Veverka eclipses 1,000 career kills in Perkiomen Valley sweep

GRATERFORD >> It became a day for the ages for Perkiomen Valley senior star Cayla Veverka and the rest of the Vikings girls volleyball players.

Needing six kills to reach the coveted plateau of 1,000 career kills entering the day, Veverka made quick work of it during the first game of a non-league series against Southern Lehigh. Veverka reached her desired mark in the first game with six kills and finished the day with 10 as Perkiomen Valley blanked the Spartans, 3-0. The match scores were 25-10, 25-12, 25-12.

Perkiomen Valley's Caitlin Corcoran, left, and Cayla Veverka block a shot above Southern Lehigh's Haley Schummer during Wednesday's non-league match. (Barry Taglieber - For The Mercury)
Perkiomen Valley’s Caitlin Corcoran, left, and Cayla Veverka block a shot above Southern Lehigh’s Haley Schummer during Wednesday’s non-league match. (Barry Taglieber – For The Mercury)

Veverka’s sixth kill gave the Vikings a 23-10 advantage in the opening game. The referees halted the game at that point and gave Veverka the ball as a special momento for the accomplishment.

Later, after the victory, the Viking players celebrated the feat with Veverka in a ceremony that included signs and balloons for the special occasion. Veverka also celebrated with several of her family members who were on hand for her big day.

“I did not think about it starting out,” said Veverka, a Division I recruit to Providence College in Rhode Island. “But during my junior year, my coach told me about it. That was the long-term goal for me.”

Because of her exceptional height, Veverka formerly played basketball, too, as a frontcourt player. But that all changed in ninth grade when she decided she was going to concentrate on volleyball in hopes of pursuing it at the college level.

She realizes she has received a lot of quality assistance along the way, both from her teammates and the several scholastic and club coaches who have guided her throughout her career, too.

This year she is playing under first-year PV varsity head coach Drew Scheeler, the former head boys volleyball coach at Christopher Dock High School in Kulpsville. The assistant varsity coach is Jess Highly while the junior varsity coach is Mia DeCicco, who also does a lot of work with the varsity contingent. Last fall, her Vikings coach was Chang Han.

Cayla first stepped on the volleyball court at the age of 12 during her 7th grade year. She was 2 years behind in learning the game, but quickly learned everything with the help of Sue McNulty and son, Josh McNulty who head up the CYO program at St. Eleanor Catholic Church in Collegeville. She then continued to play with club teams. Currently she plays for East Coast Power under the direction of Mike Krause where she continues to improve her game.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Veverka. “I have had different coaches. This year I have Mr. Scheeler, who is really great. He’s new and he has helped me a lot, which is nice.”
Scheeler teaches business at Perkiomen Valley High School as his fulltime job. But when the girls volleyball position opened up as well, Scheeler decided to pursue that position, too.

Veverka has also had a number of fine players as teammates with her Viking teams, too. Up front, especially, she has combined with 6-2 senior Caitlin Corcoran to give the Vikes a potent 1-2 punch.

Corcoran contributed six kills to Wednesday’s victory by Perkiomen Valley, who are off to an excellent start in 2015 at 2-0 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference and 5-0 overall. Sophomore Ellie Min piled up assists, ending the afternoon with 22 helpers to set up Veverka and the rest of the PV players up front.

The season is still in its early stages so there could be a lot more stemming from the PV girls volleyball program both for the rest of this fall and for future years.

“To get it over with early was great,” said Veverka. “To have it all, I was really grateful for that.”

Her teammates had signs of “Congratulations Cayla 1,000 Kills” to display prominently. There were also plenty of balloons to hoist.

The family members on hand included Cayla’s grandmother, Ginny Pugliese, her father, Craig Veverka; her brother, Craig Veverka Jr.; her uncle, Gregory Veverka; and her mother, Cindi Veverka.

The Vikings have installed some special new, quick plays this season that accentuate the talents of Veverka and Corcoran at the net.

“It is nice to have another tall person up there with me,” said Veverka. “We have a couple new girls. We are all really blending together. I think we are going to make a really good run in districts this year, which is really good for us.”

She plans to major in mathematics in college and has goals of possibly becoming an actuary. She will never give up volleyball either.

“I really do want to be a volleyball coach,” she said. “I can play in outdoor leagues, but coaching would be nice. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Perkiomen Valley's Cayla Veverka passes to a teammate during Wednesday's match against Southern Lehigh. (Barry Taglieber - For The Mercury)
Perkiomen Valley’s Cayla Veverka passes to a teammate during Wednesday’s match against Southern Lehigh. (Barry Taglieber – For The Mercury)

Veverka began playing volleyball back in seventh grade at the CYO level.

“I was tall,” she said. “So people told me to go play volleyball, and I continued on from there.”

Scheeler was proud to be part of the whole scenario during his first year in Graterford.

“It’s exciting for the whole program,” said Scheeler. “It doesn’t happen often. So when it does, it’s great. It is a nice situation to walk into. I have a player of Cayla’s ability who are willing to learn. It is Cayla and the other girls. It’s a great situation.”

Veverka is joined in the usual starting lineup by Corcoran, senior Emilia Leyes, senior Emily Oltman, junior Adrianna Lattanzi, Min and sophomore Helena Clauhs.

“They mesh very well together,” said Scheeler. “Things are coming together. It is still early in the season. There is plenty of room for improvement. Slowly but surely, we are making steady improvement. All i want to see is that improvement.”

The Vikings have some big matches on the horizon. But Scheeler wants them to take one game at a time and focus on what has to be done for each match.

As Veverka has drawn closer and closer to 1,000 kills, the anticipation has increased with the same proportions. So to have the day fulfilled and the major accomplishment reached is somewhat of a relief so that now PV can move ahead with the remainder of the campaign.

“We have been counting it down with it going the last three or four games,” said Scheeler. “Now it is over. It is a great accomplishment, but to have it done is good. It’s over, and now she can focus on other things. But it was a big goal for her. All the credit to her. She would not be going on to play at the Division I level if she did not have the work ethic and mentality. She will be very successful there.”

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