East Xtra: Greensburg Central bows in WPIAL final

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The Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball team had a second consecutive WPIAL Class A title within its grasp, but couldn't hold on.

The Centurions had Bishop Canevin on the ropes in Saturday's title match at Chartiers Valley High School, but couldn't finish off the Crusaders, who rallied to win the school's first WPIAL volleyball title.

"I expected a lot more out of my team, and I'm sure they expected a lot more out of themselves," Greensburg Central coach Heather Meyer said after watching the Centurions drop a 3-2 decision to the Crusaders. "They weren't happy with the way they played today.

"You can't go into a championship game and not play the way you played all season. If you watched us all year, you would see that's not the way we play. It was disappointing to all of us."

The title match was actually a rematch of last year's final, but a complete role reversal. In last year's title match, Greensburg Central was a solid favorite with a veteran team that featured four seniors who were recognized on the WPIAL Class A All-Star Team.

Bishop Canevin had a much younger team, which included four underclassmen who were recognized on the All-WPIAL team. Experience was the difference as the Centurions swept the Crusaders.

The opposite was true in this year's title match. Bishop Canevin was the favorite with its veteran lineup, while Greensburg Central came in as the underdog with a much younger lineup.

"At the beginning of the year, we didn't know what to expect," Meyer said. "Even though I have a lot of underclassmen, I didn't go into the season thinking that we couldn't win. We set goals and one of our goals was to win the WPIAL title, even though we were young."

Bishop Canevin won the first game, 25-17, but Greensburg Central Catholic rallied to win the next two games by identical scores of 25-23. The Crusaders came to life in game four and closed out their victory with dominant wins of 25-13 and 15-9.

"Bishop Canevin is a good team," Meyer said. "They hung in there and stayed tough. They deserved to win.

"By losing, we made it tougher on ourselves in the state tournament. The WPIAL runner-up is matched up with the District 9 champion, and that's Clarion [the defending PIAA champion]."

Greensburg Central lost to Clarion, 3-0, in the opening round on Tuesday at DuBois High School.

Norwin qualifies for PIAA

Norwin earned its first PIAA berth since 1993 after placing third in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament.

The Knights, seeded No. 5, swept No. 3 seed Shaler Area, 25-19, 26-24, 25-18, in the consolation final, which took place Saturday at Chartiers Valley.

"The girls put in a lot of time this summer to get ready for the season," Norwin coach Mary Ellen Ferragonio said. "They were determined early on to keep improving and get better. They earned this opportunity to play in the state tournament."

As the third-place finisher from the WPIAL, Norwin faced District 10 champion Erie McDowell in Tuesday's opening round of the PIAA tournament.

The Knights pulled a stunner, defeating McDowell, 3-0.

They will now face WPIAL runner-up Bethel Park in the quarterfinals Saturday. Bethel Park defeated City League runner-up Allderdice in the first round of the PIAA tournament Tuesday.

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