Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Side Beaver Enjoying Success in a New Section

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Side Beaver Enjoying Success in a New Section

Article excerpt

South Side Beaver girls' volleyball coach Jason Benkowski was happy when the WPIAL announced its most recent realignment in the spring.

Benkowski and his squad were just as happy when the brackets for this week's WPIAL Class A Tournament were released.

"We finished second in our section last year and both of our section losses were to Farrell," said Benkowski, who took over as Rams coach last season. "I like competition as much as the next coach, but it was nice to see that we were no longer in the same section with Farrell."

Benkowski was referring to the fact that Farrell is the most dominant girls' volleyball team in WPIAL history. The Steelers, under coach Harriett Morrison, have won 19 WPIAL titles and eight PIAA crowns since the WPIAL split into two classifications in 1982.

Under the new alignment, South Side Beaver was moved from Section 3 to a newly formed Section 4, as Class A expanded from five to six sections.

"When I saw that we had been moved to a new section, I immediately felt we had a legitimate shot of winning the section title," said Benkowski, a 1998 graduate of Ambridge Area High School who played for Bridgers coach Dennis Damp for four years. "My only concern is that we had a very inexperienced squad coming back."

Benkowski lost eight seniors from last year's squad, which advanced to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals, before losing to second-seeded Elderton, 3-1.

"I knew we had our work cut out for us, but the girls worked very hard over the summer to get ready for the season," said Benkowski. "It's obvious that hard work paid off."

South Side Beaver posted a 10-0 record en route to the Section 4 title.

"We have a small defensive-minded team, but when we play our game, we can compete with anybody," said Benkowski. "We are really looking forward to the WPIAL playoffs."

South Side Beaver will make its seventh consecutive WPIAL playoff appearance tomorrow at Montour High School against Bentworth, the second-place team from Section 5-A. …

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