Alle-Kiski Valley players make next-level commitments

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020 | 6:04 PM


A little over a year ago, Makayla Jackson verbally committed to join the women’s volleyball team at Pitt.

The Plum senior made that decision final Wednesday as she signed with the Panthers.

“It felt like forever,” said Jackson, who help lead the Mustangs this fall to their first section championship since 2011 and the 16th in the history of the program.

Plum (16-1) capped its season with a loss to Montour in the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals.

“I am just glad this day is here, and I can get everything finalized,” she said. “I am ready to move on to the next step. It’s super exciting.”

Jackson joined dozens of athletes from throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and Pittsburgh region Wednesday in setting their Division I or II choices in stone on the first day of the NCAA early-signing period.

“Now that we’re here and signed and ready to go, we can realize that all the hard work has paid off,” Jackson said.

For all Division I and II sports except D-I basketball and D-I and D-II football, athletes now can sign any day through Aug. 1.

The early signing period for D-I basketball also began Wednesday, but it ends next Wednesday. A regular signing period runs from April 14 to May 19.

Football commits take center stage with an early signing period from Dec. 16-19 and the traditional regular period starting Feb. 3.

Fox Chapel’s Lucy Ream put pen to paper with the women’s soccer program at Eastern Kentucky.

Ream, an All-WPIAL selection this season, scored eight goals and added three assists as the Foxes won the Section 3-4A title and finished 11-3 overall.

Golfer Aiden Oehrle, also from Fox Chapel, verbally committed to D-I Lehigh in June, and he didn’t waiver in the five months since.

Oehrle helped the Foxes win the WPIAL and PIAA team titles as a junior. He also finished tied for third at the 2019 WPIAL individual championship and tied for fifth in his return trip this year. He shot a team-low 79 at this season’s WPIAL team finals.

Emily Kirkpatrick decided not to play soccer for Plum this fall, opting to concentrate, she said, on training six days a week with her Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy team. She hopes that training will build to successful results as she continues at the next level at Towson.

“(Wednesday) was very relieving because I had been holding on to (the verbal) for a long time and continuing to work toward it,” Kirkpatrick said. “I am very proud of myself for accomplishing this.”

Laura Greb, a four-time WPIAL singles champion who helped lead Knoch to this year’s WPIAL and PIAA Class AA team titles, hopes to make a similar impact at Dayton.

Greb, who also was in conversation with Michigan D-II schools Ferris State and Grand Valley State, is expected to finalize her decision with the Flyers on Thursday.

“I am super excited for this opportunity,” Greb said. “I have been working hard all my life with the goal to play Division I tennis. It’s a special feeling to be able to make that a reality.”

Wednesday’s D-I signees were joined by a host of others set to attend D-II schools.

They include Leechburg senior Cole Villa (men’s golf, Cal (Pa.)); Burrell’s Annie Weimer (women’s soccer, Edinboro); Plum’s Jamie Seneca (women’s soccer, Gannon); Matt Frazetta (baseball, Seton Hill); and AJ Koma (men’s soccer, Seton Hill).

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

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