BP girls ready for volleyball playoffs

Published Oct 21, 2013 at 11:52 am (Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 11:52 am)

When the WPIAL Class AAA tournament commences this week, North Allegheny, Pine Richland, Shaler and Seneca Valley are expected to battle for the girls’ volleyball title. But, don’t count out Bethel Park.

After winning their first section title since 2004, fourth in school history, the Lady Hawks plan on crashing the party. “We hope to make the Final Four,” said BP head coach Shawn Palmer. But the Lady Hawks won’t stop there. Palmer added that they also hope to put themselves “in position to contend for a state tournament berth.”

The Lady Hawks certainly have the talent to do so. To start with, they boast Stacey Kazalas, Olivia Schanck, Sami Simpson, Jess Hanson, Kaileigh Poe and Hanna Glesson.

A senior outside hitter, Kazalas averages 4.7 kills per game while junior outside hitter, Schanck, manages 3.8 digs per game. Six-foot seniors, Simpson and Gleeson lead the team in blocks. Simpson and Hanson, both middle blockers, maintain .400 and .392 hitting percentages. And, Poe, the senior setter, manages 9.2 assists per game.

In compiling a successful season, which includes an undefeated, 12-0, section mark, the Lady Hawks have also relied upon the talents of Sarah Storino, Morgan Stelmaszynski and Tayler Mannarino.

A junior libero, Storino averages 3.7 digs per game. A defensive specialist, Stelmaszynski has 58 service aces. A junior middle blocker, Mannarino joins Simpson and Gleeson as a top blocker.

“There are no secrets to our success,” Palmer said. “This group has worked very hard in the gym. Our commitment to passing well has allowed us to be aggressive offensively and control the flow of the games.”

For that to continue throughout the playoffs, the Lady Hawks must compensate for their lack of experience in big games. Palmer, however, has a plan.

“We will need to maintain our focus and energy and have the discipline to attack our opponents intelligently,” he said. “We don’t have the history of success that our competition has, but we have enough talent to contend with the top teams.”

Visit www.wpial.org for all the playoff pairings.

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