Plum's girls volleyball season concludes in WPIAL playoffs

Oct. 30—The Plum girls volleyball team saw its season come to a close last Wednesday with a 3-0 loss to No. 5 Montour in a WPIAL Class 3A first-round game at Montour High School.

The Mustangs, runners-up to Hampton in Section 1 with a 10-2 record, fell with set scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-18.

Montour came into the match as the champion of Section 2 after holding off Moon, Trinity and South Fayette for the title.

"Montour was really polished," Plum coach Kelsey Bonk said.

"They were big and had good ball skills, good ball control. They had three or four really good hitters, and they put up a big block. They ran a faster offense, which was really impressive at this level. They just didn't make many errors and made us work hard for every point. They weren't going to hurt themselves in any way. I was really impressed with their team."

Despite the loss, Bonk said she saw some good things from her team.

"I thought we passed really well and had pretty good ball control the whole night. Our defense held its own against a high-powered offense. We were just struggling to find kills and putting the ball away which is hard to do against a big team which also plays well defensively. But we never gave up, especially in the third set. I felt we were getting better each set. We didn't let the first set defeat us."

Plum, the No. 12 seed for the tournament, earned a spot in the first round with a 3-0 victory over No. 21 Uniontown in a preliminary match Oct. 24 at Hempfield High School.

The Mustangs' game with Montour marked the final high school varsity contest together for the senior group of Maya Nonnenberg, Emily Bologna, Dannika Susko, Payton Brenner and Samantha Glatz.

But a number of those seniors will have one more opportunity to show their stuff at the inaugural We Serve First All-Star Classic on Dec. 10 at Kiski Area High School.

The event will highlight the skills of 38 seniors from Plum and 18 other area schools.

Tim Toy, executive director of the We Serve First Foundation, said participants will be announced after all of the area teams with eligible seniors have concluded their respective seasons.

The format for the all-star event will be a four-team tournament. The players will be drafted to the four teams with first-round games starting at 4:15 p.m.

Doors open at 3. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and youths age 5 and under are free.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 724-493-5945.

Proceeds for the event will go to support the We Serve First Foundation, established in 2015 by the late Ellen Toy, who passed away a few months later in early 2016 after a six-year battle with gastric cancer.

Tim Toy, Ellens's husband, continues to advance the foundation's mission to "seek out young athletes with financial burdens, regardless of their age or skill level, and help them find a love for competition in a team sport. This helps these young people develop valuable skills necessary to compete not only in sports but also in life."

"This is such a great event and an awesome opportunity for all of these area athletes," Bonk said.

"It is just more great exposure for the girls and also deserved recognition after four years of hard work. I was lucky enough to learn about it pretty early on, having worked with Tim a lot through We Serve First. I was actually supposed to coach in it, but I am working that day and will miss it. I am really devastated about that because I would've loved to have been a part of the event."

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .