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Butler boys finally taste victory against NA in volleyball

It was a long time coming for Butler’s boys volleyball team. Nearly 30 years, in fact.

The Golden Tornado program was born in 1994 and Butler had never defeated North Allegheny.

Until Thursday.

Coleton Welter and Max Gianneski paced an impressive effort at the net with 13 and 10 kills, respectively, as the Tornado topped the Tigers 3-1 in Butler’s gym.

Victory came by scores of 25-20, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-22.

The Tigers are five-time defending WPIAL champions and have won the last four state titles. They were playing in their first official match of 2023 Thursday.

“We had a poor showing at Latrobe Wednesday night (in a 3-0 loss),” said Butler coach Lew Liparulo. “It was a big motivator for the kids to come out and leave it all on the floor.”

Welter added 10 digs and Andrew Archer three blocks for Butler (2-1), which will compete in the Norwin Tournament this weekend.

A victory over such a storied program can only help Butler’s confidence.

“NA hasn’t always been in our section, but they have been for the last 20-plus years, so we’ve played them at least twice a year,” said Liparulo. “In 2018, we ended the season with five losses and four of them were to NA ... lost to them twice in the regular season, in the WPIAL playoffs and again in the state tournament.

“Getting this win, we’re very satisfied with the performance.”

Baseball

Mars erupted for eight runs in the top of the sixth frame in a 13-4 victory at Highlands on Wednesday.

The Planets held a slim 5-4 lead after five innings.

Stars at the plate for the Planets (2-0) included Owen Smith, who singled, doubled, scored two runs and drove in two.

Jacob Maple singled, scored three times and had three RBI while Jake Johnson tallied two base hits.

Earning the victory on the mound was Charlie Bickel, who struck out five and walked none in five innings of work. Kyle Haddad fanned five batters in just two innings.

Luke Bombalski hit a home run for Highlands.

Mars 020 038 0 — 13 10 3

Highlands 200 020 0 — 4 4 4

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