NA Falls To Reigning Champion Shaler in WPIAL Title Tilt

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For the second consecutive season, section rivals North Allegheny and Shaler faced off with a WPIAL Class 3A title at stake. The Tigers gave a spirited effort but ultimately dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to the Titans, who earned their second consecutive WPIAL championship. Shaler earned the district crown by set scores of 25-19, 25-23, 19-25 and 25-22.

The two teams split their regular season matches each claiming a 3-1 victory on their home floor. The WPIAL championship was played at Peters Township’s AHN Arena and was hotly contested from the very start.

In the opening set, sophomore Will Robertson and senior Stone Gaertner provided three kills each to lead North Allegheny to a 19-18 lead. However, Shaler used a 7-0 run to capture set one, 25-19. Senior middle blocker Dante Palumbo and senior outside hitter Logan Peterson provided big kills late in the game to power the Titans.

Shaler continued to ride the wave of momentum into set two and built an 18-11 lead before NA started a rally. Robertson hammered out four kills during the Tigers’ comeback bid and NA cut the deficit to one point on four separate occasions. Sophomore middle blocker Peter Bratich peppered the Titans with three kills as well and an ace by sophomore Brendan Moore brought the score to 24-23, Shaler. However, an NA error ended the set and the Titans survived the rally for a 25-23 win.

Trailing the 2-0 in the match score, North Allegheny head coach Dan Long mixed up the lineup and found a spark that ignited a strong third set for the Tigers. Junior Garen White and sophomore Nathan May provided timely kills to give NA some momentum. Tied 15-15, sophomore setter Jackson Failla was the catalyst for a decisive 5-0 run with his serves and accurate passing to give North Allegheny a 20-15 lead. Three kills by Bratich and one more by White capped the set for a 25-19 win as the Tigers forced a fourth set. Senior setter Nicolas Carioto added a pair of aces and finished with three aces on the evening.

In a dramatic and ultra-competitive game four that featured nine ties, Shaler held a 15-10 lead before North Allegheny staged another rally. Deadlocked at 22-22, southpaw hitter Peyton Planz gave the Titans a 23-22 advantage and two hitting errors by the Tigers on the next two points gave Shaler its second consecutive WPIAL championship.

For Shaler, Palumbo led with a game-high 16 kills and Peterson added 11 kills and 11 digs. A spectacular defensive effort by libero Cam Miller with 20 digs prevented North Allegheny from overcoming Shaler on several occasions with the game tied. Setter Zach Rosenwald dished out 36 assists.

North Allegheny was paced by Robertson with a team-high 19 kills and added 12 digs. A consistent force throughout the night, Robertson was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Match.

Additional contributors for the Tigers included Moore and Bratich with eight kills each. Senior libero Will Hahn totaled 33 digs, while Carioto posted seven kills, a team-high 21 assists and chipped in with 11 digs in addition to his team-high three aces. Senior Ryan Quatman totaled 13 assists and Failla followed with 10 assists.

North Allegheny falls to 13-2 overall, while Shaler improves to 16-1. Both teams qualify for the PIAA playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, June 4.


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