North Allegheny keeps hopes of PIAA volleyball 3-peat alive

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | 10:45 PM


The North Allegheny girls volleyball team captured PIAA gold the past two seasons, and the Tigers will go after their third consecutive crown and sixth in program history after defeating Landisville Hempfield 3-1 in a Class AAAA semifinal match Tuesday at Altoona High School.

The Tigers improved to 21-1 overall and will face a familiar foe in Saturday’s championship match at Cumberland Valley.

Bishop Shanahan, the District 1 power North Allegheny defeated in title clashes the past two seasons, punched its ticket to the finals with a 3-0 victory over Parkland on Tuesday.

“These girls are a nice mix of kids who have done this before, and they know what it takes,” Tigers coach Heidi Miller said. “They are also pulling some younger kids who don’t know what it’s like up with them. The younger kids are responding to that really well. These girls really want that third state title in a row, and they’ve worked so hard for this opportunity. They know it’s not going to be handed to them.”

Hempfield, which lost in the PIAA first round the past three years, sought its first trip to the finals since 2015 when it finished as the runner-up to Parkland in Class AAA.

The Black Knights ended their season 21-1.

A kill from Mia Tuman capped a 25-23 victory for North Allegheny in Game 1, and the Tigers rolled to a 25-15 triumph in Game 2.

North Allegheny appeared on its way to a sweep with a 14-8 lead in Game 3, but Hempfield rallied. The Black Knights used an 8-1 run to take their first lead of the game at 16-15, and they went on to post a 25-21 win to stay alive.

But that win only prolonged the inevitable as North Allegheny turned up the pressure in Game 4.

The Tigers opened a 10-1 lead and didn’t give Hempfield any opportunity to come back.

Kills from Tuman, Hannah Phillips, Abby Miller and Jadyn Perkins fueled a dominant game for North Allegheny, and Tuman capped the match with a kill for 25-9 win.

“We talk a lot about maintaining focus, finding a lead, finding an edge and keeping it,” Coach Miller said. “In that third game, we lost our focus a little bit and made a number of unforced errors. We stopped talking. I told the girls that in the fourth game, we don’t want it to go long. We want to finish this. We got the big lead and kept the pressure on them. They kept their focus and got the job done.”

Coach Miller said she was happy with another well-rounded effort from her players.

Phillips and Miller led the North Allegheny attack with nine and eight kills, respectively, and Paige Morningstar, Madison Curran and Tuman added six kills apiece.

Rachel Burton led the way with four blocks, and Morningstar and Malia Duffy tallied 19 and 17 digs, respectively.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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