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Girls Volleyball: Class AAA Preview Capsules

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Below are preview capsules on Class AAA teams. My thanks to the coaches who took the time to send me this info.

Butler
Coach: Meghan Lucas (11th year)
Returning Starters:
senior outside hitter Heather Straynick
junior middle hitter Gabriell Carney
senior outside hitter Harley Skibicki
junior defensive specialist Erin Hilderbrand
Season Outlook:
"Will work hard to compete in strong Section 3-AAA," Lucas said. "North Allegheny, Seneca Valley, and Pine-Richland are the favorites in both the section and the WPIAL."

Fox Chapel
Coach: Sara D'Angelo (3rd year)
Returning Starters:
Sarah Bradley 5'9 Middle Hitter, Sr.
Alyson Hess 5'6 Setter, Sr.
Marcy Meinert 5'5 Libero, Sr.
Carly Slovenec 5'10 Middle Hitter, Sr.
Megan Hollingsworth, 5'6 Outside hitter, Jr.
Betsy Slagel, 5'5, Defensive specialist, Jr.
Michaela Patsko, 5'7 Outside hitter, Jr.
Season Outlook:
"We are entering a new section this season and we are looking forward to our challenging schedule," D'Angelo said. "We were co-section champs last year, and want to build off the momentum of last season by relying on a strong senior class to lead us for 2012. There are a lot of talented teams in our new section, and we know going in that we will not be a favorite to win, but we will be using that as motivation when we play some of the WPIAL and our sections standard power houses."

Moon
Coach: Tonja Ayala (2nd year)
Returning Starters:
5-11 senior setter Katie Peters
5-9 senior middle Morgan Malcolm
5-6 senior defensive specialist/libero Amanda Schiavo
Season Outlook:
"We have three seniors but we also have three freshmen on varsity so that means that we should expect the unexpected," Ayala said. "Our season will depend on the leadership of the seniors. Katie Peters and Amanda Schiavo are our team captains and they are both excellent leaders and outstanding volleyball players. They have to help the coaches guide the young players in order for us to accomplish our goals. If the younger players continue to accept training and follow the leadership of our three seniors we have a lot of potential.

Montour
Coach: Brendon Aleski (12th year)
Returning Starters:
5-11 senior Outside hitter Mackenzie Wallace
5-10 senior setter Moriah Viviano
5-8 senior libero Megan Goodman
5-5 senior defensive specialist Marina Ginnarakis
6-1 junior outside hitter Sophia Esposito
Season Outlook:
"We have many experienced returning starters and letter winners, however that experience came at the AA level," Aleski said. "I am hopeful the girls can adjust to the level of play at te AAA level."

North Allegheny
Coach: Heidi Miller (2nd year as head coach, 13th of coaching)
Returning Starters:
6-0 senior outside hitter Ava Mosbacher
5-10 senior middle hitter Katie Humes
5-8 senior setter Maura Nolan
5-6 senior libero Kristen
5-7 senior defensive specialist Rachel Samuels
6-2 junior middle hitter Erin Swartz
5-8 junior outside hitter Ashley Leto
5-11 junior opposite Danielle Wall  
Season Outlook:
"We have a lot of size, depth, and experienced players," Miller said. "We are working to develop better team chemistry and an ability to play well as a team. If we can pass and play defense effectively I think we can be very, very good, but then again, most teams that handle the first contact well are good. I hope we are the favorite in the section, but I have no doubt we will be duking it out with Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley as usual!

Oakland Catholic
Coach: Karisa Haslett (5th year)
Returning Starters:
5-11 Senior Middle Maddie McDowell
5-7  Senior Setter/Opposite Rachel Pohlod
5-11 Senior Outside Hitter Suzanne Gloekler
5-6 Junior Outside Hitter/Libero Jessie Durso
5-5 Senior Outside Hitter Amber Ricci
Season Outlook
"We have a strong senior class ready for the leadership position and for a winning season in our new section," said Haslett, referring to the fact that Oakland Catholic has moved to Section 4-AAA. "Rachel Pohlod has committed to Michigan State."

Peters Township
Coach: Ashley Green (3rd year)
Returning Players:
6-1 senior middle hitter Lauren Belack
5-9 senior outside hitter Shiloh Simonson
5-9 senior setter Kelly Johnson
5-9 senior middle hitter Hannah Gross
5-8 senior right side hitter Lauren Tassone
5-8 junior right side hitter Brooke Lininger
5-5 junior DS Jillian Kovac
5-5 junior DS Katie McGovern
5-9 junior outside hitter Maddie Auld
5-8 junior outside hitter Christine Renz
5-8 junior middle hitter Jordan Harakal
5-8 junior middle hitter Kelsey Hunter
Season Outlook
"The team has been working hard thus far this preseason, competing at a high level," Green said. "With the experience and leadership of the senior class, we are excited to get underway with the season and start working towards a section title. Since I have been coaching at Peters Township, the section title has come down to us and USC [Upper St. Clair]."

Shaler
Coach: Kris Ruppert (9th year)
Returning Starters:
Sophomore setter/middle- Annie Bozzo  5’10
Sophomore outside hitter Liz Kline-  5’4
Sophomore setter Natalie Pilewski- 5’4
Sophomore opposite Hannah Bradford- 5’7
Sophomore opposite Nicole Pilewski- 5’4
Junior middle hitter Liz Rhodes- 5’9
Senior libero Sydney Golden- 5’5
Freshman middle/right-side hitter Julia Bernesser 5’11
Junior opposite Laurel Gavin- 5’8
Season Outlook:
"We are young and small, but we are an explosive and fast paced team," Ruppert said. "Very fun to watch. We should compete for the section title and make the playoffs. Annie Bozzo is an explosive dynamic player to watch. She has great leadership skills and her athleticism is incredible. You need to watch this kid over the next few years! The favorites in Section 4-AAA are: Shaler, Oakland Catholic, and Plum."

Trinity
Coach: Gretchen Mountain (9th year of coaching, 4th year at Trinity)
Returning Starters:
5-6 Senior Setter Olivia George
5-2 Senor Defensive Specialist Natalie Standish
5-7 Senior outside hitter Jen Maskarinec
5-6 Junior outside hitter Tory Stadelman
5-10 Junior middle hitter Caylee Sams
Season Outlook:
"We have 13 returners to the program from 2011," Mountain said. "Our goal is to improve on our 3-9 section record from last year with a majority of our varsity letter-winners returning to the program. We, as a team, are striving to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs in Section 2. Upper St. Clair and Peters Township have set the standard within our section over the past few years."