A-K Valley notebook: Springdale’s Zolnierczyk trains at D.C. United Academy

Thursday, June 14, 2018 | 8:12 PM

Mike Zolnierczyk’s last name isn’t “Smith,” but he went to Washington just the same.

Zolnierczyk, a rising senior goalkeeper at Springdale, received an opportunity to visit Washington D.C. to train for two days with the D.C. United Academy.

One of the first Major League Soccer training academies, D.C. United’s academy has produced more than 10 professional players, including a handful who went on to play for their country’s national teams.

The opportunity for Zolnierczyk to train with D.C. United came via the academy’s relationship with Beadling Soccer Club, where Zolnierczyk plays for the 1999/2000 Boys Elite team.

Zolnierczyk said he did drills that improved footwork, shot stopping and decision making.

“This was a great experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “I feel like I performed to the best of my ability.”

An All-WPIAL goalkeeper as a junior, Zolnierczyk tallied 12 shutouts to help Springdale reach the WPIAL Class A championship game and the PIAA quarterfinals. He was a Valley News Dispatch First Team All-Star.

This summer, Zolnierczyk plans to work out in development camps and has visits planned to Bucknell, Duquesne, Penn State, Pitt, Robert Morris and Villanova.

“I feel I have the potential to play at a high level in college, but I also realize I still have a lot of work to do to get there,” he said.

A matter of course

The WPIAL Class AAA boys golf championship is coming back to storied Oakmont Country Club.

Top players will take on the fast greens and demanding bunkers for the district title Oct. 2, WPIAL Golf Steering Committee chairman Jim Croushore said.

The WPIAL tournament was played at Oakmont in 2016, just three months after the course hosted its record ninth U.S. Open.

“The WPIAL Golf Committee is appreciative of the invitation from the membership of Oakmont Country Club, allowing us the opportunity to hold our championship at one of the greatest golf courses in the world,” Croushore said.

In 2016, with the famed layout somewhat soft and gettable, Fox Chapel sophomore Gregor Meyer won the WPIAL title with a 1-under-par 70.

Oakmont had not previously hosted the high school finals since the late 1980s.

Once again, Oakmont will not permit practice rounds for non-members.

The WPIAL boys semifinals will be a week before the finals at Hannastown Golf Club and Youghiogheny Country Club.

The boys Class AA championship will be played at Allegheny Country Club. The girls Class AAA and AA finals will be at Diamond Run Golf Club.

Buffalo thrills

Shady Side Academy’s Skyy Moore received a football scholarship offer Monday from the Buffalo, his first from a Football Bowl Subdivision school.

A quarterback/defensive back, Moore was named the Class 3A Allegheny Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season. He surpassed 1,000 yards both rushing and passing but is getting recruited mostly as a defensive back.

The New Kensington native holds 14 offers, 13 of which came since the beginning of April. In addition to Buffalo, he has Football Championship Subdivision offers from Albany, Brown, Columbia, Delaware, Duquesne, Fordham, Holy Cross, Howard, Lehigh, Maine, Richmond, Robert Morris and Yale.

Derby days

Alex Kirilloff first gained widespread baseball notoriety when he won a national home run derby after his junior year of high school.

Now the former Plum star will get a chance to take a professional derby crown.

Kirilloff, the Minnesota Twins’ 2016 first-round pick, will compete in the Class A Midwest League’s Home Run Derby on June 19 in Lansing, Mich.

The 20-year-old Kirilloff, a member of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernels, is tied for the Midwest League lead with 11 home runs this season and leads the league with 51 RBIs, 75 hits and 136 total bases. He was named a starter for the Midwest League All-Star Game, which will follow the home run derby.

Kirilloff claimed the title at the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Derby at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif.

Lax hour

The All-WPIAL and all-section girls lacrosse teams for both Class AAA and Class AA recently were finalized.

Fox Chapel’s Kate Goodwin earned a spot on the All-WPIAL team in Class AAA, the only Alle-Kiski Valley player named on one of the two teams.

All-section players included Freeport’s Madison Ravotti and Mayce Wonderling and Fox Chapel’s Goodwin, Mary Ellis and Marissa Hardiman in Section 2-AAA and Plum’s Samantha Casile in Section 1-AA.

Ringing the Bell

Burrell’s Alex Bellinotti received his second scholarship offer, from West Virginia State.

A tight end/linebacker, Bellinotti was named first-team All-Allegheny Conference at both positions in 2016 and 2017. He had 95 tackles and a sack last season, along with 15 receptions and three touchdowns.

Bellinotti also holds an offer from Cornell.

Bill Beckner Jr. and Michael Love contributed. Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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