2019-2020 Game Summaries
by Jonathan Spina
For the third straight year, it came down to North Allegheny and Bishop Shanahan. After defeating Bishop Shanahan 3-0 in 2017 and 2018, things were a little closer in 2019 but the Tigers came out on top, 3-2, by set scores of 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 12-25 and 16-14. It was North Allegheny’s sixth state championship in girls volleyball and the third in a row. Coach Heidi Miller became the second coach in North Allegheny volleyball history to win three straight state championships. The first, her father-in-law Bob Miller from 1992-1994. This is only the sixth time in PIAA girls volleyball history that a school has won three or more state championships in a row.
The first set was not the cleanest as both teams looked to have some championship game jitters. Numerous unforced errors hampered both teams in set one. Near the end of the set, Yale commit Cara Shultz got into a rhythm for the Eagles of Bishop Shanahan and they were able to take the first set, 25-19.
In the second set, the Tigers found themselves down basically the entire set. Besides a brief 1-0 lead, the next time North Allegheny was ahead was when the set was 22-21. Abby Miller and Paige Miller were able to get the last three points in the set and the Tigers tied the match score at 1-1 by winning the set, 25-22. Abby Miller had four kills and a block in the set.
The third set was all Tigers as they jumped out to an early 7-3 lead and never looked back, ultimately winning the set 25-19. Serving was a huge part of this set as North Allegheny had the Eagles scrambling. Paige Miller and Rebecca Pilotta picked up aces in the set.
Set four was dominated by Bishop Shanahan’s serving as the Eagles jumped out to a 19-7 lead and won the set 25-12. At one point in the set, Cara Shultz had four consecutive aces. Paige Morningstar paced the Tigers in this set with three kills and an ace of her own.
The fifth set was as tight as it could get. After the Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead, no one had a bigger lead than two points the rest of the match. There were five ties and six lead changes in the fifth set. With the score tied 14-14, Morningstar was able to dump the ball in between the Bishop Shanahan defense to give NA a 15-14 lead. Abby Miller, the 2018 Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year, put a well-placed shot into the right corner of the gym for the state-title winning point.
Abby Miller had 12 kills and 14 digs, and for her efforts she was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Madison Curran had nine kills for the Tigers. Paige Miller had eight kills and two aces while Morningstar had seven kills, 12 digs and an ace. Malia Duffy was huge in the back line for North Allegheny with 11 digs.
The Tigers finish the season with a 23-1 record. Bishop Shanahan finishes as state runner-up for the third year in a row and caps the year with a 23-1 record as well. Congratulations to Coach Heidi Miller, her coaching staff and the entire Lady Tigers volleyball team for another memorable season.
Girls Volleyball Summary vs. Bishop Shanahan, 11-17-19
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The two-time reigning PIAA champion North Allegheny girls’ volleyball team continued its quest for a three-peat on Tuesday night with a 3-1 victory over Landisville Hempfield in the Class AAAA state semifinals at Altoona High School. The Tigers won by set scores of 25-23, 25-15, 21-25 and 25-9. It’s the second straight match the Tigers have knocked off a previously unbeaten team.
North Allegheny and Hempfield, the District 3 champions, played a hotly contested first set that ended on a Mia Tuman kill, giving the Tigers a 25-23 victory. The NA defense thwarted the Black Knights at every turn with the help of libero Malia Duffy, who posted 17 digs on her way to Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.
In the second set, Hempfield committed numerous hitting errors and the self-inflicted wounds were capitalized on by the opportunistic Tigers. Senior Hannah Phillips notched a pair of kills in the set and totaled a team-high nine kills on the night. Sophomore Rachel Burton capped the set with a kill as NA rolled to a 25-15 win.
It appeared North Allegheny might sweep Hempfield and built an 8-4 lead in set three. However, the Black Knights rallied back on the strength of senior outside hitter Claire Flood. Trailing 15-11, Flood sparked a 7-0 run with a kill and three aces to pull Hempfield ahead, 18-15. Despite the efforts of NA senior Abby Miller, who tallied four kills in the set, the Black Knights prevailed, 25-21, to force a fourth set. Miller concluded the evening with eight kills.
Set four was complete domination by North Allegheny as a barrage of big swings pummeled Hempfield en route to a 25-9 victory, vaulting the Tigers into the PIAA championship. Tuman capped the fourth set with a match-ending kill.
Also contributing to the win were Paige Morningstar, Madison Curran and Tuman with six kills each. Burton tallied a team-best four blocks. Morningstar added 19 digs on defense.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 21-1 overall and will face Bishop Shanahan for the Class AAAA state championship for the third straight season. The Tigers swept the District 1 power the last two seasons in the title tilt. The PIAA championship game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Volleyball Summary vs. Landisville Hempfield, 11-12-19
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by Jonathan Spina
It was a rematch of last year’s PIAA Quarterfinal between North Allegheny and State College and the result was exactly the same, a Tiger victory. The Tigers advance to the PIAA Semifinals for the third straight season sweeping State College, 3-0.
The first set set the stage for the Tigers as they trailed 23-17 but were able to fight back to win the set 26-24. After stealing the first set and taking the momentum from State College, North Allegheny rolled in the second and third sets winning them both by a score of 25-19.
Hannah Phillips paced the Tigers with nine kills, while Abby Miller had seven. Paige Morningstar had six kills and eight digs and for her efforts, earning Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors. Malia Duffy was great in the back line and serving as she had 11 digs and two aces, while Paige Miller had four aces.
State College’s season ends once again at the hands of the Tigers, finishing with a 20-1 record. The Tigers improve to 20-1 and will advance to the PIAA Semifinals where they will take on Landisville Hempfield, the District 3 champion. Hempfield has a 21-0 record and is coming off of a 3-0 victory of their own against Unionville. This game will be Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. You can hear that game right here on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Volleyball Summary vs State College, 11-9-19
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In a rematch of the 2018 PIAA First Round matchup, the Tigers got back to their winning ways once again defeating McDowell 25-12, 25-17 and 25-11. The Tigers used great serving, picking up seven aces and dominated at the net all night long.
The first set saw North Allegheny jump out to a 6-1 lead and never look back ultimately taking the set 25-12. The Tigers had four aces in the set, three by Paige Miller and another by Caroline Curran. Hannah Phillips and Madison Curran dominated at the net combining for eight kills.
In set two, McDowell was much more competitive but it was a 25-17 win for the Tigers. Jadyn Perkins, who was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game, had three kills and three blocks in the set. The third set was much of the same as the Tigers finished off the Trojans winning 25-11. Paige Morningstar picked up four kills in the set while Miller had two kills and an ace.
Morningstar paced North Allegheny with 10 kills, 10 digs and two aces. Phillips finished with six kills and Madison Curran had four kills. Abby Miller finished with 14 digs while Malia Duffy had eight.
The Tigers improve to 20-1 and advance to the PIAA Quarterfinals for the third straight season. McDowell’s season ends with a 14-5 record. North Allegheny will take on State College, the District 6 champions with a 19-0 record on Saturday at a site and time to be determined. The Tigers defeated State College 3-1 in the 2018 PIAA Quarterfinals.
by Jonathan Spina
North Allegheny fell in a five-set thriller in the WPIAL Class AAAA Championship 25-11, 23-25, 26-24, 17-25, 13-15 against Canon Mac on Saturday night. The loss snapped an incredible 65-game winning streak. The Lady Tigers last loss came in the 2016 WPIAL Quarterfinals against Baldwin, a contest that also went five sets. The win streak included two section titles, two WPIAL titles along with two state titles. During the run the Lady Tigers only dropped 17 sets and went to five sets just twice. It was one of the most dominant runs in PIAA history.
The first set was all Tigers where they had leads of 7-2 and 18-8 before winning the set 25-11. The second set went to the Big Macs 25-23. The third set saw the Tigers come back from down 17-13 to tie the game at 18-18 and then eventually won the set 26-24. The fourth set was dominated by the Big Macs who won the set 25-17. In the fifth set the Tigers fell behind 6-0 early on, fought all the way back to take an 11-10 lead but then fell 15-13.
Paige Morningstar had 14 kills in the match and for her efforts, she was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Abby Miller stuffed the stat sheet tonight with 11 kills, 19 digs and two aces. Hannah Phillips had 11 kills and Malia Duffy had 28 digs.
Even though the win streak is over, the season is not. North Allegheny will take on the District 10 champion, Erie McDowell on Tuesday in the first round of the PIAA Playoffs. Site and time to be announced. You will be able to hear this game right here on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Volleyball Summary vs. Canon Mac, 11-2-19
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