Bethel Park boys lacrosse looks forward to promising future

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Saturday, May 29, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Bethel Park’s boys lacrosse team ended the regular season in third place in Section 1-AAA at 6-2, behind only Mt. Lebanon (8-0) and Upper St. Clair (7-1) and ahead of Peters Township (5-3) and Canon-McMillan (4-4).

The Black Hawks landed the sixth seed for the WPIAL playoffs, then edged No. 11 Fox Chapel, 5-4, in the first round before losing a 14-7 decision to No. 3 North Allegheny to finish 10-6 overall.

“I think our team did very well this year,” Bethel Park coach Tim Schreiber said. “I’m most proud of the way the boys grew individually and as a team while dealing with a lot of things that were out of their control like injuries and covid quarantines.

“The future is bright. We are returning a lot of our core contributors from this season and are excited to see how our younger players grow and develop between now and next season.”

Junior midfielder Troy Volpatti said he and his teammates were disappointed with the quarterfinal-round loss but were nevertheless upbeat about the Black Hawaks’ overall effort this season.

“Even though we didn’t make it as far as we wanted to (in the playoffs), we all still played until the very end and never gave up,” Volpatti said. “I loved this season and had a great time making new friends that developed into a brotherhood. It’s sad to see the seniors go because I’ve been playing with those guys since I was 5 or 6 years old and it’s been a great time with them. But I expect the team to be back with some juice next year.”

Volpatti is a two-sport standout, as he was the leading rusher on the football team last fall as a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back/defensive back.

Other gridders on the lacrosse team included seniors Jason Muench (WR), Grant Eckert (WR) and Dylan Fusca (RB), and junior RB Weston Konopka.

The Black Hawks, led by Volpatti, outscored the opposition by a 148-120 difference.

Volpatti ended the spring season as the team’s leading scorer with 32 goals and 21 assists (54 points).

“I had a decent season but couldn’t have done it without the other midfielders and attackmen giving me assists and open lanes to score,” he said.

Two other top players for Bethel Park were senior midfielder Justin Wodarek, who clicked for 23 goals and six assists, and junior goalkeeper Owen Peters, who made 182 saves and averaged 6.8 goals allowed.

“After losing several seniors last year, we knew this would be a rebuilding year,” Peters said. “On top of restructuring our team, we were dealing with the pandemic. I am very proud of what the team was able to accomplish this year. We battled through many obstacles with players being out due to injury or quarantining.

“We plan on using this year’s experience to motivate us and work even harder during the offseason. I think we’ll come back stronger and smarter about the game. As a team, the goal should be to watch film and work on developing our individual skills.”

Peters (6-2, 195) played football for 10 years as a middle linebacker/tight end but has made lacrosse a focal point in his life the past two years. He competes for The Dukes Lacrosse Club in Philadelphia in the offseason.

“After playing both football and lacrosse my freshman year, I decided to focus on lacrosse and pursue my goal of playing in college,” Peters said. “I believe I had my best season yet. I felt I stepped up and made big saves in key moments.

“I try to be a leader for my teammates. The goalie’s job is to be the general of the defense.”

Volpatti, Wodarek and Peters usually were joined in the game-day lineup by Alex Greene, Matt Kopp and Kyle Mattola at the attack position; Kelton Kramer, Max Radcliffe and Alex Remington at midfield; Muench and Fusca as defensive midfielders; and Eckert, Nate Yoder, Dylan Wentz and Robbie Abraham on defense.

Volpatti, Peters and Muench were all-section selections.

Mattola and Remington are seniors, while Greene, Kopp, Kramer, Radcliffe, Yoder, Wentz and Abraham are juniors.

“Next year’s team is going to be the same if not better,” Volpatti said. “We are a young team with a lot of experience so we should be very good.”

Peters, who enjoys working on graphics and film editing along with bike riding and pickup basketball games in his spare time, agreed with his teammate.

“I am looking forward to a WPIAL championship run next year,” he said. “Personally, I’m going to give everything I have to make that happen.”

Unfortunately, Wodarek’s season was cut short due to an injury.

“Two of our defenseman, Dylan Wentz and Nate Yoder, really stepped up and played well at the end of the season,” Schreiber said.

Kopp (19 goals, 5 assists) and Greene (9 goals, 14 assists) ranked third and fourth in scoring for the Black Hawks. Muench racked up a team-high 40 ground balls.

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