North Allegheny claims 5th straight PIAA volleyball title

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 3:27 PM


SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP — It is said to never wake up a sleeping bear. By beating North Allegheny in the first game of their PIAA girls volleyball championship match Nov. 20, Parkland might have woken the sleeping Tiger.

North Allegheny rallied to win the next three games to claim its fifth straight Class 4A title 3-1 over previously unbeaten Parkland. The scores were 23-25, 27-25, 25-18 and 25-15.

North Allegheny has been to the championship game the past four years, and experience has played a key role in each of the title games. But having a new coach on the bench is different. Russ Hoburg took over for Heidi Miller this season after serving as an assistant coach for several years with Miller.

“It is not all on me. It is on the work that the kids do all year,” Hoburg said. “We have dropped the first game five times this year, but we really responded well. Jadyn (Perkins) had a rough couple of games early, but she has really turned it up. We have a large group of juniors, and that is good. They have played some of the best teams in the state and have the experience.”

North Allegheny (21-1) fell to Shaler early in the season but responded to beat the Titans three times in the season and postseason, including in the WPIAL championship and PIAA semifinals. North Allegheny dispatched State College and Elizabethtown before beating Shaler, 3-1.

Parkland (25-1) beat Downingtown West, Cumberland Valley and Bishop Shanahan to reach the championship game.

The first game went back and forth as neither team led by more than two points until the Tigers went up 18-15. The Trojanettes rallied to tie 18-18. A well-contested game ended as Parkland was able to score the final three points and win Game 1, 25-23.

North Allegheny ran out to a 13-5 lead in Game 2, prompting a Parkland timeout. The Trojanettes rallied to get within 20-19. The Tigers finally won Game 2, 27-25, on a huge block by Carissa Tresser and Perkins.

Both teams did an excellent job of blocking and digging attempted kills.

The Tigers went out quickly in Game 3, as well. They led 12-7 after consecutive blocks by Maddie Fickess and Mia Tuman. Several points later, the Tigers led 16-9.

“We knew they were going to be good, so we really focused in practice,” Tuman said. “Losing the first game is not new to us, but we fought back. We like to keep them interesting.”

Tuman has three gold medals and will return to go for No. 4 next year.

At 20-13, Parkland started to come back, but a net serve derailed the Trojanettes for a spell. They eventually rallied to cut the deficit to 21-17, but a final point block by Perkins gave Game 3 to the Tigers, 25-18.

North Allegheny ran out to another early lead and extended the advantage to 13-6 in Game 4 before the Trojanettes began their rally. They cut the margin to 15-12.

The North Allegheny stars took over at that point. Tuman had two dinks, Perkins had two big blocks and Tresser ended the match with a kill.

“This fourth medal means more to me because of the work we put in during the offseason,” Perkins said. “Also, because I am a senior. The first game we lost, I think we realized we have to be better at the net, especially the blocking.”

Trojanettes coach Mike Krause added: “We played really well the first two games. We felt we did what we wanted to, and we were right there. We didn’t respond well in the third game, and maybe that is on me. Our seniors are gritty as heck, and they don’t ever give up.”

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