MOON TWP — After giving the first set of Saturday's WPIAL Class 2A girls volleyball final to Avonworth, North Catholic (17-1) had the Antelopes right where it wanted them.
“I trust these kids so much,” North coach Amanda Fetter said. “I could actually feel that they were starting to catch wind. And that's all that you're looking for, as far as I'm concerned, going into game two. Momentum. They weren't shook. It was on to the next game.”
“In volleyball, sometimes you have to take a loss and keep moving forward,” said Sydnei Jones, the Trojanettes' junior setter.
Both Jones and junior Ally Feczko provided big performances in North's victory in four sets, by the scores of 24-26, 25-15, 25-16, and 25-23, at Robert Morris' UPMC Events Center.
“Ally's like my partner-in-crime on the court,” Jones said. “She's the Robin to my Batman. We're electric together.”
Avonworth (16-3) never led in the second set. Meanwhile, Jones and Feczko combined for eight kills. The latter added an ace and the former helped with five assists. Jones would have her hand in North's first five points in the next set. She finished it with four kills, six assists, and a block.
“Sydnei and I can communicate without saying anything,” Fetter said. “We can look at each other and just go 'Alright, it's go time' and she knows just to go over and take over the match. And that's exactly what she did tonight.
“It's a beautiful thing to watch for all of us that love volleyball.”
With a last gasp in what would turn out to be the match-ending set, Avonworth came out swinging. A lengthy rally midway through gave the Antelopes some hope.
“We came out for that fourth game with a lot of energy,” Avonworth coach John Skarupa said. “We battled with them really tough. When we had that great rally in the middle of that fourth set, I thought that was going to be the one that (brought us back).”
Instead, North closed out, the final spike fittingly slapped by Feczko's hand on an assist from Jones.
“When we get to that point, I start to just subtract back from 25,” Fetter said. “It's pretty cool when (we) get to the finish.”
Senior Riley Warda rounded out with seven total kills. Junor Katie McNelly had six, while freshman Ella Koziara and junior Stephanie Lynch each had five.
The WPIAL championship is the Trojanettes' third in four tries.
“We really don't even talk about the stuff that's happened in the past,” Fetter said. “This is very unique and individual to these kids. It means a lot and we get to ring the ball. That's what they look forward to all year long.”
North will play Corry (13-4) at home in its PIAA Class 2A playoff opener at 6 p.m. Tuesday.