North Allegheny captures 3rd straight PIAA boys volleyball title

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Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 5:51 PM


STATE COLLEGE — North Allegheny took the team approach and rolled through Central Dauphin, 3-1, to win a third consecutive PIAA Class 3A boys volleyball championship Saturday at Rec Hall on the Penn State campus.

North Allegheny dropped Game 1 but rallied to easily win the final three games by scores of 27-29, 25-15, 25-14 and 25-16.

The defending champion Tigers (18-0) had lost only four games all season, including three games to Seneca Valley over four matches.

“I thought we were a bit tight in the first game. Several calls went against us, but we just talked about being loose and playing our game,” North Allegheny coach Dan Schall said. “We knew we were going to be in for a battle, and when we went down a game, they weren’t fazed because we have been through a lot of adversity.”

District 3 champion Central Dauphin (18-2) battled, but once the Tigers turned to the blocking game and defensive game, the match was decided.

North Allegheny led 24-21 in Game 1, but the Rams battled off the deck to stave off three set points and win the first game 29-27. Poor service and several net calls hurt the Tigers in the first game.

“We just needed to be low, set and ready for our defense to get the digs for our offense,” senior libero Peter Carioto said.

NA jumped out to a 10-6 lead thanks to their blocking abilities on the Rams hits. They totaled seven blocks in the contest, tying the match 1-1. Seniors David Sanfillipo, Garrett Hrvoich and Gavin Owens combined for those blocks.

“Our practices are so tough, and this team is so tough because of the guys who didn’t see the court today but work so hard in practice,” Sanfillipo said.

The Tigers jumped out to an 11-6 lead in Game 3 and controlled the net, allowing minimal opportunities for the Rams as senior Timmy Ditka and junior Cole Dorn took over the hitting and blocking duties.

In Game 4, North Allegheny trailed early but rallied to take a 13-9 lead. Central Dauphin rallied to get within 16-14, but the Tigers ran off six points to extend the lead and take the game.

“For us, coming up through the North Allegheny history behind some of the best players ever, we got a chance to see what it takes to win titles,” senior outside hitter Luke Constantakis said.

It was the Tigers’ 65th straight victory and eighth state championship in program history. North Allegheny has played in the title game 18 times.

“For this team, nobody cares about who gets the credit or who gets the most kills,” Schall said, “They only care about winning and giving North Allegheny the credit.”

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