Baldwin’s resolve proves victorious in PIAA quarterfinal round
The Baldwin-Seneca Valley match in the PIAA quarterfinals turned into two hours of gut-wrenching drama.
The Lady Highlanders, displaying unbelievable resolve, outlasted their WPIAL rivals by a 3-2 score Saturday at North Allegheny High School.
The two squads split decisions in the first four games, then see-sawed back and forth in the decisive fifth game as there were 10 ties.
After a service error and net violation, Seneca Valley held a 14-12 lead.
It then boiled down to four points.
Baldwin’s super sophomore, Maddi Sgattoni, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, sparked her team with a patented kill, closing the gap to 14-13.
After a hitting error by the Seneca Valley girls made it 14-14, the next point was one for the Baldwin highlight film.
The Lady Highlanders strung together three consecutive digs from deep in their backcourt area, lofting passes to junior setter Mallory O’Brien, who skillfully set up Sgattoni for a powerful slam from the left side all three times.
The third time was the charm for Baldwin, as the trio supplied the Lady Highlanders with a 15-14 lead.
“Maddi always gives us what we need,” Chris Kelly, Baldwin’s head coach, said. “She won’t be denied. She’s very mentally tough; nothing seems to bother her.”
A service ace by junior DS Hannah Scott quickly ended the match.
All nine girls in Baldwin’s starting lineup contributed in the thrilling win.
Sgattoni finished with 22 kills in the five games, OH Mackenzie Voelker had 13 kills and five blocks, while MH Sierra Colbert added 10 kills and two blocks.
“Sierra had a great match,” Kelly said. “We played very, very well.”
RS Mikaela Thorne chipped in with an assortment of kills and blocks, and MH Tori Sgattoni added two key kills.
Libero Sarah Welsh, with three important service aces, Scott and DS Tori Dedig, with two apiece, combined for seven aces in the match.
The Baldwin girls improved to 21-0.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.