Last Updated: Mon Oct 30, 2023 - 10:03PM
Football playoff field set with a dozen Westmoreland teams
As the WPIAL football regular season concluded last weekend, four more Westmoreland County teams punched their ticket to the playoffs. In Class 5A, both Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional qualified, while Kiski Area clinched in 4A, and Monessen joined the postseason field in Class 1A. Last Friday, Penn-Trafford topped Franklin Regional 27-14 in the Class 5A Big East Conference showdown. Tasso Whipple scored twice and Jonny Lovre’s touchdown run proved to be the decisive play. With the win, PT moved to 4-1 in the conference, and clinched as the second-place team. The Panthers, who dropped to 3-2, also got in as a wild card. Lovre’s 1-yard run on fourth down gave the Warriors the lead midway through the fourth quarter, and he also threw for a score to Jack Weishaar earlier in the contest. Jude Gentille scored a rushing touchdown for FR, while Jack Silvis returned a blocked punt for a score. Meanwhile, Kiski Area scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter, and the Cavaliers held off a late rally to edge Armstrong 42-34. Host Kiski Area improved to 3-3 in the Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference. Terry “Bart” Martin compiled 136 yards receiving, while Landon Kucic notched 136 yards rushing and two scores for the Cavs. Monessen also clinched, courtesy of a 36-16 win at Beth-Center in the Class 1A Tri-County South Conference. Tavian Taylor and Tyvaughn Kershaw each eclipsed 100 yards rushing, scoring twice apiece for the Greyhounds. Monessen wrapped up the conference slate at 3-4. The quartet of qualifiers joined the eight Westmoreland County teams that had already secured a postseason spot.
Burrell girls soccer upsets Mount Pleasant
The Burrell girls soccer team notched an upset of Mount Pleasant Area in an all-Westmoreland quarterfinals matchup on Saturday. The No. 6 Buccaneers prevailed 2-1 in overtime against the third-seeded and homestanding Vikings in the Class 2A bracket. Freshman Mikaya Buchak scored the golden goal for Burrell with less than eight minutes left in overtime. The Bucs produced the final two goals after the Vikings tallied in the fifth minute on a marker by Rylin Bugosh. Tessa Mathabel netted the equalizer for Burrell early in the second half. Burrell (14-4-0) will play No. 7 Shady Side Academy in the semifinals on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Gateway High School. Mount Pleasant Area, conversely, ends the season with a record of 16-2-0.
Jeannette’s Taylor headlines boys soccer All-WPIAL picks
The Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association announced the boys All-WPIAL selections last week, and Westmoreland County was well represented. Jeannette senior Jordan Taylor was the headliner, as he was named the Class 2A Player of the Year after scoring a WPIAL-leading 54 goals. More than a dozen others from the county were recognized. In Class 4A, Norwin had three honorees - senior midfielder Owen Christopher, junior forward Daniel Maddock, and senior goalkeeper Anthony Scalise. Franklin Regional had a pair of selections in Class 3A, with junior midfielder Joey Bayne and junior forward Danny Christafano, while Greater Latrobe junior midfielder Roman Agostoni also garnered the honor. In addition to Taylor, other Class 2A picks consisted of Mount Pleasant Area senior midfielders Luke Rivardo and Austin Ulery, and Belle Vernon Area junior forward Trevor Kovatch. Lastly in Class 1A, a quartet of Burrell Buccaneers received recognition – senior defender Luke Guerrini, senior forward Jayson Ireland, junior defender Billy Kowalkowski, and senior midfielder Cam Wagner. The Knights, Panthers, and Buccaneers all reached the WPIAL semifinals.
PT field hockey returns to title game
Penn-Trafford field hockey will play for another WPIAL title, courtesy of the Warriors 2-0 win against Greater Latrobe on Saturday in the Class 2A semifinals. Senior star Ava Hershberger scored both goals for the top-seeded Warriors, finding the net early in the first quarter, and then again in the third stanza. Hersherger has scored 42 goals on the campaign. The No. 4 Wildcats end their season with a record of 5-7-2. The Warriors (17-2-0), meanwhile, will aim to capture their eighth district title in a row this Saturday, as they’ll face No. 2 Fox Chapel Area at Washington & Jefferson College.
St. Vincent men’s XC claims conference title
For the ninth time in program history, the Saint Vincent College men’s cross country team proved to be the best in the conference. On Saturday, the Bearcats claimed the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship at Thiel College, compiling 56 points. That total easily bested second-place Washington & Jefferson College, which amassed 71 points. SVC had five runners rank in the top 17, led by Tim Patterson, who placed third with a time of 26:10. Additionally, Ethan Wymer came in seventh at 26:30, while Brady Sundin, Aiden Jackson, and John Syms also registered scoring times. The title is the first for SVC since 2019. Subsequently, the Bearcats advance to the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships at Lock Haven University on Nov. 11.
Three inducted into inaugural Penn State New Ken HOF
Penn State New Kensington welcomed its inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class earlier this month, with Paul Holzshu, Arthur McCray Jr., and Lou Payne receiving the honor. Holzshu served at the helm of the Lions men’s basketball program for many of the most successful seasons in team history during the mid-90s. McCray Jr was a member of some of those teams, playing for the men’s basketball team from 1994-97, leading the team in both rebounds and blocks in consecutive campaigns. He later served as the head coach for the Lions, and currently is an assistant coach. Payne played for the men’s basketball team from 2013-16, serving as a three-time captain. The trio was inducted during the annual men’s basketball alumni game on Oct. 21.