2022 PIAA girls volleyball preview: North Allegheny, North Catholic, Freeport chasing titles

Friday, November 18, 2022 | 9:06 AM

Three WPIAL teams will compete for PIAA girls volleyball championships Saturday at Cumberland Valley.

Here’s a look at each game:

Class 2A

York Catholic (23-1) vs. Freeport (22-2)

1 p.m. Saturday, at Cumberland Valley

On the air: Streaming on PCN Select

Seeds: York Catholic 3-1; Freeport 7-1

How they got here: York Catholic beat Parkway Center City, 3-0; Tyrone, 3-0; and Notre Dame GP, 3-1. Freeport defeated Corry, 3-0; Quaker Valley, 3-0; and Philipsburg-Osceola, 3-2.

Coaches: Phil Autrey, York Catholic; Tom Phillips, Freeport

Players to watch: Adeline Phillips, sr., OH, York Catholic; Cassidy Dell, sr., S/RSH, Freeport

PIAA titles: York Catholic 0; Freeport 1 (2017)

Notable: Freeport won in its lone trip to the PIAA championships, defeating Delone Catholic, 3-1, in Class 2A in 2017. The Yellowjackets, who were PIAA Class 3A semifinalists a year ago, dropped down to Class 2A via realignment. They claimed their seventh WPIAL title earlier this month. Freeport is led by four All-WPIAL selections — senior setter/hitter Cassidy Dell, junior middle hitter Josie Russo and junior outside hitter Sydney Selker on the first team and sophomore outside hitter Alaina Whitlinger on the second team. Freeport also got a boost with the return of junior middle blocker Autumn English from injury. … York Catholic rallied after dropping the first set to beat Notre Dame Green Pond, 3-1, in the semifinals. Senior hitters Adeline Phillips and Reese Beck had 19 and 18 kills, respectively, in the win. The Irish are looking for their first PIAA title and making their first trip to the finals.

Class 3A

Pope John Paul II (26-0) vs. North Catholic (19-2)

3:30 p.m. Saturday, at Cumberland Valley

On the air: Streaming on PCN Select

Seeds: Pope John Paul II 1-1; North Catholic 7-1

How they got here: Pope John Paul II beat Carver, 3-0; Twin Valley, 3-2; and Bethlehem Catholic, 3-0. North Catholic defeated Latrobe, 3-0; Hollidaysburg, 3-1; and Thomas Jefferson, 3-1.

Coaches: Ryan Sell, Pope John Paul II; Amanda Fetter, North Catholic

Players to watch: Grace Cooper, sr., L, Pope John Paul II; Ally Feczko, sr., OH, North Catholic

PIAA titles: Pope John Paul II 0; North Catholic 2 (2019, ‘21)

Notable: North Catholic defeated District 3’s Trinity, 3-0, to win the PIAA Class 2A title last year. After moving up to Class 3A via realignment, the Trojans are out to win a second straight crown and third in four years. The Trojans won their fourth WPIAL title since 2018 earlier this month. The Trojans’ only loss came to Class 4A PIAA finalist North Allegheny. North Catholic had four players named to the All-WPIAL team — senior outside hitter Ally Feczko and senior setter Sydnei Jones on the first team, senior middle hitter Katie McNelly on the second team and senior middle hitter Stephanie Lynch on the third team. Feczko, a Lafaytte recruit, has more than 1,000 career kills. Lynch, Feczko and Jones were all-state selections last season. … Pope John Paul II is making its first trip to the PIAA championship after sweeping Quakertown in the its first semifinal appearance since 2012. Pope John Paul II has three returning all-state players — senior libero Grace Cooper and junior hitters Natalie Ricevuto and Hutton Cordrey. Senior outside hitter Maeve Gallagher and Ricevuto each had 12 kills in the semifinals, while Grace Cooper, Cordrey and Gabriella Cooper were strong in the back row. The Golden Panthers have lost seven sets all season.

Class 4A

Garnet Valley (24-1) vs. North Allegheny (21-1)

6 p.m. Saturday, at Cumberland Valley

On the air: Streaming on PCN Select; audio on Trib HSSN

Seeds: Garnet Valley 1-1; North Allegheny 7-2

How they got here: Garnet Valley beat Central York, 3-0; Lower Merion, 3-0; and Parkland, 3-1. North Allegheny defeated State College, 3-0; Landisville Hempfield, 3-1; and Pine-Richland, 3-1.

Coaches: Mark Clark, Garnet Valley; Russ Hoburg, North Allegheny

Players to watch: Maddie Wood, sr., S, Garnet Valley; Mia Tuman, sr., S, North Allegheny

PIAA titles: Garnet Valley 1 (2016); North Allegheny 8 (1992, ‘93, ‘94, 2017, ‘18, ‘19, ‘20, ‘21)

Notable: North Allegheny is playing in its sixth straight PIAA championship match and has won the past five titles in the highest classification. The eight-time champion Tigers also won three straight titles from 1992-94 and lost in the finals in 1984 and 2008. North Allegheny avenged its lone loss of the season by defeating Pine-Richland, 3-1, in the PIAA semifinals. The Tigers lost to the rival Rams, 3-2, in the WPIAL championship match. The Tigers have six players who earned All-WPIAL honors this season — senior libero Caroline Curran, senior outside hitter Ella Deeter and senior setter Mia Tuman on the first team; senior outside hitter Carissa Treser and senior middle hitter Ella Zimmer on the second team; and senior middle hitter Maddie Fickess on the third team. Tuman, an Ohio State recruit, had 12 kills, five blocks, 13 digs and 41 assists in the semifinals. … Garnet Valley is playing in its second PIAA title game. The Jaguars won in 2016 by defeating Parkland in five sets. In the semifinals Tuesday, Garnet Valley rallied after dropping the first set to beat undefeated Parkland, 3-1. Setter Maddie Wood, an all-state selection last fall, had 48 assists in the semifinal win. Her younger sister, freshman outside hitter Sarah Wood, had 33 kills.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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