North Allegheny set a PIAA Boys Volleyball record with its appearance in the Class AAA title match, June 10 at Penn State's Rec Hall, but the Tigers just can't beat Central York.
North Allegheny made its 15th appearance in the finals, breaking the record it shared with Peabody since 2104. Central York was making its 12th PIAA title appearance and claimed its seventh title with a 3-1 victory.
It was the fifth time North Allegheny and Central York faced off in a PIAA title match. The two teams also met in 1982, 1985, 2011, and 2014. Central York came out on top in all five matchups.
"There is no other program in the state that we respect more than North Allegheny," said Central York coach Todd Goodling, who took over as head coach this year after serving as an assistant. "North Allegheny and Central York have remained relevant over the course of 40 years. That kind of longevity in high school athletics, through multiple coaching staffs, talks about what PIAA athletics should be and the specialness of the sport of volleyball.
"Anytime we get to step on the court with North Allegheny is fun. To get to do it in the last match of the year is spectacular. Congratulations to North Allegheny for a great season. We are thrilled to play such a great program and come away with a win."
North Allegheny coach Dan Schall had similar feelings.
"We have so much respect for Central York," Schall said. "We saw them three times this year, so we knew it would be a close match. We knew it would come down to who played best for two hours on Saturday."
The respect the two coaches referred to was illustrated after the match. The two squads posed for a team photo after accepting their medals and trophy. Then came a photo of the two teams combined, celebrating their appearance in the finals, something rarely, if ever seen after a state title match.
"We did that at the NA Tournament at the start of the year," Schall said. "Our varsity and JV teams played Central York in the finals of both tournaments. I asked them to join us for a combined photo for both tournaments. Todd [Goodling] asked me if we could do the same after the state tournament. We may be on different teams, but we're competitors who respect each other."
North Allegheny loses eight players to graduation, seven of whom played in the PIAA title match. The Tigers do have seven players returning with significant experience.