Unflappable approach carries Shaler volleyball to playoff season

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Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 3:53 PM


Dealing with the nerves of being in a playoff match didn’t seem to rattle the Shaler Area girls volleyball program.

Opening the WPIAL Class AAA tournament with a 3-0 sweep of Penn-Trafford fit with the narrative the Titans have tried to build around the program.

“We played a calm, but confident game,” Shaler coach Paul Stadelman said. “We controlled the play at the net. I think our middles stepped up and controlled play. We took care of business and did our job.”

Continuing to be focused on the path forward will be important if the Titans want to exceed their performance from last season. Shaler fell in the quarterfinals last year after winning its opening-round match.

The Titans (12-5) played third-seeded Canon-McMillan on Monday night in a game that was too late for this edition. Shaler entered the playoffs riding a hot streak, having won seven of its past eight contests.

“At the end of the year, the girls started feeling their chemistry on the court together,” Stadelman said. “Everyone felt comfortable and everyone was doing their jobs. Playing teams like Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and North Allegheny prepares us for games like this.”

Against the Warriors, Shaler never gave Penn-Trafford a chance to settle in. The Titans won the opening set 25-8.

Mia Schubert had 12 kills for Shaler, while Addie Kania added 10. Stadelman said Tia Bozzo had a strong night setting as well for the Titans.

“We were ready to go,” Stadelman said. “Winning the first set helped us settle in and get the nerves out. It was hard to get a feel for the game because that 25-8 set got us out of rhythm. The important thing was they opened the second set with a hardwork mentality of, ‘It’s 0-0 and we have to go back to work.’”

Shaler needed to maintain that mentality as it went deeper into the playoffs. The Titans don’t have a ton of size and have to rely on the mental approach.

“We are small, but mighty,” Stadelman said. “We want to prolong matches and make other teams work.”

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