Svehla has grown into her game

October 23, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Brenda and Robert Svehla cannot hear their daughter, Krisha, pound a volleyball, but they can see just how powerful a player the Centennial senior has become.

An All-Metro second-team pick last season, Svehla is the top gun for No. 1 Centennial (15-1). At 6 feet 1 with tremendous upper-body strength, she can hit the ball as hard as anybody in the metro area.

Her parents, who have been deaf since an early age, never miss a match.

"My mom goes crazy. She once fell off the bleachers cheering for me," said Svehla, whose sister, Kara, plays on the Eagles' junior varsity.

4 There has been lots to cheer in the Svehla camp.

Last year, 49 percent of Svehla's hits went for kills as she helped the Eagles finish 22-1 and win their third straight state Class 3A championship. She finished the season with 167 kills, seven shy of team leader Carlyn Cangiano, now playing for Delaware.

Svehla's stats have kept pace this year. Her kill accuracy rate is 46 percent and she has 209 kills.

"Krisha's so reliable," said setter Sheri Kujawa. "She can read blockers, she knows where to place the ball and she has a very high accuracy rate. Any time we need a major point, a side out or just we've really got to fight hard, I know where to send it."

Svehla started playing for the Columbia Volleyball Club after she caught former Centennial coach Bill Shook's eye as a 5-foot-10 seventh-grader.

"I got an idea that here's a kid just looking for a sport and she hasn't discovered volleyball yet," said Shook, now coaching at Mars Hill College in North Carolina. "She was big and awkward and that's usually a good sign. If they're coordinated at that age they're usually going to be awkward later. She was growing fast and getting used to her height."

Now her reputation as a dominant net player belies Svehla's all-around skills.

"Everybody notices Krisha's hitting, and they don't realize what else she can do," said Eagles coach Mike Bossom. "Where I've noticed a big change from last year is in her improved passing. People put her in the mold of being tall and slow and she's not. She's a very good defensive player."

Last summer, she played for the Comets, an 18-and-under team that won the East Coast and Chesapeake Region championships. The team included All-Metro first-teamers Cangiano, Glenelg's Marisa Davidson and Severna Park's Susan Wren, and Svehla has pushed herself to keep pace.

Club competition has helped her most to focus better on the match, she said. A year ago in tight matches, she might break down after a single mistake. Now, she can forget an error and stay mentally in the match.

zTC "I don't get as frustrated," said Svehla. "Having to play against all these tough [club] opponents where you're constantly getting shut down and you have to keep looking for other options, that really helps make you mentally stronger."

With college less than a year away, Svehla is honing in on ways to make her game stronger.

"I'd like to see my ability to hit different shots stronger. Now if I'm playing outside I know I can consistently hit cross court all the time, but I want to work on my line shot. When I'm hitting middle, I want to be able to turn and hit a lot stronger. I think sometimes I'm really tentative."

Several college coaches have shown interest but Svehla, who carries a 3.81 grade-point average, wants to find a school where she can combine volleyball with a marine biology major. She is searching primarily in the Carolinas and Florida.

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