Mt. Pleasant girls, GCC boys among top Westmoreland County seeds vying for WPIAL gold

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022 | 7:02 PM


Mt. Pleasant never has won a WPIAL girls soccer title.

The league’s soccer committee thinks the Vikings have a legit shot this year. Why else would they be seeded No. 2 in the Class 2A tournament?

Mt. Pleasant (16-1), fresh off its first section title since 2016, did not get the top seed, but it gladly will take the next-best thing.

Perennial power North Catholic (13-1) was given No. 1 seed.

Both teams were section champions. North Catholic, the champion in 2019 and ’20, is seeking its fourth straight trip to the finals.

“We thought we had a shot at (No. 1),” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said. “Legacy tells you schools have been there before, and that is what (the WPIAL) went with. We understand that. We’re new here.”

The Vikings, who host 15th-seeded West Mifflin (7-6-1) on Tuesday, have a school-record 12 shutouts — behind a solid defense and goalkeeper Laurel Rummel — and have used a high-powered offense to score 108 goals.

Two area boys teams also were awarded top-three seeds.

Greensburg Central Catholic (14-1) is No. 1 in Class A, and Norwin (11-5) took the No. 3 spot in 4A.

GCC, which averages nearly nine goals a game, has been to the finals four straight years and won titles in 2019 and ’20.

Seniors Carlo Denis (49 goals) and Kyler Miller (36) are the top two goal scorers in the WPIAL. Denis has more than 100 career goals.

“There is no easy game in the playoffs,” said GCC coach Rob Fabean, whose Centurions play No. 16 Bishop Canevin (2-12-1) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Norwin, the team’s postseason home for the last few years.

“You still have to win four games to win it all. It doesn’t matter what side of the bracket you’re on. You never know what’s going to happen in the playoffs. We feel we can score with anybody.”

Norwin, winners of 11 of its last 12 games, opens play in the eight-team Class 4A bracket at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at home against Pine-Richland (12-4-1).

The Franklin Regional boys, no stranger to long postseason runs in recent years, earned the No. 4 seed in 3A. The Panthers (14-4), section co-champions with No. 2 Plum (16-1-1), will host No. 13 Montour (9-4-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re seeded where we thought we’d be,” Panthers coach Lukas Petersen said “We’re excited to get going. If we play like we did (in Monday’s 3-1 win over Fox Chapel), there is a chance we’ll be competitive every game.”

The Panthers could get a quarterfinal rematch with Kiski Area (14-3), the No. 5 seed.

The Franklin Regional girls (10-5-2), backed by a solid back line and goalkeeper Aris Lamanna, are No. 9 in 3A and have a tough opener at No. 8 South Fayette (11-4-1) at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

South Fayette edged Franklin Regional on penalty kicks (2-1) in last year’s quarterfinals.

Mt. Pleasant’s girls could see rival Southmoreland (11-3-1) in the second round. The 10th-seeded Scotties will visit No. 7 Freeport (13-2) at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“We figured we’d get someone from (Freeport’s) section,” Scotties coach Josh Pajak said. “The seeding is inconsequential, really.”

As for a rubber match with Mt. Pleasant?

“If anyone is looking ahead to the second round, they probably won’t see a second round … or a third,” Pajak said.

Two Westmoreland County girls teams are No. 5 seeds: Latrobe (10-2-2) in 3A and Greensburg Central Catholic (10-3) in Class A.

Latrobe, seeking the program’s first playoff win, hosts No. 12 Ringgold (11-6-1) at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Career 100-goal scorer Sara Felder and GCC (11-4), a WPIAL and PIAA finalist the last two years, plays No. 12 Riverside (5-9) at 2 p.m. Saturday at an odd location: Peters Township.

GCC coach Kara Batey said she did not have any issue with the draw.

The Centurions are seeking a fourth straight finals appearance.

Other Westmoreland County matchups:

• The Belle Vernon boys are a No. 5 seed in 2A. The Leopards (13-4) host No. 12 West Mifflin (11-6-1) at 6:30 p.m. Monday. In the same bracket, 16th-seeded Mt. Pleasant (8-8-2) will play at No. 1 South Park (17-0) at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Yough’s girls (10-6-1) and career 100-goal scorer McKenzie Pritts open play in the Class 2A bracket at No. 6 Shady Side Academy (9-5) at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

• Both of Penn-Trafford’s teams have low seeds. The No. 14 boys (9-8-1) will play at No. 3 Thomas Jefferson (16-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the 3A first round. The No. 16 girls (7-6-4) play a 3A preliminary-round game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at home against No. 17 Connellsville (8-9). The winner gets No. 1 Mars (14-0) on Monday.

The other top boys seeds are Seneca Valley (4A), Moon (3A) and South Park (2A). For the girls, they are North Allegheny (4A) and Freedom (A).

The WPIAL finals will be Nov. 3-5 at Highmark Stadium. Times have not been announced.

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

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