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The Sacred Heart Sharks volleyball team have one goal in mind for this season; win the Monsignor Martin League Championship. But to do that, the Sharks will need to defeat defending league champion and arch rival St. Mary’s of Lancaster.

After nearly an hour of straight scrimmaging to end practice, senior center Michaela Ryan said, “we want to be undefeated in the league…we want to beat St. Mary’s.”

The Sharks finished 2016 with a 13-2 overall record with both losses coming to St. Mary’s.

Five seniors return for fifth year head coach JT Ripper, including Ryan, a First Team All-League selection in 2016, as well as Second Team All-League senior Lauren Aichinger.

The Sharks’ last Monsignor Martin title came in 2010. In 2016, they finished second in both league play and the league tournament final.

Senior Clare Falkowski is confident in her team’s goals and mindset going into the 2017 season.

“We can beat every other team that we beat last year. We just keep getting better. We are better than we were last year…and we want to beat St. Mary’s,” senior leader Falkowski said.

‘Communication & teamwork’ has been a common trend among preseason volleyball practices this year. Junior Gabriella Berardi believes her team already has that part down.

“I think we are the right type of team where we all get along really well and we’re actually all friends outside of the team, so that really helps,” Berardi said.

For this year’s Sharks, it’s all about taking care of business in league play and defeating a rival.

“We need to keep practicing because we can be better than we were last year,” Falkowski said. “We want to beat St. Mary’s…that is our goal.”

The Sharks open the season with a scrimmage at Hamburg HS on Friday, August 25th. They begin the regular season at home on Wednesday, September 6th against Our Ladyof Mercy at 4:30pm.