By Tyler Trumbauer
The Parkland girls’ volleyball team is used to being evaluated on the court and experiencing success playing volleyball.
As this year’s team is gearing up for a postseason that they hope trumps any other, the girls are not afraid to be harshly graded by their coaches.
“We evaluate them and because these kids are good academically, they want good grades,” head coach Mike Krause said. “We give them the feedback. We do the analysis of the performance and they take pride in what they are receiving.”
The Parkland girls’ volleyball team is what some may call the makings of a dynasty as last year’s squad made a playoff run that lasted deep into the state playoffs before they lost to Hempfield in the AAA state final match. Krause is optimistic for another season like last year’s based on the regular season performance as Parkland is 14-0 as of October 9.
“I think they have really been pulling it together. This year we came back without any kids that received any league or district recognition from last year. They were willing to listen and learn and they supported each other.”
Krause isn’t too surprised that his team didn’t suffer a down season after losing some key players to graduation in the spring as other girls have stepped in to leadership roles. Veronica Koval is arguably the top Trojan on the team as Krause says, “She has come so far.” According to Krause, Koval is a great teammate, who gets emotional on the court and is very hard-working. The other four seniors on the squad, Lyndsey Iacobelli, Mary Zacher, Morgan Rentzheimer and Allora Atiyeh, are all captains and help lead the ladies on the court.
Parkland, as of October 9, is leading the way in the Lehigh Valley Conference standings and the entire District 11 with their unblemished record. They also are one of the elite squads in the AAA section of Pennsylvania as they are ranked as the second best girls’ volleyball team in the Keystone state.
There are a few schools from the local area hot on their tail however, as Emmaus is ranked third statewide and Southern Lehigh is fourth.
“Southern Lehigh and Emmaus are right there,” Krause said in a phone interview last week. “Lucky for us is that we get to play them in the regular season and have a feel for what they are going to do […] and a team like Southern Lehigh has a core group that has been there awhile and they are going to want that district title.
“So we have to respect the desire of other teams to achieve and knowing that, [we have] to get prepared for a good match and answer their best. That is what keeps our kids refined in their skills and preparation.”
District 11 is full of talented girls’ volleyball teams, but only one squad moves on to the state tournament and that is the district winner, which makes winning it so much more important.
“We feel we have a shot just as much as anyone,” said Krause. “What these kids are doing and being consistent as we have won 48 consecutive sets in the regular season against these tough teams in the LVC is astounding.”
He added, “These kids know how to compete. I am real comfortable with this group and being competitive with them. I hope we can rise during the heat of the battle, but they are an outstanding group of kids.”
That group is currently building another record as well as Parkland is nursing a 65 match winning streak in the regular season that every girl is very proud of and hopes to keep alive until the end of the regular season leading up to the league playoffs and the district tournament that starts on October 24.
Parkland is try to get good grades. The ladies with C’s on the jerseys are hoping to get A’s on the court so that the team can showcase more than a report card at season’s end.