North Allegheny enters girls volleyball playoffs as dangerous as ever

Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 3:53 PM

Pointing out a 63-match winning streak for the North Allegheny girls volleyball program somehow feels like underselling the Tigers’ story.

The two-time defending PIAA and WPIAL Class AAA champions have labored to stack up victories. When the undefeated, top-seeded Tigers opened the playoffs Oct. 28 against Seneca Valley, they earned their way there.

North Allegheny spent a good portion of the middle of the season playing their fourth-string left-side hitter.

Sophomore Rachel Burton, a middle blocker, was effective filling the role. Paige Miller, the team’s top option, was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Mia Tuman sprained her ankle and Carissa Treser had knee issues.

With all that in mind, North Allegheny finished 16-0 and won its fifth straight section title.

“I was worried when Paige couldn’t swing,” Tigers coach Heidi Miller said. “We were down to our fourth kid in line and she was able to do good things. One of my concerns was that the practice environment was good. We weren’t as deep where we could have kids in various positions on both sides of the net every day.”

Despite the health issues, North Allegheny didn’t have to labor too much. The Tigers only dropped five sets during the regular season and will once again enter the postseason as a heavy favorite to three-peat in the WPIAL.

Heidi Miller doesn’t see this group being affected by the pressure. She would actually prefer for the team to show a little more swagger.

“It’s a matter of knowing that you have a target on your back and that you’ve been here before,” she said. “I don’t think they play with swagger. I think they need more of it. They have a business-like approach to it. Many of these girls have been on the court for these types of situations the past two years.”

Entering the postseason, North Allegheny was set to get Paige Miller back.

That will make the Tigers as dangerous as they typically are.

Heidi Miller doesn’t think North Allegheny will get caught up fitting itself for more rings just yet. But knowing a variety of players saw time for the Tigers was a big lift.

“Everyone feels good about our odds,” Miller said. “But we know with some of the matchups coming up, any team could win any night. I thought Moon was the sleeper team this year and they are on our side of the bracket. If we end up facing them, that could be a good one.”


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