The East Palestine High graduate was ranked third in two categories this past season.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. -- Although only 5-foot-9, Allison Mohr plays volleyball like a 6-footer for Robert Morris College.
And despite a backup role at middle hitter, the sophomore from East Palestine High produces big numbers.
Mohr, playing in only about half of Robert Morris' 37 matches this past season, ranked third on the team in two categories: blocks (40 for 0.63 per game) and a career-best hitting percentage (.267).
In the process, she helped the Colonials to shatter school and Northeast Conference records for most wins in one season with 30 against seven losses, breaking the previous mark of 21 victories set in 2000.
3 titles in row: Robert Morris went 28-6 in the regular season and then won the NEC tournament championship for the third straight year to earn its third straight trip to the NCAA Division I national meet, where the Colonials lost their opener to Ohio State.
Over the last three seasons under coach Tim Horsmon, Robert Morris has a 70-38 record.
And Mohr has been part of this success the past two seasons -- because she can jump high.
"Even though I'm only 5-9, because I have this high [23-inch] vertical jump, I still get blocks," said Mohr, who appeared in 64 games and also contributed 99 kills and 240 attempts. "My coach will put me in to get a block, [and] I usually get one. I usually just play front row. You can't get them [blocks] in the back."
But she doesn't start because she is playing behind a taller player.
"There is a girl that is 6-4 [freshman Rachel Leitch], and for hitting purposes she is a lot taller," Mohr said. "She is exceedingly taller than most players in our conference. She is really taller to hit over anyone, so it's more of an advantage.
"If I would go in, I would have a reason for going in," she added. "He [Coach Horsmon] would put me in to get a block. I [would be] put in to capitalize on my strengths, basically."
Learned to jump: Mohr learned to jump high in high school while playing basketball and volleyball.
"I did a lot of jumping in high school and I also used Dick Hartzell's Jump Stretch," she said. "I went to [Hartzell's gym] when I was in high school. We went [there] for volleyball a little bit, and I even have one [Jump Stretch] at home."
Mohr credits much of the team's and her success to Horsmon's laid-back coaching philosophy, which calls for putting a lot of the responsibility for players' development in their own hands.
"He has overall control, [but] he puts a lot of our [practices] in our hands. We are basically in charge of our own practices," said Mohr, one of four sophomores on the team.
"If we want to succeed, it's our choice. So he wants it to be our responsibility," added Mohr, who sees destiny in her own hands.
"It's made me realize that what I put into it is what I will get out of it," said Mohr, who is looking forward to spring training and is optimistic for next season.
She expects to play more because junior Katie Noble, the team's No. 1 middle hitter and NEC Player of the Year, will be studying in Ireland for the spring semester and will miss spring training.
In addition, Leitch will be shifted from the middle to the right side this spring, making Mohr No. 1 in the middle.
Leitch and Noble were 1-1 on the team in blocks and hitting percentage. Leitch had 94 blocks (.78 a game), while Noble had 76 and (.72). In hitting percentage, Leitch was .364 and Noble .322.
Good grades: Mohr, the daughter of Vicky and Gary Mohr, has a 3.5 grade-point average as a major in marketing and is considering a career in advertisement.
She is one of 30 Robert Morris student-athletes to make the 2001 NEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, six of them volleyball players. The other five are Noble, Karla Barhorst, Michelle Bartlett, Ashley Laughlin and Katie Radford.
While at East Palestine High, Mohr played four years of volleyball under coach Jen Miller and three years of basketball under Dan McKinstry and Liz Parker Sherry.