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PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF DESALES UNIVERSITY Amanda Wallitsch hopes to reach 2,000 digs by the end of her DeSales career. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF DESALES UNIVERSITY Amanda Wallitsch hopes to reach 2,000 digs by the end of her DeSales career.
PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF DESALES UNIVERSITY Lisa Wallitsch had 524 assists last year as a freshman at DeSales. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF DESALES UNIVERSITY Lisa Wallitsch had 524 assists last year as a freshman at DeSales.

Wallitsch sisters seek conference title

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

Amanda and Lisa Wallitsch spent two years at Emmaus High School playing on the same volleyball team.

The two, who now play on the DeSales University women's volleyball team, are continuing their playing career at the collegiate level.

But that's not where the similarities end.

Both are students in DeSales' Sport and Exercise Science Program. Both have aspirations of ending the Bulldogs' three-year drought to Eastern University in the Freedom Conference championship game. And both are now on the verge of historical careers as members of the Bulldogs' team.

Amanda, a senior libero for the Bulldogs, is looking to end her collegiate career with a conference championship. As for Lisa, she's ready to help her sister and fellow senior teammates achieve that goal.

"That is definitely a goal every year, to go to the finals, and finally come on top of Eastern," Amanda Wallitsch said. "That's our biggest goal this season."

"I'm a big part of the offense in delivering the ball to the hitters," Lisa Wallitsch said. "I really want to work hard for her and all of the other seniors to make this year our winning year, and finally beat Eastern."

Amanda enters her final season approaching the program's all-time leading digs mark. She currently sits with 1,448 digs entering her last season, 650 from tying record-holder Kerri Andrews, a 2009 graduate.

Whether or not that number is out of reach remains to be seen for Amanda, who has been slotted in the libero position since her sophomore year and has at least 550 digs in each of the past two years. But her goal is to approach the 2,000-dig mark when all is said and done.

Her 4.27 dig-per-set ratio ranks third in school history. She also recorded 25 service aces as a junior.

"This year, I'm hoping for at least 500 [digs]," Amanda Wallitsch said. "Then overall I think I would be around 1,900 2,000 digs total."

As for Lisa, who accumulated 524 assists, 331 digs and 33 service aces as a freshman, she's already on the school's all-time list in one category. Her assist mark in 2013 ranks 11th in history, and is just 472 behind senior Brooke Horrigan at seventh place.

"I didn't think it would come over that quick, but I'm happy that it did," Lisa Wallitsch said. "I just want to keep going and do the best I can. I want to keep improving. I don't want to plateau."

Both Amanda and Lisa were also named as Second-Team All-Freedom Conference selections in 2013. It was Amanda's second-consecutive selection, while Lisa's impressive freshman campaign ended with a conference all-star nod.

"I think there is somewhat of a little bit of an advantage because we know how we play," Amanda Wallitsch said of playing on the same team with her sister. "Her being a setter and me being the passer, we can kind of connect in a way where I know where she's going to be on the court."

In addition to their goals on the court, their playing time together over the years has brought them even closer off of the court.

"I also think just playing with a sibling in general brought us closer together as siblings, not just on the volleyball court," Amanda Wallitsch said. "During the season, the whole team is pretty much together. But in the offseason we'll find time to do things together."

Lisa is trying to learn the collegiate ropes as much as she can from her sister while she's there. When she's finished after this season, it'll be the first time in a number of years that Lisa will be without Amanda by her side.

"I know coming in as a freshman, I was depending on her to tell me what to do and the expectations of [head coach] Michele [Zabinski]," Lisa Wallitsch said. "I'm going to miss her when she leaves, but then it's time for me to spread my wings and do my own thing."

As for that elusive Freedom Conference championship, the journey has already began in the offseason training and preseason workouts. The addition of a number of incoming freshman and a transfer has the Bulldogs optimistic going into 2014.

And while both have continued to work on their games in between seasons, the tell-all will come when the season gets underway.

The Bulldogs open with the DeSales Invitational on August 29 and 30 at Billera Hall.

"This preseason has been pretty well," Lisa Wallitsch said. "We're doing a lot of conditioning, which is helping us get stronger, and we'll be able to last through all of the games that we play."