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Unbeaten Trojans head to playoffs

Entering the 2023 regular season, Parkland High School girls volleyball coach Mike Krause, in his 20th season at the helm, had almost an entirely new team with only a few experienced players on the roster. The Trojans had one main starter back from last year’s squad and had a bunch of unknowns in the lineup.

“Maggie Smith was our lone full-time starter back this season,” said Krause. “She has been the rock and the catalyst to our attack and even our defense. Our team goes how she goes, and she did a great job this season in getting the girls set up and in the right formations.”

The Trojans finished the regular season with two wins against two teams that qualified for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Tournament. They were both straight set wins as well. Parkland defeated Central Catholic last Monday night and then ended the season with a victory over Emmaus that Wednesday.

In the victory over the Vikettes, Alli Reimer led the attack with 12 kills and had a team-high 15 digs. Each of Ava Best, Genda Avdijaj and Cat Neagle had six kills with the latter adding three blocks. Smith contributed 31 assists and 10 digs. Izzy Fekula recorded nine digs.

Parkland took down the eighth seed, Nazareth, also in straight sets, by scores of 25-18, 25-11, 25-18 in the EPC quarterfinal round. There were two major milestones in the match as Smith recorded her 3000th career assist, becoming just the second player in program history to accomplish that feat, behind only assistant coach Taylor Krause, Mike’s daughter. Also, Parkland won its 400th match under the tutelage of Krause.

Reimer tallied 18 kills, Avdijaj contributed eight kills and Neagle notched seven kills and two blocks. Dani Gordon had a team-high 15 digs and Fekula added three aces and seven digs.

Parkland defeated Liberty in three sets in the semifinals Tuesday night and will take on Central Catholic on Thursday night in the final at Whitehall High School. The Vikings knocked off No. 2 seed Pleasant Valley in the semifinals.

The Trojans beat Liberty 25-20, 25-17, 25-20 Tuesday. Reimer had 14 kills and 8 digs, while teammates Genda Avidijaj (10 kills), Ava Best (5 kills), Cat Neagle (5 kills), Izzy Fekula (21 digs), Dani Gordon (12 digs) and Maggie Smith (36 assists, 5 digs) also helped fill up the stat sheet.

Maggie Smith, the only full-time returning starter on this year's Parkland girls volleyball team, sets a ball during last week's win over Emmaus. PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland's Izzy Fekula digs a ball during the Trojans' win over Emmaus in last week's regular season finale.