Girls volleyball caps season in state semi
The third time was not the charm for the Parkland girls volleyball team when squaring off against Bishop Shanahan.
The Eagles were a thorn in the side of the Trojans, beating them twice during the regular season, then ending Parkland’s season last Tuesday night, winning 3-2 by scores of 25-22, 20-25, 25-20, 15-25, and 15-11 in the PIAA 4A semifinals.
In the two previous meetings in the regular season, the Trojans also fell by just one game.
“Bishop Shanahan is a very good ball control team,” said head coach Mike Krause. “They play the floor well and have good command of their serve speed and location. This year their net play in the middle of the court was a strength of theirs. Their setter is one on the top setters in the state and is heading to play at Yale. I feel that we played them very well, which is a great indicator of our development as a team this year. We lost in five sets but in total points we outscored them 103-98.”
Parkland met and accomplished many of its goals. The Trojans finished 31-10-1 overall and had a 19-5 overall match play record while being ranked third in the state in Class 4A.
With a somewhat inexperienced roster this season compared with recent years, Parkland had some growing pains early on, but as it always seems to do, grew stronger as the season progressed.
“This team had to evolve over the course of the season,” Krause said. “We only had two players in the same role as last season. We had to learn where the pieces fit during strong competition, which required changing lineups and changing positions a number of times, then we had to watch to see if the growth indicators were in place.
“This group was very unselfish and supported each other in practice and competition. Our practices were challenging to each other, which contributed to our preparation in competition in the postseason.”
The Trojans lost three Eastern Pennsylvania Conference regular season matches in 2017, but when the games got bigger, they shined brighter.
Led by the senior group of Mia Jago, Haley Iacobelli, Mady Beaver, Kirah Dreisbach and Kara Fagerstrom, Parkland kept its home-match win streak alive, which dates back to 2009.
“We started with a 3-0 sweep at Emmaus and then lost at Central, we could have just folded,” said Krause. “But the seniors came into the gym and continued to work hard. They believed in each other and felt they could learn from what happened in our losses and improve on those areas. We played with excellent focus.
“During the regular season our schedule only allowed for 13 practices, when we reached the postseason we averaged four practices a week, which allowed us to fine tune the areas we needed to and allowed us to improve our areas of weakness. This season was one of my most rewarding because of the growth they demonstrated collectively since the beginning of the season.”
Parkland will have several underclassmen returning next year to continue its run. The Trojans will be led by Grace Steurer, Brooke Kratzer, Adriana Goetz-Morales, Jenny Clifton, Thwisha Anantasagar and Amber Resendez.