South Xtra: Seton-LaSalle tunes up for playoffs

HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

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Volleyball coaches differ in how they compile their schedule.

Each team is allotted 22 scheduling points. A best-of-five match counts as one point, while a one-day tournament counts as two points.

Section matches can account for anywhere from 10 to 14 scheduling points, depending on the size of the section. The remaining points can be used for non-section matches and tournaments.

"I prefer to schedule a lot of non-section matches," Seton-LaSalle coach Kevin Hummert said. "We scheduled eight non-league opponents and entered only one tournament."

Seven of those eight non-section matches are against teams that will be in the WPIAL playoffs.

"I try to schedule quality non-conference opponents," Hummert said. "The stiff competition we face in those matches can help prepare us for the WPIAL playoffs.

"We beat Brownsville, Central Valley and Beaver. We lost to Avonworth, Freeport, Thomas Jefferson and Peters Township. And we still have a [non-league] match against Quaker Valley [tonight]."

Two of the losses were to teams ahead of Seton-LaSalle in the WPIAL Class AA rankings. And two of the wins were against teams behind them in the rankings. The Rebels entered the week No. 5. Freeport is No. 2, Thomas Jefferson is No. 3, Central Valley is No. 7 and Beaver is No. 9. Avonworth is No. 6 in the Class A rankings.

Brownsville and Quaker Valley are not ranked, but both have qualified for the Class AA playoffs. Peters Township is the Rebels only opponent that is not expected to qualify for postseason play.

"We may have lost to Freeport and Thomas Jefferson, but both matches were close matches," Hummert said. "That shows me that we can play with anybody. We just have to find a way to win those close matches."

Hummert feels there are at least a half dozen teams capable of advancing to the WPIAL finals.

"It's a wide open race for the WPIAL title," Hummert said. "There's no clear favorite. It's going to come down to who is playing the best during the playoffs."

Seton-LaSalle has clinched the Class AA Section 6 title. The Rebels entered Wednesday's regular-season section finale against Keystone Oaks with a perfect 9-0 section record.

"We also played Thomas Jefferson in the finals of the South Fayette Tournament," Hummert said. "It was a one-game final and we pulled out a 25-23 victory."

Hummert uses a 10-player rotation, which includes six seniors. The Rebels top two seniors are twins Toni and Tia Torchia. Toni Torcia is a 5-foot-9 outside hitter who was voted second-team All-WPIAL Class AA last season. Tia Torcia was a second-team all-section selection.

"Both Toni and Tia have been starting since they were sophomores," Hummert said. "Both also play lacrosse. Toni is a better volleyball player than her sister, and Tia is better at lacrosse.

"The twins have done a great job for us, despite health concerns at home. Both parents are dealing with health problems, but it hasn't affected their play."

The other four seniors are 5-4 defensive specialist/setter Shelby Williams, 5-10 middle hitter Brianne Colligan, 5-4 libero Lindsey Farley and 5-3 defensive specialist Julianna Ross. Farley and Ross were second-team All-Section 4 players last year.

"We're using a modified 5-1 offense with Shelby Williams and Michelle Sanders sharing the setting duties," said Humert, also referring to Sanders, a 5-8 sophomore. "Neither is ready to run a 5-1 by themselves, so we're using both. It's worked out well."

The other three players in Hummert's starting rotation are 5-9 sophomore middle hitter Nicole Colligan, 6-2 junior middle hitter Morgan Henderson and 5-8 junior opposite Laura Nath.

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First Published October 16, 2013 8:00 PM


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