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Tribe Volleyball Happy to Compete
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-09-07

            Dana Cahill said the excitement of being part of something new outweighs the disappointment of defeat. Losing is not an issue for Upper Perkiomen's volleyball team, according to the junior.

            "It's great being part of a new team," said Cahill, a Pennsburg resident. "It's

Nneoma Akpunonu, left, jumps up to block a shot for 

Upper Perkiomen's volleyball Team.

about getting better. Things are going really well."

            Late last week, the Indians played their first home game in school history. Perkiomen Valley dominated, winning the best-of-five match in three straight games at the Upper Perkiomen Middle School.

            Head coach Michael Tirjan hopes the 25-9, 25-12, 25-10 loss taught his players a valuable lesson. He said they experienced the value of the concepts they have been practicing, such as the need to cover the opposing hitters and be in the right place at the right time.

            "The girls got to see what a good team looks like," Tirjan said of the visiting Vikings. "They now know what they need to work on."

            Cahill expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play the sport at the varsity level. She says that interest from students in the sport has been strong for the last five years.

            "I like diving for the ball and spiking it," said Cahill, one of just five juniors on the roster. "It's a fun environment."

            Several team members were constantly playing the sport before the team was created, noted Tirjan. "Some of these girls are volleyball crazy," he said.

            In just its second game, the Tribe made significant strides on the court, claimed Cahill, listed as an outside hitter and a setter on the roster. She described the experience of facing Perkiomen Valley, considered one of the Pioneer Athletic Conference's top teams, a crucial to the team's progression.

            "It was a big step up," said Cahill, whose team won its initial match over Pottstown three days earlier. Facing a team like this definitely makes you better. We had fun. We all played pretty well."

            Tirjan said the Indians improved their serves and made more blocks at the net.

            Cahill felt they showed an improved defense and generated more scoring opportunities at the net.

            In the first game, the Vikings jumped to a 4-0 lead. They quickly expanded the advantage to 16-5 on an ace by Naomi Clauhs.

            A kill by middle hitter Erin States pulled the Tribe within 17-11 during the second game.

            However, Perkiomen Valley reeled off seven consecutive points to help secure a 2-0 advantage.

            Midway through the third game, the Indians built a 9-7 advantage, but PV reeled off seven consecutive points.

            States and Nneoma Akpunonu, two junior middle hitters, both impacted the game at the net. Both juniors registered multiple kills against the Vikings.

            "[Akpunonu] is new to the sport," Tirjan said. "She's working really hard to get better."

            Tirjan has tempered his expectations in terms of wins and losses for the inaugural season. He said he wants the players to celebrate every successful serve, dig, spike and block.  "We're so far behind the other teams that it's going to take us a long time to get to the point where we can be competitive," Tirjan said.

            At times, the coach said he needs to calm the dismay of a handful of "ultracompetitive players" who get down on themselves when the team gives up four or five consecutive points.  He described the sport as very emotional.  "We have a few players who hate to lose," Tirjan said.


 

 

 

 

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