Jax Wilhite Powers NA Past Butler For Section Win

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Atoning for an earlier loss to Butler in the season opener, the North Allegheny boys’ volleyball team earned a measure of revenge on Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory over the Golden Tornado at UPMC Court. The Tigers, the No.2-ranked team in the state, won by set scores of 25-17, 20-25, 26-24 and 25-20.

The opening set was tightly contested and was tied 4-4 in the early going before NA grabbed the lead and steadily increased it en route to a 25-17 win. Senior middle blocker Varun Kaveti led the charge in set one with four kills, on his way to a 14-kill performance.

The second set belonged to the Golden Tornado as the visitors jumped out to a 16-6 lead and staved off a rally by the Tigers for a 25-20 victory. Junior Coleton Welter tallied three kills in game two to help the GT’s prevail.

While the Tigers didn’t win set two, the late rally provided some momentum going into a nip-and-tuck third set. Butler owned the largest lead of the set at 14-10 before North Allegheny coach Dan Long called a timeout. Playing inspired volleyball, the Tigers responded by taking five of the next six points to tie the score at 15-15.  Down the stretch, NA’s Jax Wilhite and Butler’s Welter seemed to match each other swing for swing. In the end, it was Wilhite’s five kills that spurred NA to victory in a thrilling 26-24 outcome. Tied 24-24, Kaveti gave the Tigers the lead at 25-24. A Butler misfire on the ensuing volley gave NA the two-point win.

The powerful swings by Wilhite propelled the Tigers in the fourth and final set as well. NA trailed early, 3-2, before Wilhite took over the contest and scored five of North Allegheny’s first eight points for an 8-5 lead. From there, the Tigers led the rest of the way in a 25-20 victory to cap a 3-1 Section 2-AAA triumph. Wilhite totaled a team-high 19 kills and added 10 digs on his the Wright Automotive Player of the Match honors.

Along with Wilhite and Kaveti, a steady performance was provided by freshman Will Robertson with 10 kills and 19 digs. Juniors Nicolas Carioto and Ryan Quatman both notched two aces each. Carioto facilitated the offense with a team-high 50 assists. On defense, junior Will Hahn posted a team-leading 21 digs.

With the win, North Allegheny jumps to 6-3 in the section, while Butler falls into fourth place with a 6-4 section mark. The Tigers will visit Fox Chapel on Thursday night.

Boys Volleyball Summary vs. Butler, 5-3-23

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