WPIAL girls volleyball semifinals: Bethel Park rallies to top No. 3 Shaler

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Bethel Park earned its first WPIAL final berth with a 3-1 upset of No. 3 seed Shaler in a Class AAA semifinal Thursday night at Chartiers Valley High School.

"Tonight was the first semifinal appearance in school history," coach Shawn Palmer said. "And now we're going to be the first to play in a title match. It's a huge deal for our program. We're really looking forward to the challenge."

Seventh-seeded Bethel Park was led by Stacey Kazalas, who recorded 16 kills, and Sarah Storino, who contributed 24 digs. Shaler won, 25-23, in the first game but Bethel Park rallied to win the next three, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-15. The Black Hawks will face No. 1 seed North Allegheny in the championship at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Chartiers Valley.

North Allegheny earned its first title berth since 2008 with a 26-24 , 25-16, 25-15 sweep of No. 5 Norwin in the second semifinal at Chartiers Valley.

Class AA

■ Zoe Pawlak and Alexis Schrecengost combined for 27 kills to lead No. 2 Freeport to its third title berth in four years with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory against No. 6 Knoch in a semifinal at North Hills.

Freeport won the first game, 25-22, but Knoch responded with a pair of 25-21 victories. Freeport rallied with two dominating wins, 25-15 and 15-7, to take the match.

"The win in Game 4 was huge for us," Freeport coach Tom Phillips said. "But it was the way we won that was so impressive. We put our foot to the floor and dominated both games."

Pawlak had 14 kills and six blocks, while Schrecengost had 13 kills and 18 service points. Brittney Bianco had 63 digs.

Freeport will face No. 1 Indiana in the final at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at Chartiers Valley.

Indiana earned its second title berth in four years with a 3-2 win against No. 4 Hopewell in the other semifinal at North Hills.

Class A

■ Defending champion and No. 2 seed Greensburg Central Catholic earned a return trip to the title match with a 3-1 win against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in a semifinal at North Allegheny. Leah Bisignani led the Centurions with 13 kills and seven blocks.

Greensburg Central Catholic will have a rematch at 2 p.m. in Saturday's title match at Chartiers Valley against Bishop Canevin, last year's runner-up.

Bishop Canevin, the top seed, earned its third title berth in four years with a 25-21, 25-11, 25-13 sweep of No. 12 Neshannock in the other semifinal at North Allegheny. Erin Cunningham led the Crusaders with 10 kills and Bailey McDonald had 31 assists.


■ The top four finishers in Class AA and A advanced to the PIAA tournament, which begins Tuesday. The top three qualified in Class AAA. Shaler and Norwin will play be a consolation match at noon Saturday at Chartiers Valley to decide the third qualifier.

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