PUNXSUTAWNEY — For the first time ever, the Punxsy volleyball team will have four District IX Class AA/AAA All-Stars, as joining Player of the Year Hannah Neal are fellow upperclassmen Corri Snyder, Shawnna Crago and Tawnee Bowers.
Neal, a senior libero, received the most votes from district coaches and was named the Player of the Year. Snyder made her way on the All-Star list for the third time, as she was recognized as an honorable mention in 2008 and 2009.
This is the second-straight season that Crago has become an All-Star, while Bowers made the list for the first time.
"All four of those players are very deserving of this honor. However, each of them realizes that they cannot be as successful on the court as they are without their teammates," Punxsy head coach Lisa Good said. "As a coach, you are always incredibly happy for those who make the All-Stars, but at the same time, you would like to see more players you coached have this honor."
Much like Neal — who was a hitter for three years before switching to libero this season — Snyder didn't have a consistent position during her whole career with the Lady Chucks.
Snyder, a team captain, had 420 set assists in 2008 as the team's main setter before moving to libero last season. She then switched back to setter this season, tallying a team-high 472 set assists.
"Corri has come back strong in the setter's position this year," Good said. "She has super soft hands and has a lot of speed. Those are definitely assets a setter needs to perform well."
In addition, Snyder was second-best on the team with 283 digs last year before being one of the team leaders in service points and service aces this season.
"She also has a very effective serve," Good said. "In the district championship games against Kane, she picked out weaknesses and spots, and hit them with great accuracy."
Crago was the most powerful of Punxsy's hitters this season. She finished in the top two in kills and top three in kills during each of the past two seasons.
"The fans always want to see her swing, but she knows that is not always the best option. She sees the court well and goes to the open areas," Good said. "When she makes the decision to swing, that ball finds the court pretty quickly. The defense usually has no time to react."
The senior played sparingly during her sophomore season before being one of the team leaders during each of the past two years. She started as a left-side hitter as a junior before moving to the middle in 2010.
"She's a hard worker, with a lot of strength and an awesome vertical jump," Good said. "She blocks extremely well and plays very smart."
Bowers didn't contribute much to the team until she was a junior, and she improved leaps and bounds as a senior. As a hitter, she started from the right side last year before moving to the left side this season.
Much like Neal, Bowers has the ability to play anywhere on the court, as she can serve, pass and hit the ball with the best of the Lady Chucks.
Bowers was one of Punxsy's leaders in service points and aces this year, and she also put up good numbers in the kill and dig categories.
"Whether it's passing, serving or hitting, she has stepped up her game to the next level," Good said. "She is a definite leader. She serves and passes with great accuracy. She also has a nice vertical jump and sees the court well."
Last year's Player of the Year, Kane's Amelia Kepler, was another of the district's eight All-Stars this season. Along with Punxsy's four girls and Kepler, Bradford's Tricia Ekas, Kane's Stephanie Salerno and St. Marys' Kayla Hoohuli were honored. All eight All-Stars are seniors.