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NPL volleyball is staying in the moment

North Penn-Liberty Volleyball is setting new program and individual records seemingly every time they step on the court in this playoff run. Just this year, JoAnne McNamara recorded her 1,500th career assist, Maddison Minyo chalked up her 750th kill and Grace Tice and Lizzi Welch both went over 100 blocks for the season.

In addition, Charisma Grega is closing in on 750 kills and 750 digs in just her junior season. As a team, their 30 wins are a program record, and they’ve only lost one set all year to a Pennsylvania team.

Their PIAA Class AA semifinal appearance is the furthest any team in any sport has gone in Southern Tioga School District. Yet, this team is keeping their focus and staying in the moment.

They embody the edict of great Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler: “No player is greater than the team. No coach is greater than the team. The team, the team, the team.”

“After the game (Saturday) I did talk to them about what this moment means. They are the only Southern Tioga volleyball team to get this far,” North Penn-Liberty coach Jennifer Nawri said. “They are in the Final Four in a year when many had thought it would be a building year. I then reminded them that they have gotten this far through hard work, determination, and a positive team mentality.”

It’s that selflessness and ability to stay in the present that has the Mounties in the PIAA Class AA semifinals against Trinity. The Shamrocks come in with a 17-1-1 record and have notched impressive wins down the stretch, taking out perennial power Central Cambria in the first round of states in five sets and sweeping District 1 champion Saint Basil Academy in the quarterfinals.

They’re led by the trio of libero Ryanne Whitman, outside hitter Katie Sajer, and 6-foot-3 middle hitter Lauren Trumpy. Trumpy’s presence in the middle will be a challenge for the Mounties, who do not have great size. However, the Mounties skill and athleticism at all spots in the court could make the difference.

For now, even just six sets away from a state title, the Mounties are trying to keep doing what they’ve done all season. Nawri said they were going to approach practice before the semifinal match the same as they have all year: work on the fundamentals, go over what went wrong in the last match and go over the next opponent.

One thing you can count on is that North Penn-Liberty isn’t intimidated by anyone. This is a group that has traveled all over in both school and club seasons and will be ready for anything thrown at them.

“These girls love big matches,” Nawri said. “They live for these big moments and this is why you play, for these big matches.”

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