Tigers March To WPIAL Championship For 6th Straight Season
by Jared Barton
For the sixth season in a row, the North Allegheny Tigers boys’ volleyball program has advanced to the WPIAL title game. NA beat Penn-Trafford in the WPIAL semifinals, 3-1, from Fox Chapel Area High School on Tuesday.
Penn-Trafford scored the opening point of set one, but North Allegheny never looked back for the rest of the opening stanza. Junior Stone Gaertner and senior Varun Kaveti were important factors early on with kills to give the Tigers a 6-3 edge. Senior Jax Wilhite recorded five total kills in the first set, while Gaertner had three and Kaveti tallied two. Junior Sam Kinzler ended the set with an ace as the Tigers took the first frame 25-12.
The Warriors kept the scoring close in set two, leading the match 6-4 early on. The Tigers scored five straight points to climb back into the lead courtesy of kills from Kaveti, Gaertner, freshman Will Robertson and junior Nicholas Carioto. Penn-Trafford would keep the set tight, but ultimately North Allegheny took the victory, 25-19. Wilhite recorded a block and eight kills, including the set clincher. Gaertner tallied four more kills while Robertson finished with an ace and a kill. Junior Will Hahn was the master of the dig throughout the night, and also recorded an ace in the frame.
Penn-Trafford earned a hard fought set win in the third stanza 25-21. NA trailed 19-12 in the late stages of the set, but was able to make a late run. Wilhite tallied four more kills.
The Tigers kept the Warriors at bay in set four 25-14 to clinch the trip to the title game. Wilhite added five more kills, Kaveti recorded two kills and two blocks, Gaertner had two additional kills, junior Jeremiah Satcho had a block and a kill and junior Ryan Quatman scored an ace. Wilhite ended the fourth set with back-to-back kills to finish the match. He took home Wright Automotive Player of the Game laurels with 22 total kills and a block. Gaertner had 11 total kills. Kaveti totaled four kills and four blocks.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 12-3 on the season and will face Shaler for the WPIAL 3A Championship at Peters Township High School on Thursday. That game will be broadcast live on the North Allegheny Sports Network at a time to be determined.
Penn-Trafford falls to 17-2 on the year and will have a chance at making the PIAA Tournament. PT faces Canon-McMillan in the Third-Place Consolation match at a time, date and place to be determined.
Boys Volleyball Summary vs. Penn-Trafford, 5-23-23
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