WPIAL Girls Volleyball Semifinals Thursday Recaps 2010

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Thursday, November 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM


A couple of teams barely broke a sweat in advancing to the district finals while others were locked in a titanic struggle to move on and play for gold. Here are the recaps from all six Semifinals matches from Thursday night in the 2010 WPIAL Girls Volleyball Semifinals as the top two seeds in all three classifications were victorious.

Thanks to Mike Azadian, Jonathan Whaley, Josh Rowntree and Sam Hall for their help on these recaps.

WPIAL CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:

Pine-Richland Rams 3 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 0
At North Hills High School in WPIAL Girls AAA Volleyball Semifinals action the number one seed, and undefeated Pine-Richland Rams had an easy victory over 4th seeded Upper St. Clair Panthers by a 3-0 score. The Panthers would lead in every game 1-0, but the Rams always tied it at 1-1. The Panthers behind Maggie Slowey hung around and played tough, but never got on any offensive runs. The Rams however had their way as they cruised to a 25-10 first game victory. They did everything right. Perfect sets, great offensive kills, diving back court defense, and tremendous front court net defense. The Panthers managed only 2 points in a row twice in the first game. Julia McCabe was an offensive force at the net repeatedly slamming shots at the Panthers defense. They simply couldn’t contain her. The second game would turn out 25-20 as The Panthers managed to get some offense going, but never could handle the serving of Pine Richland’s Caitlyn Sciosia. They kept it close at trailing only 13-12 but the Rams scored 7 of 9 to go up 20-15 on the way to the victory. Again McCabe was phenomenal at the net as the Panthers had no answers for her. With Hanna Muzzonigro setting her up she just couldn’t miss on kill attempts. Game three ended it all as the Rams won easily 25-14. Kara Peters and Bela Morelli (who had the Pine-Richland students sing happy birthday to her) provided a spark along with McCabe. At 23-12 and the game out of reach the Panthers defense stopped McCabe two straight times at the net to take the score to 23-14. This was the only time all night they stopped her. The next two points McCabe showed how tough she was as she didn’t let the Panthers defense have the last say as she blasted home two straight kills to send the Rams to 14-0 overall and to the WPIAL finals on Saturday evening at 6:00pm at Franklin Regional High School to take on the Seneca Valley Raiders, their section rival, a team they have defeated easily two times this season. Upper St Clair finishes a great season at 13-2.

Seneca Valley Raiders 3 – North Allegheny Tigers 0

In Girls WPIAL AAA volleyball action at North Hills High School, the Seneca Valley Raiders defeated the North Allegheny Tigers by a score of 3-0 to advance to the finals on Saturday at 6:00pm versus the Pine Richland Rams. In game one it was a battle as there 16 ties, and no team led by more than three points all game. Each team had mini runs and the lead would change hands 7 times.The game would go into win by 2 points as it was tied at 25-25. The Raiders Cate Seman had 7 kills and was a force in helping Seneca win game one 29-27. The excitement would continue into Game 2 as the Tigers led early and seemed to be the better team. There were 6 lead changes but costly errors and the Raiders inspired play brought the score to 13-13. Seneca took over with terrific back court defense by Alyssa Dimaria as she dove all over the court to save points for her team. Meghan Drambell took over on offense for the Raiders as they would hold the lead the rest of the way and go on to win game two 25-23. Tremendous setting, front court defense and pressing offense enabled the Raiders to win. Into game three Seneca came out for the kill and led early 3-0, The Tigers fought and brought it to 5-3 as they forced the Raiders into numerous errors. Then Seneca had a run, they would score 9 of 11 points to take a 14-5 lead. North Allegheny fought but the Raiders behind Seman’s strong net play and Alex Karika’a strong setting and defense would lead the Raiders to a 25-17 third game victory and the sweep. In the end Seneca Valley proved too tough al around as they forced the action and took advantage just enough in the first two games to win and set up the easy third game victory.

WPIAL CLASS AA SEMIFINALS:

Indiana Little Indians 3 – West Allegheny Indians 2

There will be a new WPIAL Class AA girls volleyball champion this year.  The defending back-to-back WPIAL Champion West Allegheny Indians had a two sets to none lead and appeared to be firmly on their way to a return trip to Saturday afternoon’s title match.
Unfortunately, no one told that to the top seeded Indiana Little Indians (15-0).  They got up off of the floor and authored a dramatic 3 games to two comeback win over the fifth seeded Indians.  West Allegheny never trailed in the first game and their strong serving led by senior, defensive specialist, Katelynn Long and junior, outside hitter, Jaclyn Placha kept them comfortably out in front in winning the first set, 25-20.  The second set was more of the same as West Allegheny went out in front early and held advantages of 18-10 and 21-14 until a late push by Indiana got the Little Indians within (3) points at 23-20 and 24-21 before West Allegheny’s Placha ended the set with a powerful kill, 25-21.  Instead of folding, Indiana with a large number of players on their roster who withstood the pressure of the PIAA girls basketball playoffs last season on their way to making it to the PIAA finals showed their mettle.  Indiana took a (5) point lead at 15-10 in the third game and remained in front until West Allegheny dug in and rallied to even the set at 21-all.  The Little Indians tallied 4 out of the last 5 points in the game to stay alive with a 25-22 win.  Indiana broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth game to go ahead 5-2 and built their advantage to 17-10.  West Allegheny fought back behind a big Placha kill and a pair of Long aces to move within 17-14.  However, Indiana did not whither from the pressure and maintained between a (2) point lead 18-16 and (5) point margin 24-19 before winning the set 25-21 and sending the match to the dramatic and thrilling “short” game.  Suddenly, the defending champions found themselves in a short amount of time going from a quick victory and a trip to the WPIAL final to seeing their two-year reign at the top of the AA class in WPIAL girls volleyball on the cusp of ending. The Little Indians were a confident squad when they came onto the court at the start of the decisive fifth set.  They recorded the first three points of the set and never trailed.  West Allegheny tied Indiana (4) times in this crucial game, the last at 11-11 following a thunderous put down by junior, outside hitter, Morgan Seybold but the Indians could never get on top of the Little Indians when they absolutely had to do so.  Indiana completed their stirring comeback by scoring (4) of the matches final (5) points to put an end to the West Allegheny reign.  Several players came up large for Indiana in this win.  None more so than their senior, outside hitter, Leslie Stapleton who seemed to be everywhere digging out balls, attacking from the flanks and doing well behind the service line.  Leslie will be playing college basketball next season for Indiana University of Pennsylvania but she is a standout player on the volleyball court. Stapleton’s fellow senior, setter, Haylie Fefolt played a strong game especially in helping to engineer Indiana’s comeback in the final three games.  Also playing very well for Indiana was sophomore, middle hitter, Kaitlyn Palmer who during the intense moments late in this match found a way to tally some big points for the Little Indians behind the service line.  West Allegheny’s (10-4) season is not over.  They will play Hopewell on Saturday at Noon at Franklin Regional High School in the consolation match to decide the third Class AA qualifier from the WPIAL for the PIAA playoffs that get underway on Saturday, November 13th.  The Indiana Little Indians opponent in Saturday’s Class AA Final will be the Freeport Yellowjackets who defeated Hopewell in another heart-stopping five set match tonight at North Allegheny High School, 3-2. The second seeded Yellowjackets lost to West Allegheny last season in the WPIAL Class AA Championship match 3-0.

Freeport Yellowjackets 3 – Hopewell Vikings 2

In a semifinal thriller from North Allegheny High School, the second-seeded Freeport Yellowjackets would eliminate the sixth-seeded Hopewell Vikings from playoff competition with an impressive 3-0 victory. The Vikings, who have one of the most storied volleyball programs in recent history, proved early on why they were better than the sixth-seed given to them. They took the first game by a 25-19 count, appearing to be the clear-cut better team. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the way for the Vikings, recording seven kills in that first game alone. However, the Yellowjackets would come storming back, cruising to a 25-17 victory in the second game. Freeports Anna Christy would shine in the second game, recording four kills and making a number of very intelligent plays around the net. Freeport continued their near dominance in the third game, again sailing to a 25-18 victory and going up 2-1 in the match. Rachel Grubbs would stand out for the Yellowjackets in game 3, recording a number of blocks and six kills around the net. During a nice stretch for Freeport, Grubbs could not be stopped at the net defensively. Just when it seemed Freeport was going to waltz their way into the Championship, Hopewell began to rally. They took the fourth game 25-20 in a streaky kind of way, going back-and-forth with Freeport the whole way. However, they pulled away at the end and tied the match up at two games apiece, Walker-Kimbrough and Isabella Vavrek each recorded five kills for the Vikings, who stole the momentum heading into the fifth game. Momentum would quickly swing back to Freeport however, who started the fifth game by going up 6-1 early. They would make it to 14-6 and sit on match point for five straight exchanges, losing each point. However, Christy would back-tip the ball over the net, find an open spot in the court and send the Yellowjackets to the WPIAL Championship for the second season in a row. Ashley Sample would contribute four kills in the fifth game to propel Freeport to the victory. Freeport got great matches around the net by Sample (14 kills), Grubbs (12 kills), Taylor Schrecongost and Christy (eight kills each), Lauren Frazetta (six kills) and a fantastic defensive effort by Libero Kaiti Pullano. The Vikings, who will move on to face West Allegheny in the AA Consolation match, were paced by Walker-Kimbrough (17 kills), Courtney Kress (13 kills), Vavrek (12 kills) and Monique Smith (six kills), as well as Libero Alexis Rains, who shined defensively all night. The Yellowjackets move to 17-0 and will face the top-seeded Indiana Little Indians in the WPIAL AA Championship at 4PM on Saturday at Franklin Regional High School.

WPIAL CLASS A SEMIFINALS:

Frazier Commodores 3 – Bentworth Bearcats 1

The Frazier Commodores are going to play in the first girls volleyball WPIAL Class A Championship Match in their school’s history after sweeping the Bentworth Bearcats in three sets on Thursday evening at Franklin Regional High School.  The top-seeded Commodores defeated the Bearcats by scores of 25-22, 25-17 and 25-17 to advance to Saturday afternoon’s Class A Title Match where they will face the second seeded Bishop Canevin Crusaders who defeated third seeded Elderton tonight 3-1.  The first set was the most competitive of the match.  It was a back and forth game until Frazier took the lead for good at 14-13 and stayed ahead until the Bearcats fought back to tie the game at 22-22.  Frazier’s talented and athletic senior, setter/outside hitter, Amanda Pato closed out the tight game behind the service line and a 25-22 win. Game number two featured (4) ties before the Commodores grabbed the advantage for good in the second set at 11-10 and won it, 25-17.  In the third game Bentworth held the lead early on until Frazier came back to move ahead, 14-13 and with junior, outside hitter, Megan Manack behind the service line ran off their largest consecutive point run of the match (8) points to effectively take any idea of a Bentworth comeback out of the equation with another 25-17 victory.  Frazier is now 15-0 and the state’s fifth ranked Class A girls volleyball team is one win away from achieving the goal that they set for themselves at the beginning of the season.  Bentworth 14-3 will play Elderton in the consolation match on Saturday at 10:00 am. at Franklin Regional High School for the third WPIAL Class A  playoff spot in the PIAA tournament that begins on Saturday, November 13th.  The Class A Final features a pair of “Terrific 21” Girls Volleyball Program teams in Frazier and Bishop Canevin.  It shapes up as a very exciting and intriguing contest for two teams looking for their first-ever WPIAL Girls Volleyball Title.

Bishop Canevin Crusaders 3 – Elderton Bobcats 1

Bishop Canevin advanced to the single A volleyball championship match with a 3-1 win over the Elderton Bobcats Thursday night at North Allegheny high school. The Crusaders had a battle on their hands from the get go needing extra points to win the first set 26-24. Kevin Walters team got a big night from senior Dana Heidenreich, as well as junior Natalie Medved in the win Heidenreich finished unofficially with 17 kills on the evening while Medved had 14 in the win. But maybe the difference in the match was the tenacity and grittiness on defense by the Crusaders as they extended almost every rally and made dig after dig to eventually just physically wear down the bigger Bobcats. Elderton has a pair of six-footers in Jill Glover and Erin Peirce but the athleticism of Bishop Canevin won out in the end as Katie Oliverio, Meghan Cunningham, and Joie Hrapla just got everything back and the Bobcats just got fatigued down the stretch. Elderton did manage to force a game four with a 25-22 win in game three but they just could not muster the energy in game four falling 25-18. Glover and Paige Baker had big nights for the Bobcats each coming up with 18 kills each but, it was not enough as they fall to 15-2 on the year. The Crusaders remain perfect now at 17-0 and move on to the championship match Saturday to face top-seed Frazier.

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