St. Anthony's Matthew Safranek reacts after the clinching point of...

St. Anthony's Matthew Safranek reacts after the clinching point of his team's three-set win over St. Francis Prep in the CHSAA title game. (May 16, 2011) Credit: James Escher

In a six-team conference where most of the teams have its share of questions, St. Anthony’s appears to have all the answers.

The Friars have won three state conference titles and are 50-1 during that stretch. In search of championship number four, they return a strong nucleus led by a trio of seniors: setter Matt Safranek and outside hitters Andrew Melon and Joseph Groneman.

Junior Matthew Winch will be one of two first-year starters at middle hitter. Winch, a basketball player by trade, has never played volleyball prior to this season. Coach Donna Newman, however, says Winch is a natural. Senior John O’Donoghue, formerly a right side hitter, will start alongside Winch in the middle.

Kellenberg lost its standout right-side hitter Tom Madelmayer to graduation but has a crew of talented players, including setter Ryan Branigan, outside hitter Michael Fulop, libero Philip Bies and middle hitter Conor Byrnes.

Chaminade has a pair of experienced senior outside hitters in Jake Lapidus and Kevin Joyce, while senior middle hitter Steve Stratford should be a solid frontcourt presence. The Fliers have enough size, but with eight new varsity players, those youngsters will need to develop in a hurry.


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