At 3-0, Pennridge head girls volleyball coach Brandon Johnson wasn’t exactly totally sold on his team.
“We got some wins early and that was good to see,” said Johnson. “We had a lot of kids playing and we had some ups and downs.
“We still need to work out some kinks.”
Recent wins over Upper Dublin and Plymouth Whitemarsh presumably has solidified his base with a 5-0 mark. The Rams already have reached half their win total from last year (10-10).
“Definitely,” stressed Johnson. “I think we are stronger in mindset and playing more as a team than in previous years, which has us excited for the matchup tomorrow. There is a real belief in our girls that any of our players can step in and do the job for us if needed; they don’t feel the need to do it alone anymore.”
In the win over Plymouth Whitemarsh, junior outside hitter Lydia Stutzman had 10 kills and senior outside hitter Amber Johns had nine kills. Junior right side hitter Izzie Cooper added seven kills, and senior middle blocker Emma Tirjan chipped in with six kills.
Senior captain and defensive specialist Kat DeYesso continues to be an anchor for the team.
“Lydia Stutzman has used her height (6-0) and she can be a force for us,” said Johnson. “The other girls have used their experience to their advantage. They really all have done a great job for us.”
Senior setter Kara Allelunas had 38 assists and sophomore defensive specialist Allison Saalfrank had five aces. Juniors Julia Post and Riliegh Bowen also have been steady contributors.
“Kara was sharing some time with Brenna Thomson, but she has been coming through for us,” said Johnson. “Allison is among some of the young skilled kids who are scrappy and mighty. They’re figuring out how to win.”
Johnson envisions the team’s fast start paying some late-season dividends, especially with a seasoned core.
“We wanted to try and weather the storm at the start of the season,” he said. “We wanted to learn how to win and learn how to battle. We’re not used to being the team people are looking at.
“But we have had a lot of growth in a short time, and we are playing with confidence.”
Johnson hoped his club could clear another high hurdle when it met Hatboro-Horsham in an undefeated showdown Wednesday (results unavailable at press time).
“Win or lose, we feel prepared to really move forward as a program this season,” said Johnson. “Hatboro-Horsham is very strong. We just want to show everyone we can compete with anyone.”