Thomas Jefferson senior libero Moran to play volleyball at Duquesne
She’s been a driving force on defense for the Thomas Jefferson girls volleyball team for three years.
She’s helped spark the Jaguars to consecutive section championships, and to WPIAL and PIAA playoff appearances.
She brings an energy to the court that is channeled to her team and teammates.
Sydney Moran, a highly competitive senior libero, is a three-year starter on the TJ girls volleyball team.
The 5-foot-7 Moran, an all-section selection last season, plans to continue her career at Duquesne as a business major.
“What led me to Duquesne was the campus,” Moran said. “I toured it my freshman year and really fell in love with the city feel, but also being in an isolated area. Plus, I was attracted to the coaching staff along with the competitive atmosphere the program has to offer.
“I intend to major in some area of business, ultimately going to law school to study corporate law. This was one of the things that was attractive about Duquesne. Also, being that this school is in the middle of Pittsburgh, it allows for a great opportunity to get internships. I did consider going to a few other schools, but Duquesne was at the top of my list.”
The Dukes, coached by Steve Opperman, are a top-tier team in women’s volleyball in the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference. Opperman is in his 21st year at Duquesne.
Two former WPIAL netters dot the Dukes’ roster -- junior libero Erin Cunningham (Bishop Canevin) and sophomore outside hitter Maria Mosbacher (North Allegheny).
“Duquesne volleyball has always had a strong team that plays aggressive,” Moran said. “When I went on my official visit, I asked coach Opperman what the team’s mentality is and he said ‘to compete.’ After that, I knew it was a perfect fit for my style of play.”
TJ coach Ron Kelly looks forward to Moran making a positive impact on his team’s 2018 season, as well as in the Duquesne volleyball program.
“Sydney is a very good server. I personally think it is the strongest part of her game,” Kelly said. “One thing about Syd playing the libero position is she is in the back row 11 out of 12 service rotations. Syd is also a very good serve-receiver and great on defense. She reads the hitters well and is always in position to make a play.
“I think Sydney will be ready to be a back-row specialist for Duquense starting her freshman year.”
Moran, 17, owns a 3.8 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, student council, mock trial, AP Humanities, and Interact, French and History clubs.
She also is in her fifth year with the Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball organization.
“I am only dedicated to volleyball right now,” Moran said, “but when I was younger I participated in everything, including, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, track and cheer.
“I have been influenced by many great coaches from high school and club, some of which are Duquesne volleyball alumni. But the person that pushed me the most was my sister, Madison. When I was in sixth grade, I would travel to her club tournaments and would always find an open court to fool around on with my dad. She was a great volleyball player and I learned a lot just by watching her. When I saw her get injured, I realized what she had to give up and how special the sport of volleyball really was.”
Moran and the Jaguars are aiming to clinch a seventh straight section title in 2018, then make a strong push in the playoffs.
“I’m a third-year varsity starter for TJ, and every season I learn to love the game more and more,” Moran said. “Anything I have accomplished throughout my volleyball career I owe to my teammates. Without them, I would not be the player I am today.
“I would also like to thank my parents for dedicating their time on the weekends and driving me to practice. I know it’s not always easy for them to manage, but somehow they’ve made it work and I can never thank them enough.”
The Jaguars tip off the season Sept. 4 at home against Uniontown. Their first tournament action will take place Sept. 15 at Derry.