Marty Stewart | Tuesday, March 21, 2017, TRIB-LIVE
For the first time since 2003, the Fox Chapel boys volleyball team was on the outside looking in when the WPIAL playoffs began last season.
After finishing with a 4-10 overall record and 3-9 mark in section, coach Phil O’Keeffe sees promise in this year’s team.
“So far, the competitiveness of the entire group has been excellent,” he said. “At this point, passing and setting should be our strengths.”
The team will be paced by a quartet of seniors — outside hitters Jerett Zaleski and Dominic Scanga, libero Matt Heilmann and setter Alex Lawson. They will be joined by junior middle hitter Jacob Klein, junior libero/defensive specialist David Sullivan, junior opposite Ray Tarasi, sophomore middle hitter Ryan Kerr and freshman outside hitter Ethan Alfery.
Inexperience and height are areas of concern.
“We will have a lot of first-time starters, so getting them up to game speed is key,” he said. “We also have a relative lack of height, but the ball control should make up for that.”
The Foxes again arguably will be in the toughest section in the WPIAL with North Allegheny, Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland and Shaler.
“I think we are in the toughest section in the state,” O’Keeffe said. “As always, we will shoot to be in the mix for a deep run in the playoffs. Realistically, making the playoffs after a year’s absence would be a good accomplishment.”