It takes a whole team to produce stars


Asha Njeri

Sophomore middle hitter Kendall Mahony had 15 kills Saturday in a 3-0 win against Kutztown University.

Bobby Scott, Editor-In-Chief

When Pitt-Johnstown women’s volleyball player, Kendall Mahony stepped on the court for the first time as a freshman last September, she had a big role to fill.

She was thrown into the fire as a freshman in the 2014 season, taking on the tall task of replacing former middle hitter Beth Kendera.

Kendera was awarded with 2013 Atlantic Region first team and first team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors.

Most notably, she was a part of the only Pitt-Johnstown women’s volleyball team to ever earn a playoff win and to also win a conference championship, accomplishing both in 2013.

For over two seasons, she was the team’s front line center piece, starting all 37 matches in 2013 she also was the team’s leader in blocks.

Mahony may have started with trepidation in her first match, but she ended leading the team in scoring.

She added a team high 16 kills and 25.5 points to aid her team to a victory over West Virginia Wesleyan College (Buckhannon, W. Va.).

Since then, Mahony, who is 6’2” ( the team’s tallest player by two inches), has garnered the attention and respect of other conference teams.

She won her first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division player-of-the-week title just over a month into her first season (the week of Oct. 14, 2014).

She completed the 2014 season as the team leader in not only total blocks (100), but, more importantly, in points (476).

Mahony, who was recruited in Yorktown, Va., has gotten off to a similar start the season, if not a better one.

As of Oct. 8, she was the team leader in six categories (points, points per set and kills along with kill percentage, total blocks and blocks per set).

Once again, conference coaches have taken note and have named her East Division player-of-the-week twice within three weeks of each other (the weeks of Sept. 15 and Sept. 29).

“I talk about it with my parents and teammates all the time. I could not achieve anything without the team,” Mahony said.

“A hitter needs a setter, and a setter needs a passer, so it is honestly a team effort, so nobody would be able to shine if it wasn’t your whole entire team.”

Sophomore outside hitter Cambria Wierman was the most recent Lady Cat volleyball player to be named player-of-the-week on Oct. 6.

This attribution to her averaging 10.5 kills and 8.5 digs in a pair of home victories against divisional foes, Millersville University and arch-nemesis Shippensburg University.

Like Mahony, this is not Wierman’s first time being noticed for work done to make sure her team functions successfully.

She was named player-of-the-week as a freshman the week of Oct. 7, 2014.

Wierman said the key to her success, as well as the team, is that they are more self-assured after a year of collegiate volleyball experience.

“The whole team is more confident, and we trust each other more than we did last year,” she said.

“We motivate and push each other every day to be better than the day before.”

Wierman is second amongst teammates this season in points (183.5) and digs (139) as of Oct. 9. Her best performance arguably was against Ursuline College (Pepper Pike, Ohio), putting up 16 kills and 11 digs.

Third-year head coach Joanna Haupt said having various standout players shows how great a unit the team is.

“We are pretty well balanced; you don’t have one player who is the only person we rely on in a single game,” she said.

“When somebody is having a bad match, we can rely on other players to step up.”

Haupt said it was nice that players are being recognized for their hard work, but it is more of a reflection of how good their team is.

As of Oct. 9, the Lady Cats are ranked eighth in the Atlantic Region. There are not any Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference teams in the Division II national rankings.

Haupt said that what makes Mahony and Wierman exceptional players is how smart they play each match.

  “Cambira (Wierman) makes great choices during practice and off the court,” Haupt said.

“Kendall (Mahony) makes intelligent decisions as well, and when in the front row, she is unstoppable when she connects her set, but it all starts with help from their teammates.”