5:48 PM PST, November 22, 2012
Parkland may have lost to Hempfield in the PIAA 3A girls volleyball finals on Saturday, but make no mistake — this was a team of champions.
The Trojans reached the state finals again after winning the gold in 2011 to put a cap on a remarkable run for the program and two senior players, Kelly Robertson and Taylor Krause, led the charge.
Robertson and Krause have been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) seventh annual Under Armour Girls High School All-America Team, which salutes the top 100 seniors in the country.
The two Penn State-bound players were just two of 48 senior players in the nation to be selected to either the first or second All-America team with Robertson being tabbed for the first squad.
No other Pennsylvania school had a player chosen to the first or second team.
"It is quite an honor to have two of the top 48 senior players in the country from the same high school," Parkland coach Mike Krause said. "We look at it as a team honor. I challenge the kids every day in practice to work hard and get better and better and Kelly and Taylor took up the challenge. These two drove themselves to be the best they could be.
"But they're also humble about it. They just love to play the game and they carry themselves the right way in competition and in practice."
Robertson, a middle hitter, finished her career with more than 1,400 kills and Krause tallied 4,002 career assists as the team's setter.
The team had won 68 consecutive best-of-five matches before losing to Hempfield.
Over the last three years of their careers, Robertson and Krause helped Parkland go 75-3 and win three consecutive Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 titles.
"What they have achieved and brought to our program is something that can't be measured," Krause, who is Taylor's father, said. "They've had a piece of something special. We won a league title in 2008, but before that Parkland volleyball had not even won a tournament before."
For being a first-team All-America selection, Robertson will get to participate in the Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match and Skills Competition on Dec. 16 in Louisville, Ky. in conjunction with the 2012 AVCA Convention.
Bloomsburg University women's soccer junior Tara Huber (Parkland) was named to the second team of the all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) squad.
This was the second time in three years that Huber, a forward, earned all-PSAC honors. Her six goals led the Huskies this year and her three game-winning goals ranked seventh in the conference.
"Huber's six goals and two assists this year moved her into a tie for 11th on Bloomsburg's all-time scoring list with 21 points. She has helped the team go 29-23-4 in her career.
After helping her Cornell women's volleyball team defeat Princeton for the first time in six seasons, junior Rachel D'Epagnier (Southern Lehigh) was named the Ivy League player of the week.
D'Epagnier was Cornell's go-to player through a weekend sweep of Princeton and Penn with a combined 30 kills and just one error on 56 attempts. She posted a .518 hitting percentage and averaged 3.75 kills per set.
Cornell finished its season 9-16 overall, 5-9 in the Ivy.
The Lehigh Valley Moondogs fell one game short of the championship, but still shined when competing in the Men's Senior Baseball League World Series Over-60 Division in Phoenix, Az., recently.
The Moondogs, featuring many familiar local baseball personalities, lost its opener to Canada 3-2, but then bounced back with wins over teams from El Paso, Phoenix and the eventual champion Los Angeles Athletics.
In the semifinals against San Antonio, Dennis Kinney threw a complete game and Gary Search and Bob Fatzinger led the offense with two RBIs each.
In the finals against the Athletics, the Moondogs outhit L.A. 7-6, but surrendered four unearned runs.
Tony Spidale and Mike Zuk each batted over .500 in the tournament and Gene Leitgeb made several outstanding defensive plays.
Other team members included Dan Waelchli, Mike Heck, Gordon Santee, Tom George, Ron Deibert, Trini Huertas, Dick Prue, Randy Fleck, Turk Starniri, Ed Bartholomew, Bruce Alpaugh, Dennis Ritter, Barry Peterman, Don Robertson, Rich Wescoe and Tom Czysz. Prue and Starniri were the co-managers.
The Select Competition Basketball League (SCBL) completed its third successful fall season earlier this month and helped to get many of the area's top players ready for the upcoming winter season.
Justin Zajko of Parkland was named the most outstanding prospect in the NBA Division (10th thru 12th graders) and Lucas Hudson, an eighth-grader at Lehigh Valley Christian, was named the most outstanding prospect in the NCAA Division (7th thru 9th graders).
"The SCBL continues to provide great opportunities to student athletes and aspiring coaches in the area," said league director Ed Jennings. "We had almost 175 players this fall in the two divisions, and 16 teams. We continue to partner with the Allentown School District with our 'coat drive' and Salem United Methodist with our 'food drive.' I'm excited about the future."
The SCBL is looking to secure either a private or corporate sponsor and expand into the Bethlehem, Easton, Nazareth and Phillipsburg areas at the Chrin Center in Palmer Township.
By the way, Ed's son Zay Jennings, is coming off a very successful summer and fall where he merited national attention. The freshman attends Lehigh Valley Academy, but will play for Doug Snyder at Allen.
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