Montour climbs back from brink to defeat OLSH in WPIAL Class 2A volleyball finals

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 | 9:43 PM

Montour boys volleyball coach Colin Vitale was smiling before, during and after the WPIAL Class 2A championship match Thursday night at Robert Morris’ UPMC Events Center.

Vitale, appearing relaxed even when his team was on the brink of defeat in the fourth game, was a ball of joy afterwards with his underdog, third-seeded Spartans having just claimed their fourth WPIAL championship.

Andrew Feely turned in seven kills and Bryce Lizanich registered five blocks as Montour rallied for a pair of victories in the final two games to defeat top-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 3-2, in a best-of-five finals match.

“I owe this all to those boys, every single one of them,” Vitale said, glancing back at the Montour bench, where his players were gleefully gathering their belongings following the medals presentation. “We went deep into our bench and everyone delivered.”

Montour (12-5) survived, despite injuries to several of its key players, overcoming late deficits in two of the five games to win by two points with extended 26-24 scores each time.

The Spartans defeated the Chargers by scores of 26-24, 19-25, 15-25, 26-24 and 15-10.

Even before the match, both teams had qualified for the PIAA playoffs by reaching the WPIAL final.

“I am overjoyed that this group gets to experience that,” Vitale said. “Locking up a seed by making the finals was a boon in itself, but them getting a top spot coming out of the WPIAL, it just means they get to play the game they love even more.”

OLSH (18-2) was within a point of clinching the match and its first WPIAL title in the fourth game but couldn’t hold a 24-23 lead as Montour ran off three consecutive points to post a 26-24 victory and force a fifth and deciding game.

“We could’ve closed out in the fourth. We had two plays at it to win it, and we got blocked both times,” OLSH coach Mike McDonald said. “You’ve got to make the play when you’ve got the opportunity, and we didn’t do that.”

Montour opened the match by outlasting OLSH in the first game, 26-24, before dropping the next two games decisively, 25-19 and 25-15, to give the Chargers momentum heading to the exciting fourth game.

It marks Montour’s first WPIAL championship since 2007. The Spartans also won titles in 1987 and 2000, when the league competed in just one class.

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