Latrobe girls upset No. 5 Franklin Regional in Section 3-3A soccer match

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | 10:52 PM

You would have thought Latrobe had just won a championship as the girls soccer team’s bus pulled out of Franklin Regional on Wednesday night.

There was singing and laughing, and it was loud.

The celebration showed just how much a 1-0 Section 3-3A victory over fifth-ranked Franklin Regional meant to the Wildcats.

Many of the players play against each other on the travel circuit, which makes the matchup a friendly rivalry. That also fed into the postgame excitement, which was part joy, part relief the game was over.

“These games, these 1-0 kind of games get your heart racing,” said Latrobe sophomore midfielder Robin Reilly, who scored the game’s only goal. “We really had to play well defensively. That was one of the best games we have played.”

Latrobe (3-2-1, 3-1) had dropped two games in a row and fell from the TribLive HSSN top-five rankings, and Franklin Regional (5-2, 3-1) was playing its first game since taking over the No. 5 spot.

Latrobe looked like the slower team in a 4-2 loss to PlumPlum tends to do that to teams — but the Wildcats were the quicker foe this time, nimble on the attack and alert for oncoming defenders.

Usually, Franklin Regional is the one shutting teams out.

“We showed up tonight,” Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison said. “Our intensity level was 100 percent, and we played our game. We came out on our front foot.”

The Panthers had allowed just one goal all season, but Reilly finally broke up an otherwise nondescript first half when she slinged a shot past Franklin Regional junior goalkeeper Aris Lamanna in the 34th minute.

Freshman Mackenzie Kubistek set up Reilly for the score.

“I faked one way, took the center back 1-v-1 and went left side with my right foot,” said Reilly, who has four goals this season.

The precious score held up as the Wildcats limited scoring chances and kept the ball in their end. Their attack kept the gas pedal down, but the Wildcats could not add to their lead in the second 40 minutes.

“Latrobe just has some really good players,” Franklin Regional coach Scott Arnold said. “We need to be able to score more. We’re still a young team, and we’re learning how to so some things offensively. With us, details are super important.”

Lamanna made six saves on a busy night.

Both teams could not manage to avoid injury in a physical matchup.

Senior forward Sierra Todero of Franklin Regional and Latrobe sophomore Ava Yurko went down with a leg injury and did not return.

Both were going to get evaluated, the coaches said.

With the key starters out, the coaches made some position changes. Latrobe, for instance, moved junior Ella Bulava, a Maryland commit, from the midfield to the back.

“You’ve got a D-I, Big Ten player back there, and she is an awesome player,” Arnold said.

“There are no breaks. Losing Sierra is big. She just plays so hard. She got hurt sliding for a ball.”

Franklin Regional had few chances in the first 40 minutes, sending just two shots on frame toward senior Sofia DeCerb, who was playing just her third game of the season since returning from a shoulder injury.

The James Madison commit watched the ball bounce around on the opposite end for a large portion of the night. When Franklin Regional did get close, defenders knocked the ball away. DeCerb had two saves.

“This is a really big win for us,” DeCerb said. “We had a rough start to the season, but we’re starting to play like we can again.”

Latrobe had a few chances to make it a two-goal game.

Reilly dished to freshman Annalyse Bauer, who nearly ran into Lamanna as the keeper fell on the ball in the 60th minute.

Bauer also made a move, to center mid, while sophomore Bri Hoffer, who also left the game with an ankle injury, played in the midfield.

Reilly nearly scored when she got ahead of a rush with 25 minutes remaining, but Lamanna made the save.

Junior defender Ava Lorenzi did not play for Latrobe (illness).

With about eight minutes left, Lamanna came way up the field to take a free kick. She had to hustle back because Reilly was in pursuit. Just as Lamanna was back in position, Reilly ripped a shot wide left.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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