Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bridgers Overcome Key Injury to Repeat as 'Aa' Champions High School Volleyball: Wpial Championship

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bridgers Overcome Key Injury to Repeat as 'Aa' Champions High School Volleyball: Wpial Championship

Article excerpt

The Ambridge Area boys volleyball team dealt with a major scare even before the WPIAL Class AA playoffs began.

Senior setter Aaron Mueller sustained a knee injury prior to the Bridgers non-section match against North Allegheny on May 10.

"It was a freak accident before our match with North Allegheny," Mueller said. "I was so pumped up for that match. I was so disappointed that I couldn't play, but sitting me down helped get me ready for the playoffs."

Mueller also missed the Bridgers final regular-season tournament appearance at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and their quarterfinal match against South Park.

"That shows you just how deep this team is and how good our chemistry is," Mueller said. "We had a freshman [Anthony Baronio] come in and play amazingly while I was out."

Mueller returned to Ambridge's lineup last week and helped the Bridgers win their second consecutive WPIAL Class AA title. The Bridgers blanked Beaver County Christian, 3-0, in the semifinals, then swept Derry, 3-0, in the title match.

"It's amazing to win another WPIAL title," said Ambridge outside hitter Lee Smith, who was voted the most valuable player in WPIAL Class AA. "We've worked so hard with this as one of our goals."

The Ambridge-Derry match-up was a rematch of last year's final.

"Discipline and commitment are the keys to our success," Ambridge coach Glenn Freed said. "That was evident in tonight's match. The kids have worked very hard with the goal of defending our WPIAL title."

After falling behind, 4-3, in the first game, Ambridge dominated by outscoring the Trojans 22-13 to record a 25-17 victory. Four Bridgers had three or more kills in the game, including Lee Smith who had seven.

"We tried to establish the middle and that opened it up for our great outside hitters to get single coverage," Mueller said. "I tried to spread the ball around and make everybody happy."

Derry held a 9-8 lead in the second game, but Ambridge rallied to score 13 of the next 16 points and registered a 25-18 victory. …

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