Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Teams Shuffled around in Realignment

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Teams Shuffled around in Realignment

Article excerpt

Three fewer teams will be competing in the WPIAL girls volleyball tournaments this fall.

The WPIAL Volleyball Steering Committee eliminated one section in Class AA in its alignment for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Class AA will now have six sections, four with eight teams and two with seven teams. Section 7 has been eliminated and its seven teams were split among three sections.

"We've eliminated some of the pigtail matches in the Class AA bracket," said Our Lady of the Sacred Heart coach Mike McDonald, who also serves as chairman of the WPIAL Volleyball Steering Committee. "We always had five or six pigtails depending on how many ties we had. Eliminating Section 7 gives us fewer, but stronger sections."

Thirteen of the 46 teams entered in Class AA were directly affected by the realignment. The seven teams from disbanded Section 7 have been placed in three sections.

Southmoreland and Yough have moved from Section 7 to Section 3, along with West Shamokin, which moved up from Class A. The mainstays in Section 3 are Derry, Ford City, Greensburg Salem, Indiana and Kittanning.

"We're going to have to step it up a notch in this section," said Katie Salisbury, the new coach at Yough. "Five of the eight teams in this section were in the WPIAL playoffs last year."

South Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson and West Mifflin have moved from Section 7 to Section 6, thus joining East Allegheny, Keystone Oaks, Seton-LaSalle, South Fayette and Steel Valley.

"I don't have a problem with losing three playoff berths, especially since Class AA had a couple weak sections," Thomas Jefferson coach Ron Kelly said. "But somebody is not going to make the playoffs in the stronger sections.

"One thing that bothers me is that we don't have any open dates during our section schedule, since we now have eight teams. It's much harder to schedule non-section matches."

Belle Vernon and Elizabeth Forward, the other two teams from Section 7, have been moved to Section 5, along with South Park, which moves over from Section 6. The other teams in Section 5 are Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Uniontown and Waynesburg.

"I didn't understand why we were moved," South Park coach Jesse Panzarello said. "It's tough to create rivalries when you're moving to a different section. We will be doing a lot more traveling, but will have a lot less traffic to deal with. We are the farthest team for everybody in this section."

Obama Academy will be the first City League team to compete in the WPIAL, as the Eagles have replaced Mars in Class AA Section 4.

"My kids are both excited and nervous about competing in the WPIAL for the first time," Obama coach Pete Vitti said. "We used to be the team to beat in the City League. …

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