Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seneca Eliminated in Close Match

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seneca Eliminated in Close Match

Article excerpt

One point -- that's all that separated the Seneca Valley girls volleyball team from a PIAA Class AAA semifinal appearance.

The Raiders had a 14-12 lead against Baldwin in the fifth set of Saturday's quarterfinal match at North Allegheny High School, but couldn't score the deciding point.

Baldwin scored the final four points to pull out a 16-14 decision, thus ending Seneca Valley's hopes for a PIAA title.

"[Baldwin outside hitter] Maddie Sgattoni rotated to the front row and our best blocker was in the back row," said Seneca Valley coach Karen Martini, referring to the Fighting Highlanders' best player. "We just couldn't stop her."

The loss ended a season in which the Raiders did much better than anybody expected.

"We came into the season with a team that had lost seven players to graduation," Martini said. "Nobody expected us to get this far. What we accomplished is amazing. We came a long way. The girls have nothing to be ashamed of. They should hold their heads high. They represented our school well."

It was the second matchup in 10 days for Seneca Valley and Baldwin, as the two teams previously faced off in the WPIAL semifinals. That match also went to five sets, and the Raiders came up short in that one as well.

"We had two very evenly matched teams," Martini said. "Unfortunately, somebody has to lose."

The loss hurt even more because it was the final high school match for Martini's daughter, Sydney, a senior outside hitter and four-year starter.

"We have two seniors on the team, Sydney and [libero] Bre Diamini," Martini said. "They will be missed, but we do have a good group of starters returning."

Sydney Martini was a two-time All-WPIAL Class AAA selection who was named to the first team this year. Diamini was voted to the second team. Two Seneca Valley juniors were also recognized. …

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