Murrysville notebook: Franklin Regional boys soccer rounding into form

Saturday, October 1, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Lukas Petersen said he needed time to get to know his team, his players and his opponents.

He was, after all, hired in August to be the Franklin Regional boys soccer coach.

About four weeks into his first year, the Panthers are finding their rhythm and adapting to Petersen’s system.

The Panthers started 1-3 but made a fast turnaround, winning six in a row leading up to a rematch with No. 1-ranked Plum on Sept. 27 on the road.

“We have found a little more discipline,” Petersen said. “We will see if we found anything meaningful (against Plum).”

They sure did, knocking off the powerful Mustangs, 1-0, on a Danny Christafano goal in the final minute of the first half.

The Panthers outscored their opponents 39-2 during the seven-game win streak.

Petersen has seen balanced scoring from his team with 10 players finding the net, including Colton Hudson, Dylan Tomb, Joey Bayne, Billy Christafano and Gary Zhang.

Panthers fall in 2 OTs

The Franklin Regional football team was looking to carry the momentum from its upset of No. 1 Gateway into Shaler on Sept. 24. While the Panthers continued to move the ball and put up points, they lost a heartbreaker to the host Titans, 42-41, in double overtime.

Quarterback Roman Sarnic scored four touchdowns, the last of which came in the second OT on a 10-yard run to make it 41-34.

Shaler then scored on a 3-yard pass from Keegan Smetanka to Joey DeSabato, and the Titans went for two, with Brandon London catching the conversion pass from Smetanka for the win.

Ayden Hudock had two touchdowns early to give the Panthers a 13-0 lead.

Franklin Regional was 2-2 (1-0 5A Big East) heading into a home matchup against Plum.

WPIAL golf finals

Four players from Franklin Regional qualified to play in the WPIAL individual golf championships.

Junior Alu Boyle (86) and freshman Gianna Johnson (91) advanced out of the Section 3-3A tournament at Greensburg Country Club by meeting the target score of 92.

Boyle shot an 87 and Johnson a 92 in the first round of the WPIAL tournament at Youghiogheny Country Club. The final round was scheduled for Oct. 4 at Valley Brook C.C.

On the boys’ side, senior Noah Shilling (73) and freshman Colin Holt (82) qualified at the Section 4-3A tournament at Willowbrook Country Club.

Shilling shot a 79 in the first round of the WPIAL tournament at Champion Lakes and made the cut for the final round scheduled for Oct. 6 at Allegheny Country Club. Holt shot a 96 and did not qualify.

Double trouble

The WPIAL girls tennis doubles section tournaments were set for Sept. 28-29 around the district. Franklin Regional was set to compete in the Section 1-3A tournament.

The top four teams in each section advanced to the WPIAL finals set for Oct. 5-6 at Bethel Park (3A) and North Allegheny (2A).

College scene

Checking in on Franklin Regional athletes playing in college:


Washington & Jefferson: Junior linebacker Justin Johns had six tackles and forced fumble in a 50-7 victory over Bethany.

Men’s soccer

• Grove City: Sophomore defender Luke Kimmich had an assist in a 3-0 victory over Chatham. He added another helper for the Wolverines (4-4) in a 6-0 victory over Franciscan.

• Penn State Behrend: Sophomore midfielder Blake Cooper scored the game-winning goal with 36 seconds left in regulation as the Lions edged past Marietta, 2-1. He also had an assist in the victory, which moved Behrend to 4-1-3 on the season.

Women’s volleyball

• DePaul: Sophomore Aly Kindelberger has played in 55 sets, has 94 kills and leads the team with 59 blocks (1.07 per set).

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


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