West Xtra: Blackhawk familar with new volleyball coach

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The Blackhawk athletic department stayed with a similar theme when hiring its new girls volleyball coach.

Robin Ostach stepped down after three years as the Cougars head coach to follow her daughter Kristen, who is now a freshman at Fordham University. Kristen Ostach was a two-year starter who missed last season with a knee injury.

Cindy Guthrie finds herself in a similar situation as she returns to Blackhawk to replace Ostach. Her daughter Molly is a 5-7 sophomore outside hitter for the Cougars.

"I've known coach Ostach for years," said Guthrie, whose family resides in Chippewa. "She did a great job with the program. It's not surprising that she stepped down to follow her daughter at college."

Guthrie has 30 years of coaching experience, at the high school and collegiate level. She was a head coach at Geneva College and an assistant at Grove City College and Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. She also has had various high school coaching stints, both as a head coach and assistant, at Pine-Richland, Blackhawk and Beaver County Christian.

"I coached three years at Blackhawk, two years as a junior high coach and one year [the 1999-2000 season] as head coach," Guthrie said. "Last year, I was a junior high coach at Beaver County Christian."

Blackhawk athletic director Jack Fullen was pleased to find a coach with Guthrie's credentials.

"Cindy has coached at the high school and college levels, so she has plenty of experience," Fullen said. "She even coached at Blackhawk for a few years. It's good to have her back."

Molly Guthrie was a starter for Beaver County Christian last season.

"I have Molly starting on the junior varsity team [at Blackhawk]," said Guthrie, who played on Penn State's first team in 1976. "She will probably see some playing time on the varsity, but we have a lot of experience players back from last year. She has to earn a spot in our varsity starting rotation."

Blackhawk placed third in Section 1 last season to earn a sixth consecutive berth in the WPIAL Class AA tournament.

"I have quite a few players back with varsity experience, including three section all-stars," Guthrie said.

Haley Schramm and Makenna Malinowski were voted to the first team in Section 1, while Nikki Beatty was a second-team selection.

Schramm, a 6-0 senior outside/middle hitter, was also recognized as third-team all-WPIAL.

"Haley is a three-year letter-winner," Guthrie said. "Last year, she led the team in kills and blocks."

Malinowski is a 5-8 senior defensive specialist/outside hitter. Beatty is a 5-9 junior middle hitter.

"Makenna is a two-year letterman who has been a fabulous defensive specialist," Guthrie said. "Nikki is a good hitter who also plays well on defense."

Guthrie has decided to change Haley Schramm's role.

"We decided to use a two-setter offense and have Haley as one of our two setters," Guthrie said. "Her sister Stephanie is our other setter. And it's not surprising that the two sisters work well together."

Stephanie Schramm is a 5-7 sophomore who served as setter for last year's junior varsity team.

Other returnees who lettered for Blackhawk last year are 6-0 senior left-handed opposite Hannah Pringle, 5-9 senior outside hitter Allie Menges, 5-4 senior defensive specialist Brianna Camp, 5-4 senior defensive specialist Hannah Schaly, 5-8 junior outside/middle hitter Brooke Tomasko and 5-9 junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Tiye Boyd.

"Our goal is to win a section title and qualify for a trip to the PIAA tournament," Guthrie said. "This program has never qualified for the state tournament."



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