NA Tops Northeastern in PIAA Quarterfinals, 3-0

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Two storied boys’ volleyball programs locked horns in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon and the North Allegheny Tigers outlasted the Northeastern Bobcats, 3-0, at Altoona High School. The WPIAL champion Tigers defeated the District 3 runners-up by set scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-21.

Looking for a third straight PIAA championship and eighth overall, North Allegheny was taking on a Northeastern team that has amassed nine PIAA championships, including six straight in Class AA from 2013-2018. Having played in two separate classifications for many years, the Tigers and Bobcats have infrequently met in the state playoffs. Not since 2005, when NA defeated Northeastern in PIAA pool play, had these teams faced off in the state tournament. Prior to 2005, the two teams also met in the 1993 PIAA championship, a contest Northeastern claimed by a 2-1 decision.

In Saturday’s contest, these two volleyball heavyweights traded barbs in the early going with North Allegheny leading 7-6 in the first set. Seniors Gavin Owens and Michael Mosbacher sparked a run and the Tigers took seven of the next nine points for a 14-8 lead. From that point on, NA kept Northeastern at arm’s length en route to a 25-18 set one win. Owens totaled four of his eight kills in game one and Mosbacher tallied three of his five kills in the opening stanza.

Northeastern regrouped in the second set and held a four-point lead late in the game. Seniors Brady Lemen and Joel Braswell spearheaded the Bobcats’ attack with three kills each. While Northeastern was seemingly in control, North Allegheny rallied to win nine of the last 11 points to come away with a 25-22 victory in set two. Senior David Sanfillipo keyed the comeback effort with four kills, finishing with a team-high 13 kills and six blocks on the afternoon.

Set three played out in similar fashion to set two, with Northeastern leading most of the way before North Allegheny embarked on a late charge. Trailing 20-19, North Allegheny won six of the final seven points to prevail in set three, 25-21. A block assist by Sanfillipo and junior Cole Dorn capped off the 3-0 sweep of Northeastern. Dorn provided a spirited effort off the bench in the third set with three kills and four blocks.

Defensively, senior libero Peter Carioto led the way with 13 digs and senior Luke Constantakis followed with eight digs. Junior setter Caleb Schall facilitated North Allegheny’s diverse offense with 36 assists, earning Wright Automotive Player of the Match honors.

North Allegheny improves to 17-0 overall and advances to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals on Tuesday night. Northeastern’s season comes to a close with a 27-4 record. As always, the North Allegheny Sports Network will have coverage of Tuesday’s PIAA semifinal at a site and time to be determined.

Boys Volleyball Summary vs. Northeasten, 6-5-21

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