Deeper lineup helps Valley boys golfers reach WPIAL playoffs
Monday, October 11, 2021 | 10:17 AM
The Valley boys golf team successfully checked off a couple of goal-oriented boxes this season.
The Vikings were hoping to improve on last year’s .500 record. Check. Through 11 matches, Valley was 8-3.
The Vikings also were hoping to advance to the WPIAL team championship. Check again.
Valley tied for second with Riverview in Section 1-AA with a 7-3 record. Burrell captured first place.
“Finishing with a better record than last year was our goal,” said Pat Petit, Valley’s third-year coach. “Making the playoffs was icing on the cake. The school not being able to field a boys soccer team helped the golf team gain three golfers.
“I was hoping to improve, and we accomplished that. These boys all are friends, and they played over the summer. My assistant coach, ‘Mailman,’ took them golfing (regularly), and it showed. I want to make sure Rob Abt doesn’t go unnoticed because he has been an assistant golf coach for 16 years. He is a real asset, and I couldn’t have done it without him.”
The WPIAL team playoffs get underway Tuesday with 19 boys squads in Class AA playing to advance out of semifinal tournaments at Indian Run in Avella and Meadowink in Murrysville.
Nine teams will compete at each site, with the top three from each advancing to the WPIAL finals Thursday at Cedarbrook.
The Vikings, whose home course is at Buffalo, have been led this fall by seniors Ben Aftanas, Isaac Kelley and Dario Wolfe, who’s also a football player.
“Ben and Isaac bring leadership qualities and lead by example,” Petit said. “Ben is consistent in both aspects, making sure he doesn’t miss practice or matches, along with working his hardest to get better. Isaac pretty much serves the same purpose, but he’s always wanting to listen and work hard. I must say he does have a funny side to him, so he brings a lot of laughs.”
“We had four guys step up in a big way this year, Dan Petrick, Ethan Harclerode, Landon Harclerode and Maddox DeAntonio,” Aftanas said. “Without these guys, we wouldn’t have had a team. With the help of Isaac, we asked these guys to come out for the team and see if they liked it.
“These guys, along with Isaac and Nick Swierczewski, have made my senior season very enjoyable. Isaac has really progressed. I’ve been really impressed with him, especially over our last few matches.”
Along with Aftanas and Kelley, there are several other integral competitors on the boys team.
“Then, we picked up a gem in junior Daniel Petrick. He has added a lot to the team. I just wish he would’ve started when he was a freshman.”
Rounding out the squad are brothers, junior Ethan Harlcerode and freshman Landon Harlcerode, and another freshman prospect, Maddox DeAntonio. All three are former soccer players at Valley.
“I just can’t say enough about this group,” Petit said. “They are like my own kids. They never complain, and they want to play golf and get better.
“I am looking forward to the future of Valley golf. It looks very bright. I will have five returning players, and I can only hope to pick up a couple more during the offseason.”
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