12 freshmen put air in volleyball

Nate Bottiger, Staff Writer

Coming off of a 1-4 start to the season, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown women’s volleyball team is looking to improve.

Junior Kayla Petrilla said the team is looking to show an improvement from last year’s season, and hopes to make a strong appearance in the West Virginia Athletic Conference tournament.

Last year, the team lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament, and finished with an overall record of 13-12 and a conference record of 8-6.

“We are going to try new lineups with different players and hopefully find a successful group of players to start,” said Petrilla.

In order to better their record this season sophomore Karen Schmidt said the team needs to practice harder and be more focused as a team.

The team lost three starters from last year’s team, but added 12 freshmen to this year’s roster.

“The freshmen have come in strong and continue to push themselves,” said freshman Nikki Oakes.

Petrilla said a large number of freshmen makes it harder to bring the team together and work as a unit on the court.

Karen Schmidt said coming together and playing with such a large new group could be the biggest obstacle that the team has dealt with so far this season.

Oakes also said building team chemistry is a goal.

“We are a very young team and it will take time for everyone to mesh and make a championship team.”

Senior captain Jessica Heidenthal said the new freshmen are strong players.

Heidenthal also said the upperclassmen have helped the new players by teaching them how to play through their own experiences at the collegiate level.

“We are constantly learning from each other and I think many of the upperclassmen have taken the freshmen under their wings.”