High school notebook: GCC tennis takes aim at finals berth

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Saturday, September 30, 2017 | 10:12 PM


A sneaky-good WPIAL girls tennis rivalry opens to another chapter this week.

Greensburg Central Catholic will get a rematch with Sewickley Academy when the teams meet at 3 p.m. Monday at Shady Side Academy in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals.

Last year, GCC lost to the Panthers, 5-0, in the quarterfinals.

GCC also fell to Sewickley three years ago in the semis, 3-2. However, it was advantage GCC when it beat the Panthers in the WPIAL championship in 2013.

Golf finals

Three more individual golf champions will be crowned this week with the WPIAL Class AAA boys finals Tuesday at Nemacolin Country Club in Bealsville, and the Class AAA and AA girls championships set for Wednesday at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley.

Westmoreland County has had golf champions before, but it has been a few years since a local player won.

Belle Vernon's Bo Lustig was the last county champ, winning in 2010 to follow Latrobe's Ben Gjebre's win the previous year. Other area AAA boys champs include: Tim Moynihan, Franklin Regional (2002); Nate Speer, Burrell (1998); Brian Tutich, Greensburg C.C. (1993); Kevin Reisenweaver, Latrobe (1986); Seth Pevarnik, Greensburg C.C. (1985); Paul Balest, Greensburg Salem (1983); Bob Bradley, Hempfield (1979); Ray Nelson, Ligonier (1977); Scott Yard, Greensburg (1963); and of course, Arnold Palmer, Latrobe (1946-47). Palmer was the county's only back-to-back winner on the boys side.

Girls champs from Westmoreland include Olivia Zambruno, Greensburg C.C. (2014-15); Janista Numpho-Frank, Hempfield (2012); Katie Miller, Hempfield (2002); Tara Adams, Latrobe (1992); Staci Aber, Greensburg C.C. (1988, 1990-91); and Kelli Weaver, Latrobe (1987).

Kennedy invited

Jeannette standout senior quarterback Robert Kennedy was invited to play in the 12th annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Dec. 30 in New Orleans.

Past players in the game include Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton, Eli Manning and Dez Bryant.

Kennedy this season has scored touchdowns via pass, rush, punt return and interception return.

Stone interest grows

Former Southmoreland basketball standout Brandon Stone is garnering attention from coaches around the country.

Wake Forest coach Danny Manning recently was in to see Stone, the 6-foot-11 combo-forward who transferred to The Christ School in Arden, N.C.

Stone has a dozen Division I scholarship offers, Penn State and Houston among them. Stone said he will visit Pitt on Oct. 13 and Indiana Oct. 21.

Bouncing back

The Norwin girls soccer team rebounded from its first loss since rising to No. 1 in the Top Drawer Soccer national rankings.

After a 1-0 loss to Penn-Trafford that ended Norwin's 47-game unbeaten streak in regular-season play, and a 43-game unbeaten streak in section games, Norwin (8-1, 4-1) downed Baldwin on Saturday.

Some called Norwin's loss stunning. But maybe the it wasn't as surprising considering the competition that it once overshadowed: Penn-Trafford has nine starters back from a team that went 15-4-1 and made the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals. Among them are seniors Mackenzie Aunkst (West Virginia), Hannah Nguyen (Duquesne), Lauren Stovar (Army) and Brady Tramuta (Seton Hill), and junior Kiley Dugan (Valparaiso).

The Warriors (8-2, 5-0) are a game ahead of Norwin in Section 4-AAAA.

Norwin could feel a sense of relief after the loss, an itchy blanket of pressure off at least one leg.

“You can't have an undefeated season every year,” Norwin coach Lauren Karcher said. “Maybe it's good to get this out of the way now and move on.”

Tight section

Boys soccer in Section 4-AAAA should be a slugfest as it decides its four WPIAL playoff teams — and a section champion.

Heading into the weekend, there was little space between the teams with Franklin Regional leading at 7-2, Norwin next at 5-2-1, Connellsville at 6-3, Penn-Trafford at 5-2-2 and Latrobe at 3-6.

Franklin Regional and Connellsville each have split with Penn-Trafford and Norwin. Penn-Trafford plays at Norwin on Oct. 12.

Belle Vernon record

Excuse the Belle Vernon boys soccer team for being greedy. Goalkeeper Cam Guess and the Leopards have put a bank-vault door over the net this season.

Belle Vernon (9-1-1) shut out nine of its 11 opponents, including seven consecutive “clean sheets,” as the soccer folks say, to set a team record. The Leopards have clinched a WPIAL playoff spot and host Section 3-AAA-leading Ringgold Tuesday at James Weir Stadium.

The 2010 team had the previous record of five straight shutouts.

Zemba steps down

Rich Zemba resigned as girls basketball coach at Derry after five seasons. He is working at a new job that requires more of his time.

Two seasons ago, Zemba guided the struggling Trojans to their first outright section title and first winning season since 2008. He finished with a record of 38-68 with two WPIAL playoff appearances.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter@BillBeckner.

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