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UPHS Girls Embrace Volleyball
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-08-17

            For several years, students at Upper Perkiomen have clamored for the opportunity to play varsity volleyball, according to Michael Tirjan. A confluence of events finally made their wish a reality.

            This week, the newly created girls volleyball team held its first official practices. The team will compete in its first scrimmage next week against Christopher

Head Coach Michael Tirjan leads the Upper Perk-

iomen girls volleyball team on a drill that promotes

ball control, earlier this week.

Dock.  "We have a lot to teach the girls in a short period of time," said Tirjan, their head coach.

            The Indians are slated to open their Pioneer Athletic Conference schedule against Pottstown, which is also debuting the sport, on Aug. 30. Three days later, they will make their home debut against Perkiomen Valley at the middle school, located on Montgomery Avenue.

            "I'm trying not to have any expectations," Tirjan said. "I have no idea what the competition will be like. My goal is to make sure the girls have fun, get better and see where things fall."

            At least 32 girls registered to play the new sport, according to Tirjan, a physics teacher at the high school. He said he hoped to start the season with between 26 and 28 players, enough to field varsity and junior varsity teams.

            "There's going to be some growing pains," said Tirjan, who will be assisted by Taylor Gregory, a professional employee at the 4th & 5th Grade Center in East Greenville. "We're behind a lot of other teams. But we definitely have a young group of committed girls."

            A recent settlement of two Title IX complaints between the district and the U.S. Department of Education led administrators to start a new varsity team, the first at the school since the girls soccer program debuted in the fall 1998. Additionally, the middle school, which opened three years ago, was built to accommodate the sport.

            Tirjan claims that when the structure was initially proposed, he approached Athletic Director Robert Kurzweg about making sure the gymnasium floor would accommodate the implementation of volleyball standards. According to the coach, the poles are placed in holes in the floor.

            Tirjan said only two players have any significant experience in the sport. Sam Pedrick, a rising 10th grader, and Kylie Boyle play for CAL Sports Academy, a club team in Harleysville.

            The roster – which has no seniors – includes only four juniors and features mostly sophomores, according to Pedrick, whose teammates include Erin States, Ava Steinman, Anne Gerstenberg, Dana Cahill and Megan Brown.  "I think we can win a few games," said Pedrick, a Pennsburg resident. "It will probably be hard to complete because everybody else has more experience."

            Tirjan, a former boys soccer coach in the district, will be making his varsity debut in the sport, which features six vs. six on the court. He said he coached some CYO volleyball and watched his daughter compete for four years at Pennridge.

            Over the last 12 months, Tirjan has hosted approximately 14 to 16 club sessions. He said they spent most of the time teaching the games skills that includes serving, serve returning, setting blocking and spiking. According to the coach, the first two received priority.

            Between the three sports seasons, as well as a couple this summer, Tirjan hosted workouts three to four times a week for three or four weeks at a time. Between 18 and 20 girls showed up each time. Tirjan said six to eight attended every practice.


 

 

 

 

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