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WPIAL volleyball playoffs open Thursday |

WPIAL volleyball playoffs open Thursday

Kiski Area already has defeated Shaler in a big game.

The Cavaliers will get a chance to do it again at 6 p.m. Thursday at Gateway High School.

The two squads will meet in one of many WPIAL Class AAA and Class AA preliminary-round playoff matches.

The winners advance to the first round.

Earlier this month, Kiski Area (7-5 in Section 1-AAA) defeated Shaler in the championship contest of Shaler’s tournament.

“We feel confident against Shaler,” second-year Kiski Area head coach Linda Guercio said.

A senior corps has directed the Cavaliers to their first playoff appearance under Guercio.

“We’ve done a pretty nice job passing this year,” she said. “And our blocking’s been good.”

Twins Jamie and Jodie Vick, both about 6-foot tall, and Natalie Noble give Kiski Area talent and experience on the front line. Ann Fox has been a standout at defensive specialist. Deanna Guenther has been solid as an outside hitter and defensive specialist.

If they win, the Cavaliers move on to the first round Tuesday. They will meet Upper St. Clair, which received a bye. Kiski Area hasn’t played Upper St. Clair this season.

But Fox Chapel has.

Upper St. Clair is the only team that has defeated Fox Chapel (12-0 Section 4-AAA, 13-1 overall).

Fox Chapel will open the WPIAL playoffs in the first round against Hempfield – a team the Foxes have defeated twice in tournament play this season.

Fox Chapel hasn’t played a match since Thursday, but that doesn’t bother head coach Chris Cutone.

“We have two scrimmages scheduled, and we changed our practice schedule around. We’re going to do some different things. I think it’ll be good for us,” Cutone said.

Fox Chapel is one of two local section champions in the playoffs. Knoch (9-1 in Section 6-AA) also won a title.

In Class A, Leechburg made the playoffs for the second year in a row and the second time in school history.

Nine of 14 local squads are in the playoffs.

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