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Penn-Trafford volleyball handed first-round defeat

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

As quickly as Penn-Trafford started in the volleyball playoffs, Chartiers Valley rallied just as rapidly.

An early lead slipped out of the No. 8 Warriors' grasp, and the ninth-seeded Colts took advantage on the way to a 3-1 win in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA tournament at North Allegheny on Oct. 24.

Chartiers Valley won the match by set scores of 25-21, 25-23, 19-25 and 25-20. The Colts advanced to face top-seeded Oakland Catholic in the quarterfinals this Wednesday, after this edition's deadline.

The Warriors ran out to a big lead in the first set, 20-11, but Chartiers Valley came charging back to win 11 straight points, and eventually, take the set by winning 14 of the last 15.

“The first game was, looking back, kind of the turning point,” Penn-Trafford coach Jim Schall said.

“Early in the match, we were playing well and went up 20-11, but they had their best player go serve, and she hit 11 good jump serves in a row. We finally got the ball, but we gave it right back and they scored four more.”

The second game played out like the first, but to a lesser extent, and the Warriors had a chance to win with the score tied, 23-23. Despite falling behind, 2-0, P-T battled to take the third set, but the Warriors couldn't steal one more and force a deciding fifth set.

“Overall, I felt like we were pretty good, and we had opportunities to win both of those first two sets,” Schall said. “We didn't handle their serves well.”

The early exit from the postseason aside, this year will go in the books — and on the gym wall — as a good one, with the team claiming its second consecutive Section 1-AAA title.

“I'm proud of how the team did throughout the season,” Schall said. “It's disappointing to lose in the first round, and the girls were very disappointed. It was a pretty abrupt end to a really good season.”

The Warriors have lots of talent coming back next year, including setter Taylor Solo and outside hitter Maria Palarino, which makes three section titles in a row a possibility.

“We have more returning players next year, and now, they have the experience of going through the grind of a regular season,” Schall said. “This year, they saw how they need to play at a high level in every match, throughout the year.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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