Alle-Kiski Valley lookahead for Week of March 25, 2019

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Sunday, March 24, 2019 | 11:18 PM


MONDAY Baseball: Four nonsection games pairing Alle-Kiski Valley opponents dot the schedule. Armstrong County rivals Apollo-Ridge and Leechburg meet, as do next-door neighbors St. Joseph and Highlands. Burrell and Kiski Area and Valley and Springdale complete the quartet. Softball: Class 6A softball has just two sections, which will create some competition for an eight-team playoff bracket. Fox Chapel hopes to gain an early edge as the Foxes host Norwin in Section 2-6A. Freeport is coming off a season that saw the Yellowjackets win a section title and advance to the WPIAL semifinals. Led by Mercyhurst recruit Ally DeJidas, Freeport hopes to begin the season with a nonsection win at local rival Armstrong. Girls lacrosse: It’s a Butler County rivalry as Freeport hosts Knoch. TUESDAY Softball: Six of the eight teams in Section 1-5A made it to the WPIAL quarterfinals last season, and Albert Gallatin beat Kiski Area in that round. The Cavaliers both will look for some revenge and an early edge in what figures to be a strong section race as they host the Colonials. Riverview is making a jump to Class 2A after getting to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals last season, and the Raiders will get an early test in Section 2-2A play against Serra Catholic, which made it to the 2A quarterfinals last season. The teams met in nonsection play last season, with Riverview earning a 7-5 victory. Baseball: Plum takes on Fox Chapel in a nonsection game. The Mustangs advanced to the WPIAL playoffs last season but must replace a large senior class. The Foxes return a good deal of experience from a postseason qualifier. Two typically strong teams meet as Knoch hosts Riverside in a nonsection contest. The Knights are coming off back-to-back section championships. Riverside made it to the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals last season. Leechburg snapped its seven-year WPIAL playoff drought last season. The Blue Devils are hoping for more this season, but so is nonsection opponent Riverview under second-year coach Bill Gras. Some narrow losses kept the Raiders out of postseason play last season. WEDNESDAY Baseball: Burrell is expecting big things with several starters back from last season’s WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinal appearance. The Bucs hope to start strong as they host nonsection opponent Greensburg Central Catholic, a WPIAL and PIAA semifinalist last season in Class A. Highlands and Freeport no longer share the same section, but the local rivals will meet up for an early nonsection game. The visiting Golden Rams are chasing their first playoff appearance since 2003. Freeport is looking to replace several starters from a playoff team. Softball: Leechburg holds the WPIAL record for consecutive playoff appearances with 32, and the Blue Devils also will begin their hunt for a third consecutive Section 3-A title as they host Greensburg Central Catholic. Leechburg is replacing four-year starting pitcher Morgan Pierce. THURSDAY Baseball: Former section rivals Deer Lakes and Knoch meet up for a nonsection game. Deer Lakes, which dropped to Class 3A, is looking to senior Greg Geis. Jack Bartek returns atop Knoch’s rotation. Plum is a perennial playoff team under coach Carl Vollmer, a level Kiski Area hopes to reach under new leader Aaron Albert. The Mustangs and Cavaliers meet up for an intriguing nonsection contest. Softball: Knoch had a strong season in 2018, making it to the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs and winning a game to reach the quarterfinals, a track the Knights want to continue in 2019. They face a nonsection test against North Catholic, a WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinalist. Some narrow losses kept Plum out of the playoffs a season ago. After moving to Section 2-5A in the offseason, the Mustangs begin their section slate with a game against returning playoff qualifier Mars. Boys volleyball: Rivals Derry and Deer Lakes meet for the first time this season after sharing the Section 2-AA title last season. Derry finished as WPIAL runner-up, and Deer Lakes lost in the semifinals and in the consolation match to fall a win shy of the PIAA tournament.

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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