By Frank Foreman
2013 Girls Volleyball Player of the Year: Challen Litwiler
School: Conneaut Area Senior High School
Position: Outside hitter
Vitals: Litwiler had a way of leaving a lasting impression on each and every opponent she and the Conneaut Lady Eagles faced in 2013. The 5-foot-8 star finished the season with 300 kills, 248 digs and 45 service aces. She helped lead the Lady Eagles to a share of their second Region 4 title in as many years, the school’s first District 10 team title and just a win away from playing for a state title. For her career, Litwiler, who helped Linesville win a state title and shared Tribune Player of the Year honors with her sister, Amber, in 2011, finished with 1,512 kills, 795 digs and 148 aces.
Season highlights: Litwiler turned in a number of highlights throughout the year. There were a few, though, that really helped set her apart. Remember the Eagles’ match against Meadville at the House of Thrills back on Sept. 17? Ironically, that night Litwiler turned in the fewest number of kills in a dual match for the season. She did her damage elsewhere, namely the service line, where she tallied eight of the Eagles’ 17 service aces on the night. Litwiler actually served three straight aces at one point during the match. She couldn’t be touched. Then there’s the postseason. … In six postseason matches, Litwiler had a double-double in all but two, including a 26-kill, 27-dig performance in a four-set win over Indiana in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
What the coach says: “I guess overall she did a lot of things throughout her career,” Conneaut coach Tim Schleicher said. “But it got a lot tougher for her. Not only with moving up to Class AA the last two years, but she got a lot of attention. Even with all the focus, she really put up a great season and was the go-to player for us. To be able to do what she does when you are getting all the attention from the other team is great.
“Challen is a special special player.”
What we say: From the first time The Meadville Tribune covered Litwiler during a Little League softball game and witnessed a ball leave her bat and travel well over the fence in left field, it was evident she was going to be a star someday. She has not disappointed. Whether it’s basketball or volleyball, Litwiler has proven to be one of the most talented female athletes Crawford County has ever seen. By the end of her career, Litwiler could very well belong to two distinguished lists with 1,000 kills in volleyball and 1,000 points in basketball.