East Xtra: Greensburg Central Catholic out to retain title

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The Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball program had its most memorable season in 2012.

The Centurions claimed their first WPIAL title with a sweep of Bishop Canevin in the Class A title match, then came within a few points of making an appearance in the PIAA title match.

"It was certainly a season to remember," said coach Heather Meyer, now in her seventh season. "Winning a WPIAL title is something the girls will never forget. Losing in the state semifinals was painful, but I'm very proud of what the girls were able to accomplish."

Six players from that team have graduated, including five starters, leaving Meyer with the job of rebuilding the Centurions.

"We may be rebuilding, but our expectations are still high," Meyer said. "Our goal is to win another WPIAL title. Reaching that goal is never easy, especially when you have a team as young as ours."

Meyer is using a 10-player rotation that does not include a senior.

"We've built the team around our four returning juniors," Meyer said. "We look to them for leadership."

The top returnee is Leah Bisignani, a 6-foot-1 junior middle hitter/setter who was voted first-team All-WPIAL Class A last season. She was also recognized on the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Aassociation All-State Team.

"Leah is a quiet, but explosive leader," Meyer said. "She also plays basketball, but volleyball is her first love. She plans on continuing her career in college and already has various schools interested in her."

It's unusual to have the combination of middle hitter and setter, but it worked very well for the Centurions last year.

"Leah is our leading hitter," Meyer said. "She's averaging approximately 11 kills per match. And in our last three matches, she's averaged 17 kills."

The other three returning juniors are 5-8 junior outside hitter Lauren Nolfi, 5-8 junior outside hitter Megan Stunja and 5-4 junior libero Rachel Moore.

"Lauren is one of my vocal leaders," Meyer said. "Lauren and Megan can put the ball away when needed. Megan averages 7 kills per match, while Lauren averages 6 kills per match.

"Rachel saw limited playing time last year as a defensive and serving specialist. This year, she's our libero."

Meyer has added six newcomers to the starting rotation, but one is currently out with an injury. Kristen Hickey, a 5-10 sophomore middle blocker, has a knee injury.

After consulting with her parents and doctors, Hickey has decided to have surgery. She had started physical therapy with hopes of playing in a few weeks, but all parties involved decided that it would be better for her to have surgery now.

"It's a sad situation," Meyer said. "We're going to miss her. The only fortunate thing is that Kristen is only a sophomore, so she still has two more years.

"Kristen's injury has given us a chance to develop a few more players, however."

Haley Farmerie, Veronica Komoroski and Mikayla Bisignani are three newcomers to the front line. Farmerie, a 5-9 sophomore, and Komoroski, a 5-9 junior, have seen time in the middle and on the right side. Bisignani, a 6-1 middle hitter, is as tall as her sister, but two years younger.

"Veronica didn't play much last year due to a concussion," Meyer said. "Mikayla is still growing. We're trying to get her to play as aggressively as her sister."

The other two newcomers to the lineup are 5-6 freshman setter/defensive specialist Haley Moore and 5-5 freshman setter Taylor Obusek. Both have seen time as the Centurions second setter, but Moore has also been used as a defensive specialist with Hickey out of the lineup.

"We have not peaked as a team yet," Meyer said. "We've shown great strength at times, but we've also been inconsistent."

The Centurions entered the week in a tie with West Shamokin for the Class A Section 1 lead. Both teams have 8-1 records and each needed one victory in their final three matches to qualify for the playoffs.

"We beat West Shamokin in the first half, then lost to them in the second half," Meyer said. "We got a little complacent in the second match."

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First Published October 9, 2013 8:00 PM


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