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Girls volleyball

Quakertown splits decisions with Wissahickon, Souderton


Quakertown’s girls volleyball team hasn’t measured their season simply on wins and losses. For the record, the Panthers had a 2-10 slate through their first 12 matches.
Instead, it has been about building on the environment and climate of the program.
“So far, this is a great bunch of girls,” said head coach Kellie Csrenko, who is in her sixth year at the helm. “They work really hard and have put in a lot of time.
“It has been a tough time for them. But everyone has worked to remain positive and has hoped for the best. They always have a positive outlook.”
Csrenko has a relatively young team, and she has felt confident to insert them into the Panthers’ lineup. The Panthers worked their way through a 3-2 win over Wissahickon (12-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12) Monday. They dropped a 3-0 decision (25-16, 25-17, 25-22) to Souderton Tuesday.
“They battled throughout the match, and we came out on top,” added Csrenko. “It was a long match, and I was proud of them.
“Tuesday’s match was tough. We were very close in one game, and we just fell short.”
Sophomore right side hitter Mia Handschumacher has made an impact as an outside hitter, and junior Erica Gildea has handled the libero position.
“Mia is a lefty and has been hitting the ball very well,” said Csrenko. “Erica took the place of a four-year starter there and she has been adjusting with everything,”

Senior outside hitter Olivia Hetzel and Morgan Stryker are part of an eight-senior core, and they both have been consistent over the long haul.
Fellow senior and right side hitter Laura Williams has been a valuable asset.
“She (Williams) is our utility player,” noted Csrenko. “I am able to put her anywhere on the court if needed.”
Csrenko sees the lack of a feeder program as one of the major stumbling blocks of the program.
“It absolutely makes a big difference not having a feeder program,” stressed Csrenko, who is a former standout at Liberty High School in Bethlehem. “When I was in high school, we had a great feeder program that really helped mold the program. That’s a big reason why volleyball is strong in the Lehigh Valley.
“We have been trying to get one here. I don’t know if it is because of lack of interest or lack of coaches. Whatever the reason, it would really help the program. The freshmen are coming in without any experience. We have been encouraging our girls to play club volleyball.”
Csrenko has been pleased with her team’s overall numbers – 17 varsity, 13 JV and 10 freshman – and she is optimistic about her team’s chances down the stretch.
“I do see us being more competitive over the next few weeks,” she said. “We picked up a win on Monday and that was big. We will be facing teams we can compete against, and the girls have gained experience.
“They have a lot of desire, and they will get better.”