Northwestern Press

Friday, January 17, 2020
Olivia Delong serves during a recent Tigers girls volleyball match.PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Olivia Delong serves during a recent Tigers girls volleyball match.PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ

Young volleyball team is improving

Thursday, September 29, 2016 by Emmett McCall emccall@tnonline.com in Sports

It’s been a rough start to the season for the Northwestern volleyball team.

The Tigers entered last Thursday’s match against Catasauqua with just one win in their first seven matches.

Despite the struggles, however, head coach Gabby Pergosky is excited about her team’s potential for growth.

Northwestern got started in the right direction against the Rough Riders as it breezed to a 25-9, 25-21, 25-5 Colonial League victory.

The reason for Pergosky’s optimism is her belief that the Tigers will benefit from game experience more than most teams.

“We have four new starters and two other girls who started last season, but are now playing different positions,” said Pergosky. “So we had a pretty big learning curve early in the season. We basically had no experience at any position.

“I’m seeing improvement every time we play and I’m confident that will continue.”

One thing that will help accelerate the progress Pergosky is some extra practice time.

The first couple weeks of the season were very busy,” Pergosky said. “We had a lot of matches early and not a lot of practices.

“So we weren’t getting a lot of time to work on areas where we were struggling. With our schedule easing up a little, we’re getting an opportunity to correct the mistakes we’ve been making.”

Against Catasauqua, middle hitters Sarah Sekerak (five kills) and Katie Smith (three kills) led the way at the net.

“Sarah never played volleyball before,” said Pergosky about the 5-8 junior. “So this is all a new experience for her. She’s really doing a nice job and she is going to get better and better every time she steps on the court.

“Katie played JV a year ago and now she’s in our varsity starting lineup. That’s a huge jump and she has handled it extremely well. She’s our tallest player (5-11) and can hit the ball hard when we find her at the net.”

Stacy Everett has moved from librero a year ago to being the setter this season.

“Stacy is playing a position she never played before,” said Pergosky. “Setting is so crucial and so hard to master that it’s almost unfair to move someone to the position their senior year and expect them to handle it. But Stacy has taken the challenge and excelled at it. She has been a pleasant surprise.”

Also playing key roles for the Tigers (2-7) are outside hitters Kelty Tarvin, Katie Morrison and Olivia DeLong, and defensive specialists Leila Toth, Emily Corke and Payton Breidinger. After missing some time with an injury, senior setter/defensive specialist Cassidy Grather returned to the court against Catasauqua and made a contribution.

“We’ve been getting better and better, especially in the last week,” said Pergosky. “We obviously got off to a slow start record-wise, but we had a tough early-season schedule and were breaking in a lot of new players.

“We need a .500 record to qualify for districts and that is still our goal. I think our best volleyball is still ahead of us and if that’s true, we can still achieve that goal.”