Volleyball gets weekend wins and losses

Bobby Scott, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown women’s volleyball team got their first taste of conference play over the weekend after having back-to-back doubleheaders Friday and Saturday against newly acquainted nemesises.

“It’s a lot of fun, but at the same time it’s a very tough weekend,” senior middle hitter Beth Kendra said.  “Every team (in our conference) is very good.”

Kendra is third on the team in scoring with 139.5 points and 102 kills.

The Lady Cats competed in two round robin tournaments against former West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foes to start the season, 6-1.

Wheeling Jesuit University (W. Va.) gave the team their second loss of the season in their last non-conference game before conference play started.

“I think it is great to start the season off well from a confidence perspective,” Pitt-Johnstown Women’s Volleyball head coach Joanna Haupt said.

This is Haupt’s first season as team head coach after being an assistant coach under Linda Renzi for the 2012 season.  Haupt’s assistant coach this season is her husband, Justin.

Justin was a high school assistant coach and has spent time as a Junior Olympic club team head coach.

Joanna Haupt said that her team was eager for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play to start.

“The coaches voted us as the sixth best team in the eastern (divison) of the conference and our girls want to prove them wrong,” she said.

She said that playing Wheeling Jesuit University has really helped their confidence.

“We are a confident team right now after going five games with Wheeling Jesuit who (made it to the national quarterfinals) last year,” she said.

She said she has a group full of team players, which has been part of the reason for their winning start.

“This year we really came together as a team,” she said.  “There is no individualism or selfish players on this team; it really shows on the court.”

The Lady Cats started off Friday losing their match against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference powerhouse California University of Pennsylvania, 3-0.

The California University of Pennsylvania Lady Vulcans went 30-8 last season and made it to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference semifinals.

Pitt-Johnstown then lost to Clarion University in 4 sets, making the team 0-2 after their day of conference play.

Saturday was a different story as they swept the doubleheader against Seton Hill University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Kendra said that the team was more determined to win Saturday as opposed to Friday.

“We became more focused, played as a team and were more energized after being swept,” Kendra said.

The Lady Cats beat Seton Hill 3-2 to start the sweep.  Seton Hill joined the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference along with Pitt-Johnstown over the summer.

The team then dominated Indiana University  of Pennsylvania in three sets to get the win.  The Lady Cats advanced to an 8-4 overall record and a 2-2 conference record.

“Saturday we had a lot more energy and we were communicating on the as well as the sidelines,” senior middle hitter Ashley DiRado said.

“I do not think it has much to do with who we play.  It is how we perform.”