FALLS TWP. – Pennsbury senior Julia Vreeswyk doesn’t just play volleyball for 10 to 12 weeks for the Lady Falcons. The 6-foot outside hitter for Pennsbury plays year round for East Coast Power, a club team that’s based in King of Prussia.
While she considered taking an academic road through college at either West Virginia or South Carolina, she has decided to take an athletic route that will land her at Division II West Chester University next fall.
“I was thinking of going just for the college experience but I decided that I can’t really give up volleyball,” said Vreeswyk. “I started talking to West Chester and everything just kind of worked out.”
Julia made her college plans known at a commitment ceremony held Nov. 16 at the PHS West Campus.
The Falcons are coming off an historic 23-win season, one in which they made states for the first time in a decade.
“We just wanted to show everyone that the program was better than it had been,” said Vreeswyk, who plans to major in exercise science at WCU. “We wanted to make a statement and show the younger girls, going forward, they should get to states every year.”
“That’s what our coach wanted – he said we needed to start a new culture and get things back to the way they were here.”
Turning in a 17-1 mark in league play, Pennsbury easily captured the Suburban One National League crown, outpacing second place CB West (14-4) and Council Rock North (14-4) by three games, each.
For her part, Vreeswyk came through with over 350 kills and a hitting percentage that hovered near the .300 mark. Both this year and last, Vreeswyk was named first team, All-SOL National Conference.
“I loved high school because I think (Coach Mike) Falter really helped me with defense and stuff,” said Vreeswyk. “When I was down he always picked me up; he was always there to boost my self-confidence.”
While the Falcons outpaced 19th-seeded CB East 3-2 in the second round of District 1-Class 4A Tournament, the win that really put the team on the map this year came four days later against 11th-seeded Spring-Ford.
In a D1 quarterfinal win over S-F, the Rams dropped the first two sets before roaring back with 25-19 and 25-17 wins to send the match to a fifth and deciding set.
In the final set, Vreeswyk and classmate Sydney Buell combined on eight of the 15 points for Pennsbury, which won the deciding game by a 15-10 score.
After finishing fourth in District 1, the Falcons finally met their match in states. Facing Philadelphia Catholic League rival Archbishop Carroll, Pennsbury fell in straight sets in the opening round of the PIAA Tournament at Bishop McDevitt.
“They were very consistent and that’s why they won,” said Vreeswyk, of Carroll. “We have girls who are as good as their girls but we’re not as consistent as them and that’s what won the game for them.”
In addition to Vreeswyk and Buell, the Falcons also wave goodbye to senior setter Kiley Bucknam, middle blocker Shelby Hastings, and libero Heather Linker.
Pennsbury has a fair amount of talent returning next season including sophomores Elley Torres, who saw plenty of action on the front line this season, opposite Brooke Burns, and defensive specialist Ashley Parry.
West Chester toppled Seton Hill 3-1 in the PSAC quarterfinal matchup Nov. 14 at the McKenna Center but its tournament run came to an end three days later as they lost to Gannon (28-5) in straight sets.
On Monday, Nov. 20, however, West Chester (24-8) was picked to participate in the NCAA Division II Tournament for only the second time in school history.
The Golden Rams are the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4-seeded Indiana (Pa.) (24-9) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. All of the Atlantic Region games will be played at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va. Nov. 30-Dec 2.
Indiana blanked West Chester 3-0 in straight sets in an early season matchup between the sides.
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