Friars' teamwork augers success

Focus on winning GCAC White, then a good run in Class 4A playoffs

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

With fellow leader Margaret Planek having moved on to the University of Pennsylvania, McKenzie Moorman returns as the unquestioned leader of the Fenwick High School volleyball team.

Last year, Planek was the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference White Division Player of the Year, while Moorman earned All-GCAC honors as the Friars finished 20-15.

Moorman amassed 359 kills and 172 digs at outside hitter in 2017. A four-year varsity starter at Fenwick, she has committed to play college volleyball at South Carolina. However before she joins the Gamecocks, Moorman hopes to close out her high school career in style at Fenwick.

"McKenzie brings us leadership and experience," Fenwick coach Kathleen O'Laughlin said. "She is a dominant left side attack. She is a threat from both the front and back court."

Some of the team's other top contributors include seniors Zaria Glover (right side hitter), Kate Beltram (left side outside hitter/defensive specialist), along with juniors Alesia Mollo (libero) and Ally Riggs (setter).

"Zaria is blocking at a high level and has the ability to terminate the ball at many different points along the net," O'Laughlin said. "Kate provides us with stability in the backcourt and she's also a very effective left side option for us. Alesia is a solid passer and has excellent defensive skills. Ally has really improved from last season and she's doing a great job of running our offense."

Sophomore outside hitter Beau Vanderlaan, sophomore middle blocker Lauren Hall and promising freshman Elise Henegan augment the lineup with young talent.

"Beau is doing a nice job handling the responsibilities of a pin hitter for us," O'Laughlin said. "She contacts the ball high on the tape and has the ability to work around a block. Elise is doing a great job closing the block for us and has a powerful arm swing. They are both exciting, young players who will make an impact on varsity this season."

Fenwick opened the season with straight-set wins over Northside Prep (25-23, 25-5) and Lane Tech (25-20, 25-20).

"The goal for this group is to work hard and improve every day in practice," O'Laughlin said. "This group is focused and very much a team. They seem to support each other and understand their roles, whether they are on the court or the bench.

"I'd like to see great defense and transition from this group. I think we have the talent to perform at a high level defensively and put up a solid block consistently."

In addition to its conference matches, Fenwick will face several tough nonconference opponents, including York, St. Ignatius, Montini and OPRF.

"These matches will be a good test for us as we are competing at the Class 4A level this postseason," O'Laughlin said. "I think a fun conference matchup for us will be Trinity. In the past few years, both teams have played some great volleyball against each other. I think this year will be no different."

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