Bethel Park wins volleyball tournament

Published Apr 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm (Updated Apr 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm)

As Bethel Park begins the second half of action April 16 at home against Central Catholic, the boys’ volleyball team stands poised to continue its winning ways. The Hawks entered the fray fresh off their championship in the Fox Chapel Classic.

However, in order to maintain the status quo, the Hawks must keep one thing in mind.

“Don’t over think things,” said head coach Thomas Allman. “Just go out there and do your jobs and hope the rest will take care of their jobs.

“Our team needs to focus each match one point, one game at a time,” he added.

The strategy worked last weekend when the Hawks dispatched Saegertown, 25-21, to win the Fox Chapel Tournament.

The event commenced with pool play, featuring a best-of-three series to 25, 15 if necessary. In that first-round action, BP swept Fort LeBoef, 2-0, but lost to Our Lady of Sacred Heart, 2-1.

After reseeding for second place pool play, with the same best-of-three formula, the Hawks breezed past Plum and Saegertown, winning four straight games.

During the one-game-to-25 playoff format, BP defeated the host Foxes, 25-18, in the quarterfinals. The Hawks avenged their loss to OLSH, outlasting the Chargers, 30-28.

“Wow, what a match,” said Allman of the win-by-two semifinal showdown before the championship victory against Saegertown.

To start the week, the Hawks sported an 8-0 record. They were 5-0 in Section 1 heading into last night’s match with Baldwin.

“Our goal is to win the section,” explained Allman.

A section title would be the Hawks’ fourth in a row and in all of Allman’s years of coaching, he has had only four players to letter all four years. Danny Burke is one such senior. He shares captain honors on the team with Lenny Chorney and Brandon Hanson.

“[Danny] is determined to put that number 2014 up on our section banner,” said Allman.

In addition to Burke, Chorney and Hanson, Stephen Evrard, Werner Hernandez and Conor Zimmerman have guided the Hawks to their winning season.

“My senior leadership coupled with the court knowledge of my younger players,” said Allman has been part of the reason for the BP’s success.

Consistency is another factor. Outside hitters Jake Dixon and Steve Eben, Hansen and Hernandez in the middle, Chorney on the opposite side, Brandon Thorsen as the setter, Burke as the libero and David Uhlmann and Derek Miller as defensive specialists have provided that for the Hawks.

“The secret is to play consistent offensively and let your defense make plays till you get the opportunity to put the ball away,” explained Allman. “We are getting better at this and this weekend was a measuring stick of that but we are not there yet.

“We are blocking better out of the middle, but we need to clean up our outside responsibility and our defensive movement.”

In addition to its six seniors and normal nine-man rotation, BP features a large group of underclassmen, who have contributed to the team’s success.

Among the other juniors are Dipen Avaiya, Joseph Beaver, Noah Blanc, Elliot Carr, Joshua Como, Nathan Harrold and Corey Kroboth.

In addition to Dixon, six other sophomores and two freshman also grace the roster. The newcomers are Peyton Capristo and Vincent Dongilli while the 10th graders include Joe Karras, Anthony Magnu, Derek Miller, Brandon Thorsen, Andy Wagner and Jacob Wengryn.

As the new players blend in, the Hawks are gaining experience offensively. Allman anticipates continued growth. Hopefully enough, he says, so that the Hawks will be seasoned by the time the WPIAL playoffs commence May 12. The championships are set for May 22.

“We hope to make a run that gets us to the Final Four,” Allman said.

As the Hawks take the next step, heading into the second phase of competition in section action, Allman added, “You either go up or down. You can’t stay still.”

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