Spikers’ drive gives reason to hope

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Mara Schall

Pitt-Johnstown’s Junior Karen Schmidt comes down from an attack at practice last Thursday at the Sports Center, They have two more conference matches Friday and Saturday.

Hannah Coughin, Contributing Writer

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s volleyball players are beginning preparations for postseason play, while staying focused on the few remaining regular-season games.

The team’s record is 14-7, and 6-4 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  The team is ranked sixth of 15 conference teams.

Senior Captain Kayla Petrilla said the team has improved after their disappointing start.

“We lost to a few close games earlier this season but have been continually improving individually and as a team,” she said

The Lady Cats are on a four-game winning streak in the conference.

They also had a big upset when they won against the top conference team, Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.) University.

The team also beat Charleston in three matches and West Virginia State in four matches.

Senior Captain Kelsey Kohler said the team usually wins the majority of their games at home but, this season, has also done well on the road.

“We are currently 7-1 at away matches,” Kohler said, adding that opposing teams’ fans have little success in trying to rattle the Lady Cats.

Sophomore Dani Fleeger says the team loves new assistant coaches, Joanna and Justin Haupt.

“They are young, energetic and have great personalities. They push us hard and know our potential and I think they will take this program a long way in the future.”

Joanna Haupt is to become head coach with Linda Renzi’s retirement.

The team is only a weekend away from the first round of the conference tournament, and, if they keep playing the way that they have been, Pitt-Johnstown is going to be a hard team to beat, according to Kohler.

As long as we continue to work as a team, we will be successful,” Kohler said.

Fleeger said she believes that their team is ready for the tournament.

“We need to keep practicing hard and stay focused on the last few conference matches, but we are really hoping for a good outcome this year at the tournament and to take it one point at a time,” Fleeger said.

Petrilla said Wheeling Jesuit has won the conference every year she has been a player here.

“We will definitely try to give them a run for their money this year.”

Although the team will have some competitive matches to play, if they keep playing the way that they have been, they can be a team to watch.

The team’s last conference home games are scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday against Alderson-Broaddus College and 1 p.m. Saturday against Davis & Elkins College.