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Sports Article
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Tribe Volleyball Team Makes Progress
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Samantha Pedrick, a junior setter and outside hitter for Upper Perkiomen's volleyball team, feels that the unit has improved significantly. She claims the players'

Corinne Kreiner, right, tips the ball at the net against


skills are improved, they are more cohesive and they have a lot more knowledge about the game.

             "We look more like a volleyball team as compared to last year," Pedrick said. "Practice is more competitive than before."

            In just its second season, the Indians appear to making strides towards being more competitive despite absorbing a three-game loss to Boyertown in a recent Pioneer Athletic Conference match.

            The Tribe – which remains winless in four matches this fall after posting two victories in its inaugural season – performed best during the second game, losing by only four points, but the visiting Bears won the final four points to post a 25-21 victory. They dominated the first and third games, registering victories of 25-10 and 25-13, respectively.

            "We weren't ready to play in the first set," said Pedrick, a Pennsburg resident who finished with two kills and two assists in the match. "In the second set, we got out of our own heads and played very well."

            The second game featured nine ties. Boyertown, which jumped to an early 4-1 advantage, ballooned its lead to 22-18 before the Indians reeled off three consecutive points to get within 22-21.

            Head coach Michael Tirjan described the middle game as one of Upper Perkiomen's best of the season. He said the players have improved at serving, receiving, hitting, blocking and court coverage.

            "The girls are active," said Tirjan, whose team scored 23 points in a game against Phoenixville and 22 in a loss to Perkiomen Valley earlier this month. "They're diving after loose balls. They are really going after it."

            Ava Steinman, a junior middle/outside hitter, led the Indians with seven kills and three deflections. Her classmate, Anne Gerstenberg, finished with seven deflections and four kills.

            Dana Cahill, senior setter and outside hitter, posted 15 assists while notching one service ace. Riley registered a team-high two aces on five serves.

            The Tribe's increased aggression has allowed it to create more free balls–defined as a ball returned over the net with either a bump or pass. Tirjan said his team has converted more of those offensive opportunities into points.

            The Indians held their own during the Easton Red Rover Tournament over the weekend. They went 3-5 in eight sets against Easton, Saucon Valley, Archbishop Carroll and Holy Redeemer on Saturday, Sept. 8. They split sets against three of the teams, going 0-2 against Holy Redeemer.

            "This season is a lot less discouraging than last year," Pedrick said.

            In terms of the program turning the proverbial corner, Tirjan could not provide a timeline. The coach said the breakthrough would likely occur through gradual improvement and build toward a victory over an established opponent.

            "This game is 50 percent mental and 50 percent physical," Tirjan said.

            The Tribe faces an uphill battle in the conference. Last season, Upper Merion, Spring-Ford, Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Valley qualified for the District One Class 4A tournament. Pope John Paul II won the Class 3A title.

            Tirjan said approximately half his roster – including Pedrick, Gerstenberg, Cahill, Ava Steinman and Kylie Keim – played club volleyball during the off-season. The coach suspects that Boyertown's entire roster had that experience.






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