Freeport, Knoch set for PIAA volleyball playoffs

Bill West
| Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

First round Class AA

Freeport (18-1) vs. Hopewell (12-2)

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at North Allegheny High School

Winner plays: Bradford or Fort LeBoeuf

Quick sets: As the WPIAL champion, Freeport gets to stay in the district for the opening round of the state playoffs. It beat Indiana, 3-0, to win the title. Hopewell, the WPIAL's fourth-place finisher, lost to Indiana, 3-2, in the semifinals. … Hopewell and Freeport have become regulars in the PIAA tournament. The Vikings, who made the WPIAL finals in 2012 and 2011, advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals the last two seasons. They also made the state semifinals in 2008 and won the PIAA title in 2004. The Yellowjackets qualified for the state playoffs in 2011, 2010 and 2009 and reached the quarterfinals two out of those three years. … Postseason run-ins between these programs are also becoming routine. Hopewell beat Freeport, 3-0, in the 2011 WPIAL finals. Freeport beat Hopewell, 3-2, in the 2010 WPIAL semifinals. The Yellowjackets won, 3-1, over Hopewell in the 2009 WPIAL quarterfinals. … At 5-foot-10, senior middle hitter Gabby Stala and junior middle blocker Lauryn Driscoll are Hopewell's tallest players and its top offensive threats. … Freeport senior setter Emily Toy spreads the hitting opportunities around, sending the ball toward Alexis Schrecengost, Megan Sweeny, Karlie Hill, Jess Kelley, and Zoe Pawlak.

Knoch (16-3) vs. Conneaut Area (17-1)

8 p.m. Tuesday, at Cochranton High School

Winner plays: Philipsburg Osceola or Indiana

Quick sets: Knoch finished third in the WPIAL, as it lost to eventual champion Freeport, 3-2, in the semifinals. It is in the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2003 and just third time ever. The Knights, who have not won a state playoff game, lost to the District 10 Maplewood in both the 2003 and 2001 tournaments. … Senior Taylor Tabacchi anchors Knoch's defensive efforts from the libero position. Defensive specialist Emily Zilka also possesses a speedy serve. And Katrina Bozzo's versatility allows her to set other hitters as well as finish points herself. … Conneaut Area beat defending state champ Fort LeBoeuf, 3-0, to win the District 10 title. Senior outside hitter Challen Litwiler and senior libero Kim Litwin, both all-state selections in 2012, lead the Eagles, who were No. 9 in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association's latest Class AA rankings, which came out prior to their win over then-No. 2 Fort LeBoeuf. … Conneaut Area Senior High came into existence a year ago, after Conneaut Lake, Conneaut Valley and Linesville — all high schools in the Conneaut School District — merged. Linesville won the PIAA Class A title in 2011.

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