Bethel Park girls lacrosse celebrates 1st section title since ’12

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Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair battled for first place in Section 1-AAA in girls lacrosse all season.

So perhaps it was only fitting the three South Hills rivals ended up in a three-way tie atop the standings, all with 9-1 records.

The Black Hawks clinched a share of the title May 14 with a 22-7 win in a rescheduled game against Norwin, wrapping up the regular season with a 13-2 overall record.

It is the team’s first section championship since 2012.

“We have worked a lot to see each game as a chance to improve, regardless of the score,” Bethel Park coach Becky Luzier said. “I’m proud of the girls for that. That level of focus and competitiveness can be tough to sustain at this age. Our team culture is family and team first over self, and this group really embodies that.”

Bethel Park racked up a 275-99 scoring advantage prior to its regular-season finale, averaging 18.3 goals per game.

Junior midfielder Caitlyn Schultz led the scoring through 14 games with 57 goals and 26 assists, to go along with 40 draw controls.

Schultz connected in overtime to lift the Black Hawks to a 13-12 victory against a gutsy Moon squad in the first round of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs. The teams were tied at 7-7 at halftime.

“That was one of my biggest goals,” Schultz said. “That one and my goal against Mt. Lebo my freshman year. It was also a game-winning goal in overtime.

“I felt relieved we won the game and we scored first (in OT), especially because the other team had the ball before that play.”

Schultz has a 4.1 GPA and is a swimmer and former soccer player. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Principal Advisory Council of Students (PACS), Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), a business and marketing club (DECA) and the homecoming committee.

Schultz finished with three goals against Moon.

“Our team’s performance has been outstanding,” she said. “We really pulled through with everything and I’m super proud of everyone. The season was super great, and still is even after the losses.”

Bethel Park junior midfielders Riley Miller and Tori Krapp enjoyed outstanding regular seasons. With one game left, Miller had connected for 40 goals, 26 assists and 82 draw controls; Krapp added 26 goals, 11 assists and 45 DCs.

“Even I was amazed when I saw the number of draw controls the three middies combined for,” Luzier said. “I knew it was going to be high but they exceeded my expectations.”

Senior attacker Lucia Coccagno, a third-year varsity captain, chipped in with 49 goals and 11 assists.

“We play a pretty balanced game across the board so although we have players with more goals than others, everyone gets in the mix,” Luzier said. “Assists, caused turnovers, draw controls …. they’re all valued more highly in our team stats than just goals alone, and this group bought into that.”

Bethel Park was anchored defensively this year by juniors Chloe McDaniel and Megan Cunningham, in front of senior goalkeeper McKenna Moriarity.

“We had several middies playing defense this spring after graduating the majority of our defense group in the 2019-20 class,” Luzier said. “Most middies probably feel caged down there, but this group never complained and has kept team first at the heart of their mission as players.

“My only two returning defenders on the team, Meg Cunningham, who battled back from a serious knee injury she sustained during our first regular-season game, and Chloe McDaniel are great communicators who can carry the ball well, play excellent shutdown defense and cause turnovers.

“The defense doesn’t get much love, but having such a small roster everyone really needs to carry their weight and be flexible.”

The Black Hawks saw their 2021 season end May 19 with a 20-7 loss to Sewickley Academy in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

“This group had hoped to build off a really strong 2019 year,” Luzier said, “so they kind of feel like they lost their first run at a title when last spring was canceled.

“They are competitors, and my money is always going to be on them when it comes down to effort and drive.”

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