North Allegheny notebook: Tigers earn postseason volleyball honors

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Saturday, June 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM


North Allegheny was well-represented on the All-WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball team.

The Tigers, who entered the PIAA tournament with an 11-4 record, had five players honored last week.

Seniors Varun Kaveti and Jax Wilhite, a middle hitter and outside hitter, respectively, were named to the first team.

Junior setter Nicolas Carioto was a second-team selection, and junior libero and junior right-side hitter Stone Gaertner was third-team picks.

Tigers fall to Shaler in WPIAL final

North Allegheny’s quest for a sixth straight boys volleyball championship fell short May 25 when the Tigers dropped a 3-0 decision to Shaler in the WPIAL Class 3A championship match at Peters Township.

Game scores were 25-12, 25-22, 25-19.

North Allegheny saw its WPIAL title streak halted, but the Tigers’ state championship streak is intact at four straight. The Tigers were to begin their quest for a fifth in a row against the District 3 runner-up June 6.

Shaler swept NA in section play. A fourth meeting between the teams would come in the state semifinals June 13.

“With everyone on the team as fully invested as they are, there’s a lot of hurt there that we weren’t able to win it,” Tigers coach Dan Long said. “But we have the chance to continue to compete in the state tournament, and everyone will be 0-0. It doesn’t really matter what happened up to that point.

“We could see Shaler again, but we have to earn it. We’re going to have a very tough matchup in the first round. … But we’ve had success in tournament play against those teams, so we have a chance to continue our stretch.”

In the WPIAL championship, Wilhite had 10 kills, and Kaveti finished with nine kills for the Tigers.

“Shaler blocked incredibly well,” Long said. “Their hitters were on. (Shaler’s Logan Peterson) was unstoppable. Going into his last swing, he didn’t have an error. His only error came on match point. Twenty-three or 24 kills with just one error is incredible. No one does that.

“We just couldn’t start any of the sets with any momentum. We were down five, six or seven points, and then we tried hard to dig out of it. We had good stretches of play through the middle and late parts of the set, but when you are starting at 7-1 or 6-1, you’re racing to 25, and they’re racing to 19. It makes the situation against a really good team like Shaler that much more difficult. They felt like a juggernaut tonight. Everything they did, they did well.”

Track and field athletes shine at PIAA meet

North Allegheny senior Alaina Fantaski followed up her WPIAL championship effort by taking second in the javelin at the PIAA Class 3A championship meet May 27, at Shippensburg University.

Her throw of 143 feet, 3 inches broke a school record (Missy Cekan, 2001, 134-8).

Sophomore Robin Kucler also set a North Allegheny record when she finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run in 10 minutes, 21.38 seconds (Clara Savchik, 2017, 10:21.65).

North Allegheny athletes earned four other medals at the state meet.

Sophomore Wren Kucler was fifth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600. Sophomore Isabella Costa took fifth in the long jump and sophomore Jack Bertram was eighth in the 3,200.

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