The Westmoreland County Coaches Association is adding an all-star volleyball game to its calendar.
The inaugural all-star game will be held at Ligonier Valley High School on Nov. 22. The start time is set for. 6 p.m. and will cost $5.
The coaches association’s primary purpose is to provide scholarships to worthy student-athletes and to sponsor championships, tournaments, and events for athletes from participating Westmoreland County high schools.
This is the first year the association will undertake the all-star volleyball game.
“This is the first time that they have been able to put together a volleyball game like this,” said Brett Marabito.
Marabito is filling in for Joe Skura, former Ligonier Valley athletic and communications director. The volleyball game was Skura’s brainchild.
“So, even though it has been a bit hectic trying to get everything set up right now,” Marabito said. “I think it is important to give these girls the opportunity to go out and compete one last time in a high school volleyball game. It can really honor them. You see a lot of other sports, that are able to put on events like this. To be able to do this for volleyball, it is a special thing for the coaches association.”
And volleyball has a rich history in the Westmoreland County area. From Derry Area being a perennial figure to Greater Latrobe’s recent perfect regular season and run into the PIAA playoffs attests to.
“You have your Norwins, your Penn-Traffords, then you look at the success that Latrobe has had this past season and Derry with how rich their volleyball history is,” Marabito said. “And Burrell. It truly is pretty special when you break it down and look at it. It is not really the front-page sport all the time, but within Westmoreland County, we are pretty lucky to have to have good volleyball athletes like that that we are able to recognize.”
With Ligonier Valley looking to organize and ready the opening of its sports hall of fame, Marabito himself has discovered how deep that history goes in Ram Country.
“Starting things with the hall of fame here at Ligonier Valley, it has brought to light, we had a girls volleyball team in 1976,” Marabito said. “It was before any classifications. It was an open tournament, so our girls volleyball team took fourth in the state. They actually lost to Norwin, I think, in the second round of the state tournament. It was a double-elimination tournament at that time. It is what sparked my interest in looking into the volleyball history of Westmoreland County. Obviously being right next to Derry, you knew of their program, but even in our own backyard, there is some history as well.”
As for the volleyball contest itself, it will be broken down into East versus West.
The East team will consist of Sasha Whitfield (OH), Derry Area; Isabella DePalma (OH), Derry Area; Laurel Uhlinger (OH), Greensburg Salem; Lily Fenton (S), Greater Latrobe; Emma Blair (MH), Greater Latrobe; May Krehlik (OH), Greater Latrobe; Ellie Althof (OH), Greensburg Central Catholic; Kayla Desak (L), GCC; Ella Bringe (RS), Hempfield Area; Kaylee Doppelheuer (OH), Southmoreland; Taylor Doppelheuer (MH), Southmoreland; Ruby Wallace (OH), Ligonier Valley.
The East team is coached by Greater Latrobe’s volleyball coach Drew Vosefski and Southmoreland’s Dan Boring.
Sydney Joyce (S), Kiski Area; Halie Walmsley (OH), Valley; Jessica Staraniec (OH), Valley; Avery Bain (OH), Burrell; Taylor Barr (S), Burrell; Sophia Alvarez (S) Norwin; Sara Olson (DS), Norwin; Sydney Petko (OH/RH), Norwin; Kate Schall (OH), Penn-Trafford; Gia Pezze (L), Penn-Trafford; Kaelynn Loffredo (MH), Penn-Trafford; Ella Evans (MH), Franklin Regional; Lily Shahan (MH), Belle Vernon.
The West team is coached by Burrell’s Alyson Shirey and Penn-Trafford’s Jim Schall.
“For even Ligonier Valley to be able to host it, it is a pretty cool thing for us to gather everybody and be in our corner of the county,” Marabito said. “To be able to host them is a pretty special event for all of us.”