Monday's Westmoreland Sports Notebook

Belle Vernon, Penn-Trafford earn byes in football playoffs; P-T field hockey notches WPIAL six-peat; GCC’s Brewer wins WPIAL XC title

Mon Nov 01, 2021 - 5:39PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2021 - 5:40PM

Belle Vernon Area, Penn-Trafford earn byes in football playoffs

The WPIAL released its football playoff brackets on Saturday night, and Belle Vernon Area and Penn-Trafford were among the teams that earned first-round byes. The Leopards (8-0) garnered the top seed in Class 4A, and will host the winner of No. 8 Highlands and No. 9 New Castle in the quarterfinals. The Warriors (8-2), meanwhile, were seeded No. 2 in Class 5A, and await in the quarterfinals the winner between No. 7 Upper Saint Clair and No. 10 Fox Chapel Area. Seven other Westmoreland County teams earned playoff berths. Also in Class 5A, Franklin Regional (3-7) received the No. 12 seed and will play No. 5 Penn Hills on Friday. In Class 3A, Mount Pleasant Area (5-4) was seeded sixth and hosts No. 11 Burrell (3-7), while Southmoreland (7-3) is No. 8 and will host No. 9 East Allegheny on Friday. Ligonier Valley (8-2) garnered the No. 9 seed in Class 2A, and will play at No. 8 South Side Beaver on Friday. Lastly in Class 1A, Greensburg Central Catholic (6-4) is No. 8 and will battle ninth-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Hempfield Area High School on Friday, while Monessen (4-6) is No. 15 and will play No. 2 Cornell at West Allegheny High School. Southmoreland, Ligonier Valley, and Monessen all qualified for the postseason courtesy of victories last Friday.

PT field hockey notches WPIAL six-peat

The Penn-Trafford field hockey team scored just two goals in its two playoff games, but it was enough for the Warriors to claim their sixth-consecutive WPIAL championship. In the Class 2A final on Saturday at Washington & Jefferson College, the top-seeded Warriors edged second seed Fox Chapel Area 1-0 to secure another title. Penn-Trafford, which improved to 16-0, received its lone goal from sophomore phenom Ava Hershberger, her 39th marker of the campaign. The tally came on a penalty corner in the second quarter. Her older sister, senior goalkeeper Gwen Hershberger, recorded three saves to earn her second-consecutive playoff shutout. Penn-Trafford also edged No. 4 seed Greater Latrobe 1-0 in the semifinals on Tuesday, courtesy of a goal by Delaney Shusko. Penn-Trafford advances to the PIAA postseason, and will face the fifth-place team from District 3 on Nov. 9. Meanwhile, in Class 3A, Hempfield Area qualified for the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, but lost to second-seeded North Allegheny 4-1 in the semifinals last Tuesday.

Four county soccer teams advance to semis

A quartet of Westmoreland County teams remain alive in the WPIAL soccer playoffs, as the Franklin Regional and Greensburg Central Catholic boys, as well as the Southmoreland and GCC girls all advanced to the semifinals. In the boys Class 3A bracket, the No. 3 Panthers rallied to defeat No. 6 Kiski Area last Wednesday. Host Franklin Regional scored five unanswered goals, including markers by Dylan Tomb, Joe Bayne, Colton Hudson, Anthony DiFalco, and Billy Christafano. The Panthers face No. 2 Hampton tonight at Gateway High School. The Greensburg Central Catholic boys cruised into the semifinals, courtesy of a 4-0 win against Springdale at Norwin High School on Saturday. All of the top-seeded Centurions’ goals came in the second half, as Kyler Miller, Ryan Reitler, Carlo Denis, and Jake Gretz all tallied. GCC moves on to the semifinals to face No. 5 Eden Christian Academy on Tuesday at West Mifflin, but the Centurions will likely be without top scorer Mason Fabean, who received a red card in the quarterfinals. On the girls side, in Class 2A, second seed Southmoreland edged rival No. 7 Mount Pleasant Area 1-0 on Saturday to advance to the semifinals. Scotties’ standout Olivia Cernuto accounted for the only goal in the 15th minute, while Kaylee Keys earned the shutout in net. Southmoreland will face No. 6 Avonworth on Tuesday at West Allegheny. Lastly, in Class 1A, top-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic edged No. 8 Riverside 2-1 in overtime last Wednesday at Hampton High School. Riley Kerr, a freshman, netted the golden goal for GCC, while Tatum Gretz also found the back of the net. The Centurions will face No. 5 Freedom Area tonight at West Mifflin High School.

GCC’s Brewer wins WPIAL XC title

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Corinn Brewer captured the WPIAL Class A girls cross country title with a time of 21:17 on Thursday at California University of Pennsylvania. She finished approximately two seconds ahead of runner up Lydia Valeriano of Northgate. In 2020, it was Brewer who finished as the runner up. As a result of her performance, Brewer advances to the PIAA meet, which will take place on Nov. 6 in Hershey. She will be joined by more than a dozen other runners from Westmoreland County who also qualified. In the girls Class AAA race, Kiski Area sophomore Eliza Miller finished fifth with a time of 19:32. Additionally, Greater Latrobe freshman Emerson Skatell placed 12th, finishing at 20:02, while Penn-Trafford senior Chloe Benson notched a time of 20:11 to finish 16th. In Class AA, Belle Vernon Area junior Viva Kreis finished 10th with a time of 21:12. Jane Huss, a freshman for Derry Area, placed 15th with a mark of 21:31, Southmoreland freshman Lexi Ohler came in 16th with a time of 21:40, and Burrell sophomore Grace Nesko finished 19th at 21:56. In addition to Brewer, Westmoreland County girls qualifiers in Class A included Jonah Althof, a freshman from GCC who ran a time of 22:03 and placed 12th, and the Ligonier Valley duo of sophomore Clara Wallace (22:33) and senior Maddie Smith (22:39), who ranked 20th and 23rd, respectively. On the boys side in Class AA, the Greensburg Salem trio of junior Aaron Tressler (17:52), senior Charles Johnson (17:59), and senior Jacob Smith (18:18) finished eighth, 11th, and 21st, respectively. In Class A, Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Nick Szekely finished fourth, running 17:51. Additionally, Ligonier Valley senior Tucker Klotz placed seventh with a time of 18:02.

Long-Time Hempfield Softball Assistant Mello dies

Long-time Hempfield Area softball assistant coach Ray Mello died Sunday after a three-year battle with cancer. Mello coached with legendary Spartans softball coach Bob Kalp for 25 years until he, Kalp, and fellow assistant Dick Albright retired over the summer. A field at West Point Little League and a dugout at the softball field are named in his honor.

Seton Hill to launch Esports team

Seton Hill University announced last week that it will launch an Esports team next fall. The Griffins co-ed team is expected to include a roster of approximately 25 players, and it will compete in at least five games, including Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, and FIFA Soccer. Additionally, the university will construct a gaming area that will feature 16 PC gaming stations and multi-level seating.

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