Shaler, North Catholic Become First-Time WPIAL Boys’ Volleyball Champions

Friday, May 26, 2023

Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) hosted its WPIAL/UPMC Sports Medicine Boys’ Volleyball Championships on Thursday at AHN Arena on the campus of Peters Township High School. There were first-time champions in both classifications, as Shaler emerged as the 3A champion and North Catholic took the 2A crown.

This is the first time that both classifications produced a first-time winner since 2016, when Penn-Trafford and Beaver County Christian were victorious. Both teams also topped historically successful programs, with Shaler’s opponent North Allegheny owning a league-best 22 titles and five consecutive prior to Thursday, and North Catholic’s opponent Ambridge winning 10.

The top three teams in both classifications have qualified for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Boys’ Volleyball Championships, which will begin with first round matches on Tuesday, June 6. The championship games will be held at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University on Saturday, June 17.

3A RECAP [Box Score | Bracket]
Top-seeded Shaler capped a historic season in WPIAL play, winning in three sets (25-12, 25-22, 25-19) over second-seeded North Allegheny in the WPIAL 3A Boys’ Volleyball Championship Game to capture its first trophy.

Shaler (16-1, 11-1) received a standout performance from junior outside hitter Logan Peterson, who posted a match-high 24 kills on a .639 hitting percentage, eight digs, two block assists, and a service ace. Classmates Zach Rosenwald and Peyton Planz provided 25 and 12 assists, respectively, at setter, and fellow juniors Zac Wurzer (13) and Cam Miller (11) combined for 24 digs. Another junior in middle blocker Logan Schimmel had three block assists.

North Allegheny (11-4, 9-3) was led offensively by senior outside hitter Jax Wilhite, who had 10 kills, and classmate Varun Kaveti, who posted nine kills on a .350 hitting percentage from his middle blocker position. Junior setter Nicolas Carioto had a game-best 27 assists for the Tigers, and classmate Will Hahn collected 14 digs to lead all players.

The third-place consolation match between third-seeded Penn-Trafford and fourth-seeded Canon-McMillan will be played on Tuesday, May 30 at AHN Arena, with the winner earning the final PIAA Championships qualifier spot.

Shaler swept its way to the final, defeating ninth-seeded Upper St. Clair (3-0) and Canon-McMillan (3-0), while North Allegheny was a 3-1 winner over seventh-seeded North Allegheny and 3-1 victor against Penn-Trafford. The Titans will host the fourth seed in District III at the PIAA Championships, and the Tigers will travel to District III’s second seed. The winner of Penn-Trafford and Canon-McMillan will go on the road to play either the top seed from District VI, District VIII, or District X.

2A RECAP [Box Score | Bracket]
There were 33 tie scores and 17 lead changes in the WPIAL 2A Boys’ Volleyball Championship Game, but each time fourth-seeded North Catholic came out on top, as it defeated sixth-seeded Ambridge in three sets (25-22, 25-23, 26-24) to win its first title.

North Catholic (16-4, 10-2) saw junior outside hitter Lucas Gunther produce 20.0 points on a match-high 19 kills and a pair of block assists. Sophomore outside hitter Drew Palmer added eight kills, and senior setter Ro Alessandro dished out 34 assists and two service aces, while providing seven digs and four blocks (1 solo, 3 assist) defensively. Sophomore libero Evan Cmiel had a team-best 10 digs and senior middle hitter Luke Ball paced his teammates with five block assists.

Ambridge (13-5, 9-3) saw senior middle blocker Trent McKnight provided 10 kills on a .273 hitting percentage and a game-high six blocks (2 solo, 4 assisted). Senior outside hitter Tyler McKnight also had 10 kills, while sophomore setter Karson Merlina collected 33 assists and two blocks (1 solo, 1 assist). Junior right side Donovan Bober led all players in digs with 11 and had three block assists.

In the third-place consolation match, second-seeded Mars defeated top-seeded Greater Latrobe, 3-2, in the auxiliary gym of Peters Township High School.

North Catholic netted wins against 13th-seeded Trinity (3-0), fifth-seeded South Fayette (3-0), and Greater Latrobe (3-0) to qualify for the championship match, while Ambridge defeated 11th-seeded Derry (3-0), third-seeded Seton LaSalle (3-1), and Mars (3-0). The Trojans will host the District X two seed at the PIAA Championships, the Bridgers will travel to the District X top seed, and the Fightin’ Planets will go on the road to play either the top seed from District VI or District IX.

Follow the WPIAL: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook