Butler downs SV to close schedule
With the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs beginning next week, Butler’s boys volleyball team had the chance to close the regular season with a statement win Thursday night.
The Golden Tornado did not waste the opportunity.
Alex Moncello dished out 42 assists and Coleton Welter had 13 kiils as Butler defeated host Seneca Valley, 3-1.
Just over three weeks ago, the teams met in Butler’s gym and the Raiders swept the Tornado.
“We’ve continually gotten better,” said Butler coach Lew Liparulo. “The boys have worked very hard in practice. We changed our lineup for tonight, trying to find matchups.”
Butler found them in its favor more times than not in the 25-17, 17-25, 25-23, 25-22 victory.
Momentum was difficult for both teams to maintain in the third and fourth sets, but the Tornado (11-5, 8-4) held it late in both cases. They trailed SV 20-17 in the third before a kill from Nate Grossman sparked a six-point run that also included blocks from Max Gianneski and Grossman and kills from Gianneski.
Alec Teff then dropped a kill of his own to put Butler up two sets to one.
“We wanted it tonight and we came together as a team,” said Gianneski, who had nine kills. “This gives us more momentum going into the playoffs.”
The fourth set featured a similar late run from the Tornado, this one totaling five points. With the Raiders (11-5, 8-4) up 20-19, a service error handed the serve back to Butler.
Kills from Welter and Teff and a block from the former helped Butler reach the brink of victory. Moments later, Welter brought it home with his final kill of the night.
“Every night in this section is a battle and we just took it one point at a time,” Liparulo said.
Grant Hoover paced the Raiders with 13 kills.
Junior Nick Dunmire tallied four kills to lead the Raiders to a win in the second set, but points eluded SV in the most crucial moments.
“We struggled,” said Raiders coach Brett Poirier. “We struggled to play good defense and Butler is a really good team. We know that ... they beat North Allegheny earlier this season.”
Welter added seven blocks for Butler and Adam Kaufman had 22 digs.
Last week, SV defeated Shaler, which was ranked No. 1 in the state, but the Raiders ended the regular season with losses to NA and Butler.