WPIAL girls volleyball finals preview: GCC looks to end Bishop Canevin’s title run

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Friday, November 6, 2020 | 5:05 PM


Greensburg Central Catholic’s girls volleyball team hasn’t been in the WPIAL Class A championship since 2016.

That also happened to be Courtney Stynchula first season as the school’s coach.

If the Centurions want to win their fourth WPIAL title, they must find a way to defeat perennial power Bishop Canevin, which has won the past three championships and has reached the finals eight consecutive seasons.

The championship is noon Saturday at Fox Chapel, with the winner advancing to the PIAA tournament.

During the eight-year span, the Centurions (16-0) defeated the Crusaders twice, in 2014 and ’16.

“I believe this is our season,” Stynchula said after GCC defeated Beaver County Christian in the semifinals Wednesday. “The team has worked really hard.”

The Centurions feature a strong front line of Rebecca Hess, Makenzie Kallock, Grace Petnuch and Julia Kratzenberg. Hess and Ava Bailey also are strong from the service line.

“This has been one of our best years,” Stynchula said. “The seniors and juniors are good groups.”

Top-seeded Bishop Canevin (15-1) suffered its only loss to Upper St. Clair in a nonsection match.

Junior middle hitter Abbie Maziarz had 11 kills and six blocks, senior outside hitter Gillian Golupski added 10 kills and sophomore outside hitter Keira Kozlowski had six kills and two aces in a 3-0 semifinal win over OLSH.

All three players earned first-team all-section honors this fall, along with juniors Sani Jones, Erin LaQuatra and Olivia Thomas.

The Crusaders also swept Mapletown and California in the playoffs. The No. 3 Centurions advanced by defeating Northgate, Eden Christian and Beaver County Christian.

In the other matches:

Class 2A championship

No. 1 North Catholic (14-0) vs. No. 2 Ellwood City (17-0)

3 pm. Saturday at Fox Chapel

Ellwood City will try for its first WPIAL championship, but the top-seeded Trojanettes could have something to say about it.

North Catholic, which defeated Ellwood City in the WPIAL quarterfinals last season, went on to win the PIAA title.

Breanna Reisinger and Danielle McCowin each had 16 kills Wednesday as Ellwood City beat Avonworth, 3-1.

Ally Feczko had 15 kills, and Riley Warda added six in North Catholic’s 3-0 win over Waynesburg in the semifinals Wednesday.

Ellwood City has dropped just six sets all season, three in a pair of wins over Shenango, two to Neshannock and one to Avonworth.

North Catholic has reached the WPIAL finals in three straight seasons — winning in 2018 — and was WPIAL runner-up to Freeport last season.

Class 3A championship

No. 4 Franklin Regional (15-2) vs. No. 3 Montour (14-1)

1:30 p.m. Saturday at Chartiers Valley

Neither of these teams were expected to reach the WPIAL finals, but each pulled a semifinal upset. Franklin Regional knocked off No. 1 Beaver, 3-0, and Montour upended No. 2 Plum, 3-1, on Wednesday.

It will be the first WPIAL finals appearance for the Panthers.

Aly Kindelberger, a DePaul commit, had 27 kills, 10 blocks and six assists for Franklin Regional in the semifinals.

Franklin Regional, which claimed the Section 1 title, also is led by senior setter/right-side Renee Baldy and senior libero Alexa Feorene, who were first-team all-section selections with Kindelberger.

Montour is in the championship for the second time in four seasons. The Spartans lost to Knoch in 2017.

This year’s Spartans are led by four all-section players — seniors Alex Leise and Amber Collins and sophomores Mia Arndt and Raegan Kadlecik.

The Panthers defeated the Spartans in the first round of last year’s Class 3A bracket.

Class 4A championship

No. 1 North Allegheny (14-0) vs. No. 2 Shaler (12-2)

5 p.m. Saturday at Chartiers Valley

North Allegheny, which is playing in the WPIAL final for the fourth straight season, is looking to get back atop the WPIAL ladder after finishing second to Canon-McMillan in Class 4A last season.

The Tigers, who did bounce back to win a third straight PIAA championship last fall, were delayed this season by covid-19 exposure concerns but have been on a run since late September.

They are led by two returning senior all-state honorees: setter Paige Morningstar and Paige Miller.

In a 3-0 win over Moon on Wednesday, Mia Tuman had 14 kills, and Miller had nine. Jadyn Perkins added seven kills and three blocks, and Morningstar had 31 assists.

Shaler is in the WPIAL final for the first time after defeating Oakland Catholic, 3-2. North Allegheny defeated the section rival Titans twice in the regular season, 3-2 and 3-1.

On Wednesday, Shaler was led by Mia Schubert, who had 21 kills; Morgan Gralewski, who added 13 kills; and Tia Bozzo, with 35 digs, 43 assists and three blocks.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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