Coach optimistic in tournament split


Yang Chen

Head Volleyball coach Justin Haupt (middle) oversees practice of the Pitt-Johnstown volleyball team for the coming tournament Sept. 12 at the Sports Center.

Yang Chen, Sports Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown volleyball team went 2-2 in  the Clarion University Tournament held Sept. 7 and 8.

Head volleyball coach Justin Haupt said he was pleased with his team’s tournament, because opponent included teams from the Midwest who are good year after year. 

“The opening tournament ended with a good result, and it helped us to become better. 

“We are training at the Sports Center. It has been over 90 degrees, but my girls are doing their best.”

According to Haupt, the team was to leave campus at 11 a.m. last Friday to go to the Stonehill University tournament (Mass.) and returned  4 a.m. Monday morning. 

“It will take us nine hours to travel to Easton, Mass.

“Initially, we want to go to the playoffs this season, 

“After that, we’ll have possibilities for anything, and I want to be conference champions again,” Haupt said.

Haupt coached the volleyball team to a conference championship in 2017.

Senior Noelle Carota is the only senior outside hitter, and earned conference scholar-athlete honors last year.

“We are doing well since we returned to school  one week earlier than the normal students.

“This is my last year, but I think this will be the best chance for me to help my team to stand out and show our potential.

“I’m so excited to accomplish this season, and hope we can get conference championship,” Carota said.

Freshman Gabi Derenzo was a three-year letter-winner in volleyball and led her high school to a section championship.

“I love to play for Pitt-Johnstown, and I’m so excited to be part of our family,” Derenzo said.

“College games are faster and more competitive than high school games, but the team’s atmosphere makes me feel part of the family.

“When I was in high school, I used to travel for competition. 

“I don’t think the long travel to Massachusetts is bad for me, as soon as I have enough sleep and I’ll be recovered.

“This year, it’s a chance for our team to go further, and we’re getting better. We were conference champions, and we are on the right track to achieve it again,” Derenzo said.

Sophomore Cassie Pascarella has played seven matches in her freshman year thus far. 

“I knew it definitely would be a long trip, so I brought a small pillow with me to have a good sleep on the way back. 

“During the trip, I will cross my legs over two seats to feel better.

“This Monday is definitely super tough for me, because I have many classes in the morning, 

“I tried to sleep well on the way back,” Pascarella said.