Ambridge Three-Peats as WPIAL Boys Volleyball Double-A Champs

Friday, May 23, 2014 | 12:44 AM

For the third consecutive year, the Ambridge Area boys’ volleyball team claimed the Class AA championship, defeating Derry Area in straight sets 29-27, 26-24, 25-20. The top-seeded Bridgers used a pair of dramatic comebacks to capture the first two sets, and pulled away at the end of the third set to secure the three-peat at Baldwin High School.

Derry Area, the No. 2 seed, led for most of the opening set, and a pair of Matt Vasinko aces helped the Trojans extend to a four-point lead, 19-15. Derry Area eventually had a chance to capture game point, but Ambridge’s Dan Zajac powered through the block attempt of the Trojans to knot the set at 24-24. After the teams exchanged points, the Trojans again had a chance to close it out, but Ambridge pulled even at 27-27, and then took the lead when Nico Latta’s attempt went long for Derry Area. On the ensuing point, Brandon Buck’s kill gave the first set to the Bridgers.

The second set featured another dramatic comeback for the Bridgers, as they overcame a six-point deficit when facing game point against. With Derry Area leading 24-18, Ambridge earned a point to take back service. Derek Kuhn then helped the Bridgers roll off seven straight points on the serve, culminating with a Buck block of Vasinko to notch the second set.

In the final set, the squads played close until the Bridgers took a 15-14 lead that they would never relinquish, eventually pulling away for the win.

Lee Smith, who has committed to play volleyball at Penn State next year, was named the tournament MVP for the Bridgers.

For the fifth straight year, and the fourth time with the title on the line, the Bridgers bounce the Trojans for the playoffs. Both teams advance to the PIAA postseason, which begins next Wednesday.

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