Senior Opposite Hitters Patelin Nowak and Hannah Bowens are not necessarily the names you see in the paper all the time when it comes to the state finalist North Penn-Liberty volleyball team. Yet, their importance cannot be overstated. These two fill crucial front row defensive roles for a North Penn Liberty team that has a much-improved block this year.

“Hannah and Patelin are not only talented players, but two of the most positive players on our team. They are true team leaders who play at all times with at team mentality. Due to the nature of the (opposite hitter) position, they are, statistically, not set as much, but always step up to perform for us when it matters,” said Head Coach Jennifer Nawri. “They are always ready when that chance comes and often get the kill or block to change the momentum of the game. They are two of our most vocal is supporting others, giving tips or advice to younger players, and cheering on their teammates. It has been such a pleasure to watch these two grow as players over the years to see them now as a vital part of this amazing team.”

For Bowens, she was a returning starter this year but wanted to be more consistent and have more of an all-around impact. That was on display when she contributed in one of the biggest points of the NPL season Tuesday night in the semis when she had a diving dig and finished the point off with a kill to put the Mounties up 23-21 in the first set.

I’ve worked hard on being smarter with the ball every chance I get it, and really making sure I don’t have a lot of errors… At the point in the set with being so close I felt very nervous. But I knew exactly what I had to do to get the point and gain our momentum back. I was watching to try and see where the open spots were during the entire rally, and as soon as I got the set I was ready. It was a very exciting moment for me,” said Bowens.

Nowak did not start last year and she was determined to take the open spot.

“I learned a lot last year about the game, and a lot of that came from watching and practicing with such a talented team. While that was rewarding, it just made me want to play with them even more,” Nowak said. (Finding out she was going to start) was a great feeling. “I’d been playing for years and that was the moment that I knew it was my time to begin to contribute on the court. Everything I worked for was right there in front of me.”

The bond between the two is really strong.

“I think Hannah and I have a pretty special bond. We aren’t the names you read in the paper all the time, but we believe that every role on the court is important,” Nowak said.

If the Mounties are to capture their first state title Saturday, don’t forget about the role these two seniors have played in it.