The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 7, 2012

Taylor Freeman is the Athlete of the Week

JOHNSTOWN — Name: Taylor Freeman

School: Penn Cambria

Year: Senior

Sport: Volleyball

Freeman’s week: Freeman, an outside hitter, hit 19 kills and added 16 digs in helping Penn Cambria defeat Philipsburg-Osceola 25-12, 16-25,

28-26, 25-18 in the District 6 Class AA championship match.

It was Penn Cambria’s second district title in three years.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Freeman said. “This year has definitely been awesome. This year, the chemistry of the team has been phenomenal and it’s led us to some really great accomplishments.”

In the semifinals, Freeman had 18 kills and 14 digs as Penn Cambria defeated Ligonier Valley in straight sets.

“She’s just so athletic,” Penn Cambria coach Leah Montgomery said. “She reads the court well. She reads the defense and she’s quick. Most of all, she’s positive. She doesn’t get down and she doesn’t let the team get down.”

Horsing around: Montgomery, who has coached Penn Cambria for 11 years, uses a certain phrase to describe Freeman.

“She jumps like a horse,” the coach said.

It’s something Freeman hears frequently.

“I do hear that a lot, but it’s not something I ever noticed until she said something,” Freeman said. “The girls joke around with me about it all the time.”

The sporting life: Freeman tried her hand at many sports growing up. She played basketball, softball, ran track and even golfed.

In high school, Freeman’s focus turned to volleyball and softball. She’s the starting shortstop for Penn Cambria and her favorite sport depends on the season.

“I had absolutely no knowledge about volleyball when I started playing in seventh grade,” she said. “At first, it was just something to do to stay in condition for other sports.”

A couple of firsts: Penn Cambria won the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference and entered the PIAA Class AA playoffs with a 21-0 record. It marked the first time in school history the Panthers went through the regular season and district playoffs unbeaten.

Penn Cambria’s season ended Tuesday with a loss to Hopewell in the first round of the state tournament.

“The difference this year is we have a good group and they are a team,” Montgomery said. “There’s been no drama or attitude.”

Given all of Freeman’s activities, there’s little time for drama, unless it’s being part of the drama club.

She’s ranked first in her class and is the senior class president. Freeman is a member of the National Honor Society, student council and the forensics club.

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