Girls Volleyball Player of the Year: Cherry Hill East senior Sarah Pintel

Pintel re-wrote the record books in 2018, with her 296 kills and 5.6 kills per set breaking the single-season records for the program.

Cherry Hill East senior Sarah Pintel is the 2018 Sun Newspapers Girls Volleyball Player of the Year after setting a program record for kills in a season with 296. Pintel is also the first girls volleyball player in school history to receive a Division I athletic scholarship offer. She will attend George Washington University next fall.

Senior Sarah Pintel’s volleyball career at Cherry Hill High School East may be over, but she won’t be forgotten for quite some time.

Pintel leaves Cherry Hill East holding a slew of program records. After setting the career kills record as a junior, Pintel followed up in 2018 by setting new records for kills in a season with 296 and kills per set with 5.6. Her efforts helped Cherry Hill East to its sixth consecutive winning season and makes her the 2018 Sun Newspapers’ Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

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Pintel’s focus is far from individual statistics or accomplishments. When asked if she knew how many career kills she had, Pintel mentioned she thought she might have gotten a little more than 600. In reality, her final career total was 765.

Pintel also didn’t realize she had set single-season records for kills and kills per set until she sat down with The Sun about three weeks after the season ended.

“Whoa, that’s cool,” Pintel said with a smile after learning about the records.

“It’s definitely really rewarding,” Pintel continued. “I know I could not have gotten to that place without the help of my coaches and teammates the last couple of years. Those people really push me to be the best I can be along with my parents.”

Pintel doesn’t want to take all of the credit for the success she had in her career. She instead talks about the impact head coach Scott Mooney had on her development or the camaraderie she shared with her teammates.

“It starts at practice by pushing each other,” Pintel said. “When we (face) each other at practice, it makes me better.”

“I think, basically, the girls on our team were very nice, hard-working and driven,” Pintel added. “It was easy to come together for a common goal.”

Cherry Hill East senior Sarah Pintel sets up a play for Cherry Hill East during a preseason scrimmage in August.

Cherry Hill East entered the season with high expectations. It was able to have success in the tough Olympic Conference American Division, going 16–7 and finishing tied for second place with Williamstown High School with a 5–3 conference record. Pintel was a major part of the Cougars’ success, with her 296 kills leading all of South Jersey.

One of the highlights of the season for Cherry Hill East came on Oct. 10, as it defeated Williamstown, 2–0, on the road less than two weeks after losing to the Braves in a tight match at home.

“Everything started to click,” Pintel said. “Our team started to work how we practiced it. Everyone was playing well and when we’re playing well, it’s tough to beat us.”

Statistically, Pintel seemed to get better as the season went on. From Oct. 1 on, Pintel recorded nine kills in every game. Her biggest games came in some of the most crucial matches. Pintel tallied 20 kills on Oct. 19 as Cherry Hill East edged Cherokee, 2–1. She followed that up with a 22-kill performance in her final game, a tight 2–1 loss to Ridgewood High School in the second round of the NJSIAA Group IV playoffs.

Pintel admitted the team had hoped to go deeper into the postseason. However, she walked away from the Ridgewood match knowing the team played as well as it could.

“You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some,” Pintel said. “That’s just the nature of the game. When I look back at that game, I don’t have any regrets. I think we all played hard and we played aggressive from beginning to end. That’s all I could ask for.”

Pintel said that as nice as the records and accolades are, those won’t be the things she remembers years down the road when she looks back on her high school career.

“I don’t know, a couple years from now, if I’ll remember every single point,” Pintel said. “But I will tell you, I’ll remember every single girl on the team, all of the memories and the times we spent together on and off the court.”

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