Knoch, Freeport girls volleyball teams get top playoff seeds

November 9, 2018

The Knoch girls volleyball team won its first WPIAL championship last year, capturing the title in Class AAA.

The Knights’ journey also took them to their first PIAA crown.

Freeport fell one win short of WPIAL Class AA gold in 2017, but the Yellowjackets rallied in the state playoffs and brought home a PIAA championship.

The Knights and Yellowjackets again are on the cusp of postseason opportunities. Both will be the hunted as top seeds in their respective tournaments. The brackets for the four WPIAL classifications were released Monday.

“The girls are very excited for the playoffs, and they were anxious for the bracket to come out,” said Knoch coach Diane Geist, whose team will play Thursday at home against the winner of Tuesday’s preliminary-round contest between section foe Ambridge and Albert Gallatin.

“We’re happy to be playing at home and be playing Thursday. It will give us some time to work out a few things from the regular season.”

Knoch, No. 1 in the Trib HSSN Class AAA rankings all season, ran the table in Section 4 at 14-0 and finished 18-0 overall.

Freeport, the Section 5 champ at 12-0, will open WPIAL action Thursday at home against the winner of Tuesday’s preliminary matchup between Waynesburg and Laurel. The Yellowjackets are gunning for their third WPIAL title in four years and fifth overall since 2010.

Freeport’s only two losses this season came to Knoch and undefeated North Allegheny, the top seed in the Class AAAA bracket.

“We were hoping to get that No. 1 seed, so the girls are happy about that,” Yellowjackets coach Tom Phillips said. “We have to focus on one game at a time and not look too far ahead saying this will happen or that will happen.”

Kiski Area, Deer Lakes, Burrell and Leechburg also discovered their playoff matchups Monday and quickly began preparing.

The Cavaliers drew the No. 5 seed in AAA and will take on No. 9 West Allegheny at 6 p.m. Thursday at Freeport. The winner could face Knoch in the quarterfinals.

Kiski finished runner-up to Armstrong in Section 1 with an 11-3 mark, and that included a four-match winning streak to close out the section slate.

Deer Lakes hopes to get back on the winning track in Class AA after a loss last week in its section finale snapped a four-match winning streak. The Lancers, third place (8-4) in Section 5, are the No. 12 seed and will face No. 5 OLSH at 6 p.m. Thursday at Knoch High School.

Burrell, fourth in the Section 5 standings, travels to Montour on Tuesday for a preliminary match against Carlynton. The winner will play at No. 2 North Catholic in the first round Thursday. The Bucs won their section finale last Thursday to put an end to a three-game section losing skid.

In Class A, Leechburg finished as the runner-up to No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic in Section 4, and the Blue Devils will test their playoff mettle as the No. 8 seed.

They will take on No. 9 South Side Beaver, runner-up in Section 1, at 6 p.m. Wednesday at North Allegheny.

The WPIAL championships moved to Fox Chapel this season after four years at Baldwin. All four title matches are set for Nov. 3.

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