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VND high school roundup: Leechburg tops Brentwood in WPIAL playoffs

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Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Leechburg's Erin Altmeyer (center) celebrate with teammates Missy Jones (left) and Kassidi Horrell after a preliminary-round win against Brentwood in a girl's WPIAL Class A playoff game Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 11:42 p.m.

Leechburg was one of the last teams in the WPIAL volleyball playoffs, but the Blue Devils will be sticking around for a second match.

Kassidi Horrell had a match-high 11 kills and three aces, and Natalie Geminetti added seven kills to lead Leechburg to a 3-0 win over Brentwood in a Class A preliminary round match Tuesday at Fox Chapel.

Marissa George had a balanced game with five kills, four blocks and three aces, and Tessa Verner added four aces for Leechburg, which won by game scores of 25-21, 25-7 and 25-21. The Blue Devils (7-7) advance to face No. 3 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in a first-round match Thursday.

“It feels great because we haven't been in the playoffs since my freshman year,” Horrell said. “We had a lot of fun on the court tonight.”

After pulling out a tight first set, Leechburg raced out to a 15-2 lead in the second game on eight service points by Verner and six by George. The Blue Devils sealed the match in the third set by scoring nine of the final 12 points to rally from an 18-16 deficit.

Even when trailing during the third set, Leechburg played a confident attacking game, which stemmed partly from facing a familiar opponent.

“When we heard that we were playing Brentwood, the girls were happy because we had played them before,” Leechburg coach Samantha Baker said. “We played them at Kiski (Area's tournament) and took two sets from them. We warned them to be ready for anything, but our girls were confident that they could win this.”

The win is only the second postseason victory for Leechburg since 2005, when the Blue Devils advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

If this year's team is to match that feat, it will need to upset No. 3 seed Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. But coming from Section 1-A, which produced two of Class A's top six seeds — Greensburg Central Catholic and West Shamokin — the Blue Devils believe they are prepared to face another top team.

“We kept up with West Shamokin, so we're ready for anybody,” Horrell said. “We look at it like, ‘Who cares what the other team's record is?' If we come out and play our hardest and play our best, we'll have a chance, and hopefully we can win.”

Kittanning 3, Ambridge 0

Kirsten Wolfe hit 10 kills, Casey Harkleroad had nine kills and four blocks, and Terra Schall added seven kills for Kittanning (11-3), which won the WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round match at Fox Chapel by game scores of 25-6, 25-12 and 25-15. For Ambridge (6-7), Nicole Kuhn had five of the team's 18 kills.

The prelim, Kittanning's fifth in as many years, lasted less than an hour — the Wildcats won each of those five preliminary-round games.

“We usually play this well, and playing against a lot of top teams in the (Norwin) tournament last weekend helped us get a lot of energy out there,” Wolfe said. “Now we just need to get ready for the next game. We're not going to let up at all.”

Kittanning will play No. 3 Thomas Jefferson at 7:30 p.m, Thursday at Thomas Jefferson.

Springdale 3, Jefferson-Morgan 1

Megan Cavanaugh served 16 points for Springdale (10-6) in the WPIAL Class A preliminary-round win over Jefferson-Morgan. The Dynamos, in the playoffs for the first time since 1998, won the match by game scores of 25-13, 25-17 and 25-16. Jefferson-Morgan claimed Game 3, 25-21.

“Their hearts were in it, their serves were in it,” Springdale coach Amy Sigmund said. “They were getting all their passes off. It was everything that we practiced. They wanted it tonight.”

Springdale will play No. 1 seed Bishop Canevin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bishop Canevin.

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