also, I believe we have a lot more depth than last year, especially offensively. Our ball control and defense should be better, as well.”

The eight girls with varsity experience are a nice mix of three seniors, two juniors and three sophomores. Setter Shayna Cunnard, outside/middle hitter Kathryn Karwoski and libero Hannah Lubert are seniors.

Cunnard is hoping to make the 2022 season memorable for the Quakers. “My expectations are to compete well in our section, to (improve) our chances at winning in the playoffs, but most importantly, to make memories of our time on and off the court together,” Cunnard said.

“The team hopes to attract a bigger audience of supporters this year. Our social media stays updated with events going on involving the team. Make sure to follow Quaker Valley High School volleyball on Facebook and Instagram to stay posted.”

Karwoski’s goal for the team is a section championship.

“We weren’t able to go to the playoffs two years ago when I was a sophomore because of covid,” Karwoski said, “but looking at the talent this year, I think we have a good shot.”

Karwoski also participates in the track and field program at QV and had an outstanding spring season. “My 4-by-4 relay team actually made it to states and placed eighth,” she said.

Lubert, a three-sport athlete, expects the Quakers to secure a berth in the WPIAL playoffs this season.

“I think we will have a really good chance this year,” she said. “We are going to have a really strong defense and offense. I’ve never been in a playoff volleyball game, so making it would be a really great memory.”

Lubert also competes in lacrosse and track and field for the Quakers.“For the past two years, I have been a part of the girls lacrosse team that has made it to playoffs,” she said, “and it is a whole different game and scenery. I really want to experience that same adrenaline, energy and motivation with the volleyball girls this season.”

Cunnard, Karwoski and Lubert are joined in the QV lineup by juniors Katelyn Clark, a middle hitter, and Annica Kagle, a right-side hitter, and sophomores Nora Hammond, Molly MacDonald and Vanessa Pickett. Hammond is an outside hitter, MacDonald an outside/middle hitter and Pickett a setter/right-side hitter.

“We played in a few summer leagues,” Vavrek said, “but never had close to our full team. We are looking forward to getting a full team here and working on developing our team chemistry. Getting setters and hitters on the same page. Working on the consistency and chemistry of our serve receivers.

“We are also working on getting better when it comes to situational volleyball.”

The first practice date for the high school fall season is Aug. 15. The QV girls plan to participate in the Canon-McMillan tournament Aug. 27 before playing on the road against Beaver on Aug. 30 and at home against South Park on Sept. 1.

There are 41 teams participating in WPIAL Class 2A in 2022. Along with Freedom and Central Valley, QV’s other section opponents are Avonworth, Hopewell, New Brighton, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Sto-Rox.

Section foes in 2021 were Avonworth, Brentwood, Carlynton, Keystone Oaks, North Catholic and Seton LaSalle.

The QV girls were 4-8 in section matches a year ago.

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