Alle-Kiski high school notebook: Knoch, Freeport volleyball maintain spots in poll

Monday, September 2, 2019 | 6:39 PM

Knoch and Freeport maintain their positions in the latest Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s top-10 poll released Monday.

The Knights, semifinalists at Saturday’s Canon-McMillan Tournament, stay in first place in the Class AAA, holding off No. 2 Thomas Jefferson and No. 3 Laurel Highlands, and Kiski Area received votes this week to get to the doorstep of the Class AAA top 10.

Freeport holds at No. 3 in the Class AA poll after defeating No. 9 Neshannock in its opener Saturday.

Leechburg, which begins its season Tuesday at Eden Christian, is No. 9 in the Class A rankings.

Deer Lakes is not rated in the Class AA top 10, but the Lancers opened strong Saturday with a straight-set win over OLSH in the finals of the Deer Lakes Tournament. OLSH was No. 6 in Class AA rankings last week but is not in the top 10 this week.

The Lancers open section play Tuesday against No. 7 Derry.

Home sweet home, delayed

After the Leechburg boys soccer team’s successful debut Saturday in a 6-1 victory at Ellwood City, the next step in this inaugural season was to be Tuesday’s home opener against Section 2-2A foe Mt. Pleasant at Northmoreland Park.

However, because of cleanup efforts from the Labor Day celebrations, the home and away games between the Blue Devils and Vikings were switched. Leechburg will visit Mt. Pleasant at 4 p.m. Tuesday and host the Sept. 21 contest.

After three road games this week, Leechburg’s home opener is next Tuesday in section against Valley.

Strong starts

The Burrell girls and Plum boys soccer teams begin section play this week with momentum after both captured titles at season-opening tournaments.

The Bucs, who return to action Wednesday with a Section 2-2A contest at East Allegheny, dominated DuBois (11-1) and shut out Indiana (3-0) to win the title at the Indiana Labor Day Tournament.

The Mustangs blanked Kiski Area on Saturday (2-0) then edged Central Catholic on Sunday (3-2) to win the Plum Tournament.

Plum kicks off Section 3-4A action Tuesday at Latrobe.

Other teams to pick up weekend victories to open the season were the boys teams from Freeport, Burrell and Highlands and the Apollo-Ridge and Deer Lakes girls squads.

The Lancers scored a 3-0 triumph Saturday over Villa Maria (Erie), a PIAA Class AA quarterfinalist a year ago.

Running into the season

Cross country competitions resume Tuesday as Plum runs against Penn-Trafford on the Bushy Run Battlefield in Penn Township.

Freeport hosts Wednesday’s Quad County Warmup, with Deer Lakes, Burrell, Highlands and Apollo-Ridge also in action at Freeport Middle School.

Fox Chapel, Kiski Area and Riverview are among the teams running Saturday at Schenley Park for the annual Red, White & Blue Classic.

Alle-Kiski teams and individuals hope to continue to feed off top performances from debuts at season-opening invitationals Saturday at Boyce Park and Cal (Pa.).

Fox Chapel’s Christian Fitch held off Riverview’s Mason Ochs and Gideon Deasy to win the Gateway Invitational boys race, and Foxes seniors Grace Sisson and Brook Krally went 1-2 in the girls race.

Knoch’s Sammy Jo Barnes ran to fourth place in a deep Class A/AA girls field at Marty Uher Invitational at Cal (Pa.). Sophomore teammate Yumiko Kuo was 10th, and they helped lift the Knights to a runner-up finish in the team standings.

Several freshman runners had breakout races, and one of them was Freeport’s Anita Bhat, who grabbed a top-20 finish in the Class A/AA girls race, taking 19th.

Courting Matolcsy

Max Matolcsy is on the radar of more college programs these days with his offensive and defensive play for the Plum football team.

On Saturday, the Mustangs junior tight end/linebacker was a guest of the Penn State coaching staff to watch the Nittany Lions take on Idaho at Beaver Stadium.

Matolcsy observed warmups from the field and then headed to the stands to watch PSU overwhelm the Vandals, 79-7.

“It was my first time going to a game, and getting to go on the field, it was a pretty good one to go to for my first one,” Matolcsy said. “The atmosphere was crazy.”

Matolcsy, who leads Plum in receiving (148 yards, two touchdowns) and total tackles (17) through two games, said he next will pay a visit to Miami (Ohio) on Saturday and hopes to make similar visits to Penn and Dartmouth this fall.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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