Penn-Trafford volleyball, softball players sign with Shippensburg
When the Shippensburg athletic programs start work next fall for the 2015-16 seasons, two of the teams will have some Penn-Trafford flavor.
Volleyball player Angela Tarabrella and softball player Nicole Smith both signed letters of intent last week to continue their athletic careers at the school located in central Pennsylvania.
Tarabrella chose Shippensburg over Slippery Rock.
“I like the campus,” Tarabrella said. “When I went on my visit, I met the coaches and the players and really felt at home. They made me feel welcomed.”
The volleyball team competes in the Eastern Division in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference against Cheyney, East Stroudsburg, Lock Haven, Millersville, Kutztown, Pitt-Johnstown and West Chester. Coach Leanna Piscotty has coached the team for 11 years and has a record of 224-150.
Shippensburg is coming off a 19-17 season where it reached the second round of the PSAC volleyball championships.
Playing since the seventh grade, Tarabrella has been working on reaching the college level since she started high school.
She plays for the Pittsburgh Elite travel squad.
“I got better every time I stepped on the court,” Tarabrella said.
Tarabrella helped lead Penn-Trafford to a 10-5 mark and the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
“I liked coming to practice and talking to the girls,” Tarabrella said. “I liked going out and playing against friends on some of the local teams. I am going to miss it.”
Smith, meanwhile, chose to continue her softball career at Shippensburg after visiting the campus one time.
“I fell in love with the campus,” the pitcher said. “They have a good softball program and great academics.”
Shippensburg plays in the Eastern Division of the PSAC against Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville and West Chester.
Coach Bob Brookens has coached the Raiders for 14 seasons, compiling a 409-235 record with three PSAC championships. Shippensburg went 36-17 last season and reached the NCAA Atlantic Region softball championships.
Smith said she started taking softball serious in eighth grade when she realized she had a chance to play at the collegiate level.
“I have been training to play in college since then,” Smith said. “I play in the fall, practice inside in the winter, play with the high school in the spring and play in the summer with my travel team.”
Smith plays with the Pennsylvania Cyclones travel team. All the playing time has helped her develop mentally.
“Being a pitcher, the mental side of the game is just as important as the physical,” Smith said. “You need to be mentally tough.”
Smith was 7-2 last season with 82 strikeouts.
“I feel I was a leader as a junior last season,” Smith said. “I know I will have an even bigger role as a senior. I know I need to set a good example for the younger players.”