Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Plum Assumes Section Favorite Role

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Plum Assumes Section Favorite Role

Article excerpt

Plum girls volleyball coach Kory Flaherty was disappointed to hear that the WPIAL had moved Fox Chapel out of Section 4-AAA with its offseason realignment.

"We had such a good rivalry with Fox Chapel," Flaherty said. "I don't have anything against Oakland Catholic [the team that replaced Plum in the section], but the section has been weakened by the change. I'm upset to see a team that is arguably the best team in our section leaving."

Plum and Fox Chapel tied for the section title last year with an 11-1 record. Oakland Catholic had a 5-7 record in Section 5-AAA.

"Some consider Section 4 to be the weakest of the four Class AAA sections," Flaherty said. "This makes the section even weaker."

Flaherty realizes that his squad has a better chance to win the section title, but would prefer to have the stiffer competition.

"Just take a look at Section 3 [Fox Chapel's new home]," Flaherty said. "All the meat-and-potatoes teams are in Section 3. It may be easier to qualify for the playoffs in this section, but the competition we face doesn't help prepare us for the WPIAL playoffs."

A good example of this is last year's playoffs. Section 4 had four teams qualify for the WPIAL playoffs because Shaler Area and Gateway tied for third place, and all four teams were beaten in the first round.

"You have to play good competition to get better," Flaherty said.

Plum opened the season Saturday at the eight-team Butler Tournament. The Mustangs tied for third place after losing to Indiana, 2-0, in the semifinals. Hopewell won the title with a 2-0 win against Indiana.

"We did pretty well in the tournament, actually better than expected," Flaherty said. "There was a lot of good competition. We were excited to play the good teams and did a good job. We passed the ball really well, and some of the young girls did a good job of putting the ball away."

Flaherty lost five players to graduation, and all five were part of the Mustangs' starting rotation. …

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