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NTL VOLLEYBALL: SAYRE COACH LIKES TEAM'S POTENTIAL IN 2023 AS HE SEEKS TO REBUILD PROGRAM (2023-08-29)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Second-year Sayre volleyball coach Severin Barbagallo is excited about the Lady Redskins’ potential, and is looking to build toward success in 2023.

The Lady Redskins are coming off an 0-18 season, and graduated six seniors.

"As a first-year coach at the varsity level, I had a bunch of seniors and great expectations, and you saw what happened," said Barbagallo.

"I’ve learned I need to see what the girls can do, what they can push through, and find out what season they want to have.

"We want the girls have a winning mentality, a championship mindset if you will, (but) our expectations right now as a team is to build," he added. "We want to build athletes, build their volleyball IQ, and take the steps in the right direction where we’re building our program."

Barbagallo said he saw some good things at the scrimmage.

"We scrimmaged Saturday in Dallas, and played from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.," he said. "It was really a quick-paced scrimmage … we play seven minutes, one-minute break, then play seven minutes more — then waited 30 or 40 minutes to play again. I’ve never been involved in a scrimmage like that.

"By the time we got to our fifth game, we settled down mentally, and started playing much better," he said.

"I love this team’s potential, I would say that’s our biggest strength," noted Barbagallo. "By the time we got to fifth game in Saturday’s scrimmage, we were seeing glimmers of hopes. I found myself saying ‘nice hit,’ or ‘that was a good dig,’ or ‘great hustle’ quite a bit.

"Everything was coming together, there were girls diving for volleyball. It was good to see in the first scrimmage of the season," he added. "We’re not even into (the season) yet, and I’m thinking ‘this is something we can work with, this is great.’"

Sophomore Rylee Lantz will anchor the Lady Redskins at setter with junior Raegan Parrish and senior Madison Giggee at outside hitters.

Junior Abby McGaughey will start at middle hitter, with seniors Faith Swackhammer and Layla Bennett playing right-side / back row.

Junior Morgan Felt will come off the bench as a defensive specialist, while junior Mazlin VanDuzer will be a defensive specialist / serving specialist, and junior Kendra Hyatt will see time at the right side.

"It’s a small group … I know there’s been talk about our low numbers, but I see it as a strength," said Barbagallo. "The girls are small in numbers, but strong and united. We have a great core group of young ladies — both academically and athletically.

"I’m excited for their potential this year," he added.

Barbagallo said he is pushing the mental side of the game on the Lady Redskins, as well as stressing serve-receive.

"Coach (Vayda) Wilkins and I have been pushing the girls to be better mentally, and pushing them to be better physically," he said.

"We’re working on the mental game … I love the mental side of volleyball, I believe it’s at least 80 percent of the game.

"I wouldn’t say I’m concerned, concern is a strong work, but we’re working on our serve-receive, it needs to be strong," noted Barbagallo.

"I’d say that’s one are where we’re focused on improving," he added.

Sayre opens the season Tuesday at Troy, then hosts Towanda Thursday. Both matches are varsity only, and will begin at 6 p.m.

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IN PHOTO: Sayre coach Severin Barbagallo.

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