What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 25, 2023: Volleyball, lacrosse powers vie for titles

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 | 10:58 PM

Welcome to Championship Thursday in the WPIAL with gold to be had in boys volleyball and Class 3A boys and girls lacrosse.

Over the last 15 years, the two dominant programs in WPIAL boys volleyball have been North Allegheny in 3A and Ambridge in 2A.

Since 2007, North Allegheny has captured 13 of the 15 Class 3A district crowns. The Tigers have won the last five WPIAL 3A championships.

Since 2008, Ambridge has captured 2A gold nine times in 14 seasons. The Bridgers’ last WPIAL championship was in 2019.

The fact that North Allegheny and Ambridge are back in the finals is no surprise. What is unusual is both teams will be considered the underdogs coming into their respective title matches.

North Allegheny faces top-seeded Shaler in the 3A finals. The Titans beat the Tigers twice during the regular season, 3-1 at NA and 3-0 at Shaler.

Ambridge entered the postseason as the No. 6 seed in the 2A bracket and ousted Derry, No. 3 Seton LaSalle and No. 2 Mars to reach the finals. The Bridgers will play No. 4 North Catholic, fresh off a semifinal win over top-seeded Latrobe.

The Bridgers and Trojans split their two matches in the regular season, each winning at home by scores of 3-2.

Both championship matches are at Peters Township with 2A starting at 6 p.m. and 3A beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

Lebo squared

Like Mars in Class 2A, the Mt. Lebanon boys and girls lacrosse programs have reached the finals in 3A.

The Mt. Lebanon boys battle defending champion Shady Side Academy at Robert Morris’ Joe Walton Stadium at 8 p.m.

The Mt. Lebo girls team takes on top seed Pine-Richland at RMU at 6 p.m.

The Bulldogs are trying to win back-to-back boys crowns and their third championship in program history. The Blue Devils hope to win a fifth boys crown and first since 2015.

Earlier this season, Mt. Lebanon squeaked by Shady Side Academy, 13-11.

On the girls side, the Rams look to win a third lax title after winning back-to-back district gold in 2017-2018. The Blue Devils are trying to win a sixth lacrosse crown and their first since 2016.

Pine-Richland edged Mt. Lebanon in an earlier meeting, 13-12.

Before the two lacrosse title matches, the girls 2A consolation match will take place at 4 p.m. as 2022 district champion Chartiers Valley takes on Quaker Valley with a berth in the PIAA playoffs at stake.

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