2019 WPIAL Class 4A Preview Capsules

Baldwin

Coach: Chris Kelly (6th year at Baldwin)

Returning Starters:
5-6 senior outside hitter Anna Baloh
5-7 senior setter Mia Hampsay
5-8 senior outside hitter Riley Lenard
6-0 senior outside hitter Allison Murray
6-1 senior middle hitter Ally Schenk
5-4 senior defensive specialist Maggie Zandier

Season Outlook:
My team is ready for another tough run in our section where they feel like they need to be at the top of their game every night. They are a confident group with high expectations.

Section Favorite:
Every match is highly competitive within our section. A section favorite is hard to choose.    

WPIAL Favorite:
The favorite in the WPIAL is the two-time defending champs at North Allegheny.

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Butler

Coach: Meghan Lucas (24th year)

Returning Starters:
5-4 senior libero Gabrielle Lucas
5-6 junior setter/opposite Sophia Lucas
5-11 sophomore outside hitter Taylor Welter

Season Outlook:
We will be a very young team looking to get underclassmen some quick reps and experience to compete in our tough section.

Section Favorite: North Allegheny

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny and Baldwin.

Young Players to Watch: Butler's freshman outside hitter Ava Carney.

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Canon-McMillan

Coach: Sheila Mitchell (9th year)

Returning Starters:
5-10 senior setter Morgan Galligan
5-8 senior outside hitter Sam Parker
5-9 senior opposite Camryn Whipple
5-8 junior setter Lauren Reid
5-10 junior middle hitter Abby Thornbury

Season Outlook:
This season we return a very seasoned starting  roster. We have some additions to the team as well as juniors and a sophomore who have really stepped up into key roles. We are working for a playoff spot, and the team is excited to get there.

Section Favorite:
Baldwin will continue to be a top team in our section.

WPIAL Favorite:
North Allegheny always returns a strong team, but Baldwin is going to put up a fight!

Young Players to Watch:
Canon-McMillan has a strong 5-10 junior outside hitter Jenna Vogen who will be a great addition to our team.

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Connellsville

Coach: Sara Bruschi (5th year)

Returning Starters:
5-11 senior outside/middle hitter Lauren Bubarth
5-6 senior libero/outside hitter/defensive specialist Maggie Means
5-8 senior setter/outside hitter/defensive specialist Christina Stouffer

Season Outlook:
We have a much smaller team numbers-wise than we did last year. However, several players can play several positions well. We had an amazing off-season of training and we are looking forward to getting started with competition.

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Hempfield

Coach: Michelle Pergar (1st year at Hempfield)

Returning Starters:
5-5 senior setter Olivia Persin
5-10 junior middle hitter Isabella Gera
5-10 senior outside/middle hitter Mekayla Dedo
5-9 senior middle hitter/outside hitter Tara Jablonsky
5-5 senior libero Peydon Linsenbigler
6-0 senior opposite Delaney OíShea
5-5 senior setter Morgan Podkul
5-7 sophomore middle/right hitter Katelyn Ross
5-6 junior outside hitter Maura Uschock
5-4 junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Hannah Barth

Section Favorite: Norwin & Latrobe

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

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Latrobe

Coach: Drew Vosefski (24th year of coaching, boys and girls)

Returning Starters:
5-8 senior opposite Sadie Wetzel
5-6 senior setter Abby Rullo
5-7 senior outside hitter Sarah Visinko
5-7 junior middle hitter Emma Fenton
5-10 senior middle hitter Lauren Cammerata
5-9 senior libero Skylar Shank
5-6 senior outside hitter Sydney Quinn

Season Outlook:
After a fantastic 2018 campaign we are setting our sights on a repeat of a section title and deep run into the W.P.I.A.L Playoffs

Section Favorite:
To early to tell but we feel Latrobe will be battling for the top spot.

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

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Moon

Coach: Steve Nicola (2nd year at Moon, 4th overall)

Returning Starters:
5-6 senior Defensive Specialist Abby Hower
5-10 senior Middle Hitter Sanaea Simmons
5-11 senior Right Side Hitter Melina Krawchick
5-10 senior Outside Hitter Jessie Murray
5-11 junior Middle Hitter AJ Thompson
5-11 sophomore Outside Hitter Molly SImmons
5-7 senior Defensive Specialist Abby Lescallette

Season Outlook:
Build on the experience we gained last year and compete for the playoffs.

Section Favorite: Baldwin

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

Young Players to Watch:
Sophomore Molly Simmons will have a big role on our team this year.

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Mt. Lebanon

Coach: Jaclyn Leninsky (2nd year)

Returning Starters:
5-7 senior outside hitter Luciana Polk
5-5 junior libero Kendall Lankford
5-7 sophomore outside hitter/setter Sadie McClinchie

Season Outlook:
We are a young team with plenty of raw talent and athleticism. I look forward to competing in our section this year where I believe we can be ultra-competitive with the right game plan.

Section Favorite: Baldwin

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

Young Players to Watch:
Moon libero Abby Santacroce, Seneca Valley setter Mandy Altman, South Fayette setter Sydnei Jones.

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North Allegheny

Coach: Heidi Miller (8th year as head coach, 22nd with program)

Returning Starters:
5-4 senior libero/defensive specialist Malia Duffy
6-0 junior setter Paige Morningstar
5-10 junior outside hitter Paige Miller
5-7 senior setter/outside hitter Abby Miller    
5-11 senior outside hitter Hannah Phillips    
5-10 junior middle hitter Madison Curran

Season Outlook:
We are the first high school in PIAA volleyball history to have both programs go undefeated two years in a row. Thatís 93 consecutive wins between the two programs. Our goal is to keep that streak alive and win WPIAL and PIAA titles for the third straight year. We should have the best serving and ball handling of any team in the WPIAL. Our setting, passing, and serving will carry us.

Section Favorite: Hopefully North Allegheny.

WPIAL Favorite: Hopefully North Allegheny. There are a lot of strong teams in Class 3A.

Young Players to Watch:
Two freshmen expected to see a lot of playing time are: 5-11 hitter/setter Mia Tuman and 5-8 outside hitter Carissa Treser.

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North Hills

Coach: Vicky Danko

Returning Starters:
5-6 senior outside hitter Meghan Dominek
5-8 senior setter/opposite Julia Molinaro
5-4 senior setter/defensive specialist Julia Arlia
5-11 senior middle hitter Bryanna Lawry
5-4 senior libero Kayla Haile
5-9 junior outside hitter Sydney Ryan

Season Outlook:
We are looking to gain a playoff birth this season

Section Favorite: North Allegheny

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

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Norwin

Coach: Mary Ellen Ferragonio (13th year)

Returning Starters:
5-11 senior middle hitter Victoria Nicholes
5-7 senior defensive specialist Amanda Lee

Season Outlook:
We will work hard to improve every day.
Section Favorite:

WPIAL Favorite: All teams in our section are very competitive.

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Oakland Catholic

Coach: Emily Reeser (3rd year)

Returning Starters:
senior Taylor Cigna
senior Sam Sproule
junior Flynn Anthony
sophomore Elizabeth Ford

Season Outlook:
We are excited for this season and with a few changes, we are ready to hit the court. These girls are a close group ready to make an impact.

Section Favorite:
This year I believe there will be a great deal of competition within our section, therefore, I think it is anyone's game this season.

WPIAL Favorite:
I would say North Allegheny because they have been so successful the past few years.

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Penn-Trafford

Coach: Jim Schall (22nd year)

Returning Starters:
5-7 senior setter/outside hitter Meghan Alexander
5-9 senior outside hitter Bella Long
5-9 junior middle hitter Julia Hauck
5-5 senior defensive specialist Makenzie MacFarlane
5-5 junior defensive specialist Madison Suman

Season Outlook:
We have a mix of returning players and some younger players that, I think, will improve and will play well as the year goes on.

Section Favorite:
Norwin, Latrobe, Hempfield, Connellsville

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

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Peters Township

Coach: Nikki Oakes (1st year as head coach, 4th with program)

Returning Starters:
5-6 senior setter Emmy Ploskina
6-2 senior middle hitter Lauren Valentic
5-9 junior middle hitter Joslyn Jackovic
5-11 junior outside/right hitter Kyle Keane
5-7 junior libero Maddison Tassone
5-9 junior setter Erin Hjerpe
5-11 sophomore outside hitter Abby Willot

Season Outlook:
Peters Township is looking to have a fun and competitive season again. We have some great upcoming youth looking to make as much impact as they can. Our section is incredible the players never stop amazing us coaches! Iím very excited to see how everyone performs!

Section Favorite:
All of them! This is section is by far my favorite and has been since I played at Baldwin!

WPIAL Favorite:
North Allegheny of course, always making their mark! Back-to-back incredible seasons. Iím sure they will continue to push.

Young Players to Watch:
Bethel Park junior outside hitter Alexa Psotka, Moon sophomore outside hitter Molly Simmons, Freeport sophomore libero Erica Lampus, Peters Township sophomore outside hitter Abby Willot, and Pine Richland freshmen outside hitter Kaili Doctor.

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Pine-Richland

Coach: Hanna Ayhan (Pine-Richland)

Returning Starters:
senior defensive specialist Marin Laffey
senior middle hitter Jiley Berger
senior middle hitter Maryellen Berger
senior setter Grace Kristofic
sophomore opposite Sophie Catalano

Season Outlook:
Our team is very excited for the upcoming season. We have a solid amount of returning Varsity players, as well as some less experienced/younger talent stepping up to perform as needed. I expect for our team to be very committed, as well as very competitive.  

Section & WPIAL Favorite:
NA's favorited in our section, as well as the WPIAL. They have a tremendous amount of players who are not just capable of performing at a high level during high school but also as they will hopefully move into the NCAA.

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Plum

Coach: Kelsey Bonk (3rd year as head coach, 4th with program)

Returning Starters:
6-0 junior middle blocker Makayla Jackson
5-1 junior defensive specialist Julia Vargo
6-1 junior right side/middle blocker Jennifer Taylor

Season Outlook:
For the second year in a row we will continue to be a very young year. With only one senior, we will have majority juniors and sophomores on varsity. After a tough year last season, we would like to improve and be more competitive in section play.

Section Favorite: Hempfield and Latrobe

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

Young Players to Watch:
Plum's Makayla Jackson, Hempfield's Mekayla Dedo, Norwin's Tori Nicholes.

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Seneca Valley

Coach: Brett Poirier (1st year)

Returning Starters:
5-11 junior setter Sarah White
5-11 senior middle hitter Anna DeGraas
5-11 sophomore outside hitter Emma Davis  
5-6 sophomore defenseive Riley Might

Season Outlook:
The team is very determined after missing the WPIAL playoffs for only the second time in 17 years.

Section Favorite: North Allegheny

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny

Young Players to Watch:
Mandy Altsman, a 5-10 sophomore, is splitting the setting duties with Sarah White.

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Shaler

Coach: Paul Stadelman (2nd year)

Returning Starters:
5-10 junior middle hitter Emily Peterson
5-4 sophomore setter Tia Bozzo
5-6 sophomore outside hitter Addie Kania
5-9 sophomore outside hitter Mia Schubert

Season Outlook: We look to repeat our playoff appearance and battle through a very tough section as always.

Section Favorite: North Allegheny.

WPIAL Favorite: North Allegheny.

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Upper St. Clair

Coach: Victor Morais (3rd season)

Returning Starters:
6-0 senior outside hitter Emily O'Malley
5-8 junior outside hitter Morgan Wieczenski
5-9 junior middle hitter Allyssa Saghi
5-7 senior middle hitter Giovanna Pimenta
5-8 junior opposite Kelsey O'Leary
5-7 junior opposite Gigi Madson
5-4 junior setter Malorie Glancy
5-7 sophomore setter Sydney Angel
5-7 senior defensive specialist Ellie Tetrick

Section Favorite:
I believe that Baldwin has a good history in winning our section, which would make them the favorite. However this year it is going to be a very even year for all the schools in our section, which makes it great in preparation for the playoffs.

WPIAL Favorite:
North Allegheny is the favorite. They have a very solid program that has been successful over the years starting from the middle school.

Young Players to Watch:
When it comes to a young player who could or are expected to make an impact. I would say it is hard to name 1 or 2 or even more as each school has its power house player, the so called go to player. I would agree that this specific player would make an impact, however I rather believe that this particular player succeeds and makes an impact not only because of her talents but also because the teammates  help her in achieving not only its personal success as well as the success of the school program.