Graver, Sherwin earn recognition
Sometimes athletes benefit from waiting their turns and learning from older players. That was exactly the case with Parkland senior volleyball players Sam Graver and Morgan Sherwin. During their four-year high school careers, the two Trojans were a part of teams that won districts four times and were state champions twice.
But up until this past season, Graver and Sherwin were role players, contributing in any way they could. In 2016, the evolved into much more more than just role players.
“Having such a young group of girls meant a lot more work to do than if we had all five all-state players from the previous year,” Graver said. “Although everyone else wrote the Parkland team off, we knew we had more heart than any other team. Losing those five players was a big loss, but it drove us to a higher standard for ourselves.
“They set the bar high and we knew we had to make a name for ourselves. The support from my fellow seniors and coaches really made the adjustment to this new team very easy. Their endless support gave us the confidence we needed to be successful.”
Sherwin was an outside hitter and despite her stellar leaping ability, the district high jump champion converted to a hybrid setter/hitter position during her senior season.
“All of the girls who have graduated have prepared us throughout the years,” said Sherwin. “But it still took a lot of hard work during the preseason changing my position to becoming a full-time setter. All of the girls on the team were there to help along the way and were always there in the gym spending extra time before or after practice to help me fully adjust.”
The hard work that the two put into the season paid off in a big way, as they helped bring Parkland another District 11 crown, and were one match win away from another state title. They also received individual accolades. Prep Volleyball named Graver an All-American (the only Pennsylvania player to achieve this), and Sherwin was a Special Mention to the All-American list.
“Being named to the Prep Volleyball All-American team is such an honor,” said Graver. “All of the hard work and dedication myself and my teammates have put into this team is unbelievable. This group of girls was young and we had to grow, but we worked so hard since the beginning of preseason.”
“It’s a huge honor to be an honorable mention on the Prep Volleyball All-American team,” said Sherwin. “Not many players are able to say they were named to anything with Prep Volleyball so it’s very special to be recognized.”
Graver was also named Pennsylvania’s Gatorade volleyball player of the year, joining Kristin Krause (2015) and Kelly Robertson (2012) as other Parkland volleyball players to earn that honor.
This season Graver set a school-record with 617 kills, and also tallied 243 digs, 47 blocks and 27 aces. She will take the winning experience she has had from being in the Parkland program, and continue her career at LaSalle University this fall.
“Coach Krause has done so much for this program over the years,” Graver said. “I can not only go to him on the court but off the court he knows so much about life.
“He has taught me self-responsibility, to always have personality and how to balance life, schoolwork and volleyball. Without him I would not be the person I am today, so all I can say is thank you to him. I am so excited to attend La Salle University in the fall.”
Sherwin will also be playing volleyball at the collegiate level. The two-sport standout could have also chosen to participate in track and field at the next level, but she signed her letter of intent to Quinnipiac for volleyball. She finished the 2016 season with 189 kills, 1040 assists, 195 digs, and 91 blocks.
“The Parkland program is such a special group to be a part of,” Sherwin said. “Everyone is your family and you really do truly meet some of your best friends from it. Every season coach Krause pushes all of us so much to be the best that we can possibly be.”