Mt. Lebanon claims 6th WPIAL volleyball championship
Mt. Lebanon ensured that not all of the WPIAL girls volleyball championships went to teams that previously lacked titles Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School.
The No. 4 seed Blue Devils edged Class AAA finals newcomer Fox Chapel, 3-1, to claim a sixth WPIAL crown. 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.”
No. 3 Fox Chapel (17-3) seemed to peak at the end of Game 1, as the Foxes won the final five points. But Mt. Lebanon immediately shifted the momentum with an 8-2 run to open Game 2.
Neither team thrived for a long stretch in Game 3, which included 17 tie scores. Caroline Grattan scored three of the Blue Devils' final four points to help pull out the win.
Mt. Lebanon charged out to a 5-1 lead in the last game, but Fox Chapel found a way to rally and hang close. The Foxes never tied the score, however, and Alexa Pavlick's two kills clinched the match for the Blue Devils.
Grattan finished with 21 kills. 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.
“We knew coming in this would be our toughest match of the year because they're a lot like us,” Fox Chapel coach Sara D'Angelo said. “They're scrappy, they're defensive. I don't think we were prepared for the back and forth. We like to keep the momentum and go on runs.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.