McKeesport, PA – After a year that saw the Penn State Greater Allegheny Volleyball team rank in the top ten in many statistical categories including digs (413), block assists (83), total blocks (95), attack attempts (1,637), and assists (413) the ladies are back and ready to chase a second straight berth in the PSUAC Playoffs in 2017/18.
Last season, the Lions made it to the PSUAC Quarter Final Round where they took on Penn State Mont Alto in what proved to be a fierce battle through three sets, but ultimately the ladies fell to Mont Alto ending the season. It was a season full of many positives as the team finished 9-11, four wins better than the 2015/16 season, and had an overall conference record of 8-8. While the team saw many accomplishments as a whole leaders Laura Vazquez-Diaz (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Cupey Maria Montessori) and Courtney Odell Shad received individual recognition as they were both named to the PSUAC All-Conference List for their efforts.
This season, Vazquez-Diaz is back for her senior season to lead a younger generation of GA volleyball players to try and capture their second straight PSUAC playoff berth. She is coming off a year in which she appeared in 19 of the team’s 20 matches. She led the team in kills with 142, digs with 233, total attempts with 471, and averaged 2.18 kills per set while collecting 27 service aces. Joining Vazquez-Diaz from last year’s team is Junior Andrea Burroughs (New Rochelle, NY/New Rochelle) and Sophomores Hayley Maksin (Port Vue, PA/South Allegheny), and Marina Puharre Selmi (Saul Paulo, Brazil/Colegio Objetivo).
Maksin saw a lot of playing time as a Libero in her Freshman year where she played in 19 matches and was tied for first on the team with 65 sets, second in digs with 183, and third in service aces with 17. Burroughs was a main contributor in the setting game as well with 59 last season and racked up 30 kills in 19 matches. Puharre-Selmi served in 16 matches as an Middle Hitter contributing 72.5 points, 26 digs, 50 sets, 32 kills, and 112 total attempts.
The GA Lions are looking to make back-to-back PSUAC Playoff appearances for the first time since they made it three straight seasons from the 2012/13 season to the 2014/15 season. They are led by first-year head coach Alyssa Finocchi, who comes from St. Elizabeth’s Middle School Girls Varsity team. Finocchi was a four-year player at GA where she earned three First Team All PSUAC awards and was named PSUGA Female Athlete of the year during her senior season where she led GA to their first ever PSUAC Final Four appearance.
The Lions open their season on Friday September 1st when they will take part in the Penn State Beaver Tournament at Penn State Beaver taking on Rochester College and Robert Morris Springfield. Their first home match of the year will be on Thursday September 7th vs. Westmoreland County Community College in the Wunderley Gymnasium.