Greensburg Central, Mars capture WPIAL volleyball titles
Mt. Lebanon ensured not every WPIAL girls volleyball championship went to teams that previously lacked titles.
The No. 4 seed Lady Blue Devils edged Class AAA finals newcomer and No. 3 Fox Chapel, 3-1, to claim a sixth WPIAL crown on Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School. After losing the first game, 25-21, they took three in a row (25-13, 25-22 and 25-20).
“Our kids, they don't get real caught up in the big momentum swings that a big kill or run can have,” Mt. Lebanon coach Jeff Schilling said. “Our kids just stay the course. They know they have more games to go, and they're not under the gun. When you can find that relaxed level, it really helps you out.”
Caroline Grattan finished with 21 kills for Mt. Lebanon. Alexa Pavlick added eight, four of which came in Game 4.
Sarah Bradley hit a team-high 12 kills for Fox Chapel. Megan Hollingsworth and Riley Herrmann each had 10 kills.
“I thought we'd really pull through at the end,” Bradley said. “It was really intense. I think that's why we kind of fell off at the end, because it was so intense. We're a really relaxed team, and when we get really tense, we get kind of freaked out. “
Fox Chapel will join Mt. Lebanon in the PIAA playoffs.
“Even though we didn't win, it's just been an incredible experience,” Bradley said.
Mars dethroned the WPIAL defending girls volleyball champion, and the No. 3 seed Lady Planets made the feat look fairly easy.
With a 3-0 win over No. 1 Hopewell, Mars claimed its first Class AA title Saturday at Chartiers Valley. The Lady Planets prevailed by scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-17, and they trailed by two points — their largest deficit — just once in the match.
Hopewell entered the match as the top Class AA team in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association's state rankings.
“We knew we could overpower them because we have so many talented players at so many positions,” Mars coach Dan Mountain said. “We just had to let everyone get their swings.”
Abby Matusik led the Lady Planets with 16 kills. Emily King added 10 kills, and Jaden Zimmer had 12, including Mars' final three points in the match.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Shannon Hurley stood on the volleyball court at Chartiers Valley High School three seasons ago as a freshman starter and accepted a silver medal in the WPIAL Class A finals.
Hurley's career with the Lady Centurions now has a golden hue.
In another memorable experience at Chartiers Valley, the senior outside hitter, a Winthrop recruit, recorded 17 kills as part of the Lady Centurions' overwhelming offense, which fueled No. 1 seed Greensburg Central Catholic to a 3-0 win over No. 3 Bishop Canevin in the Class A championship.
The title is Greensburg Central Catholic's first.
“I just remember my coach (Heather Meyer), telling me, ‘Don't worry. We're going to get a gold medal,'” Hurley said of the second-place finish in 2009. “And now I have one.”
The Lady Centurions, who won by scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-21, attacked from all angles. Senior Emma Dickson and sophomore Leah Bisignani split setting duties, and the duo also found time to combine for 17 kills.
Class AAA consolation
North Allegheny 3, Oakland Catholic 1 — North Allegheny, the No. 2 seed, made a mini-comeback in Game 4 to end No. 1 Oakland Catholic's rally in the WPIAL Class AAA third-place match, which the Lady Tigers won, 3-1, to advance to the PIAA tournament.
Ava Mosbacher (15 kills) and Ashley Leto (16 kills, 2 aces) led the offense for the Tigers, who will play the District 10 champion in the first round of the state tournament 7 p.m. Tuesday at Seneca High School in Erie.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.