Norwin notebook: Senior earns all-star volleyball invitation

Sunday, November 19, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Senior outside hitter Jillian Pensenstadler was set to represent Norwin at an all-star volleyball event.

The inaugural Westmoreland County Coaches Association girls volleyball match was a rousing success last fall, so it was a no-brainer for organizers to bring the event back.

This year’s match was scheduled for Nov. 21 at Ligonier Valley.

Last year, the West won 3-2, seizing the last two sets.

Volleyball joins a WCCA calendar of events that include championships for football (7-on-7), boys basketball, wrestling, bowling, golf, cross country, swimming and track and field.

Big 5/6 football

Penn-Trafford had eight players on the first team, Franklin Regional added five, and Norwin had four when the Big 5/6 Conference announced its all-section teams.

Penn-Trafford’s selections were junior center Ethan Septak, senior guard Riley McGraw, senior tight end Mark Jollie, junior running back Tasso Whipple, freshman running back Ben Grabowski, senior defensive end Matt Sarnowski, senior defensive tackle Zach Tomosovich, and senior defensive back Carmen Metcalfe.

Franklin Regional’s players were senior wide receiver Ayden Hudock, junior running back Kyle Dupill, junior kicker Joey Bayne, junior defensive tackle Andrew Devola, and senior linebacker Owen Sinclair.

For Norwin, it was sophomore quarterback Tristyn Tavares, senior receiver Luke Denny, senior defensive end Aidan Pham, and senior safety Jackson Pons.

Second-team picks included sophomore receiver Jake Knight, senior linebacker Antonio Rothrauff, and sophomore punter Evan Pfiefer.

No doubting Thomas

Alex Thomas skated off with six points as Norwin outscored North Hills, 9-5, in a high-scoring PIHL game at Palmer Imaging Arena East.

Thomas had two goals and four assists, while Dom Cerilli added two goals and two assists for the Knights (4-2).

Aaron Varrati and Parker Toth each contributed two assists.

Thomas and Dom Cerilli are the top two scorers in PIHL Class 2A.

Thomas was leading entire PIHL with 23 points. He also was the top scorer at the NAHL Tier 1 October Showcase with the Esmark Stars, tallying four goals and two assists to top the 18U group.


A pair of Norwin athletes made verbal commitments to college programs.

Baseball player Ty Cupp will continue his playing career at Mercyhurst of the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Cupp is a senior catcher for the Knights.

Senior basketball player Kendall Williams, meantime, announced she will play at Wilkes University, a Division III school located in Wilkes-Barre.

Williams, who battled an injury last season, is a key guard for the Lady Knights, who are expected to make a push for a WPIAL 6A title this winter.

• Norwin senior wrestler Nate Campbell, the Knights’ 172-pounder last season, received a Division I college offer from Virginia Military Academy.

• Norwin standout senior football player Luke Denny picked up a Division II scholarship offer from Clarion of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

College scene

Checking in on college athletes who played at Norwin:


Duquesne: Junior linebacker Gianni Rizzo collected a career-high 11 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks as the Dukes (6-4, 5-1) fell to Stonehill, 33-28. Rizzo was named a Northeast Conference Prime Performer.


Buffalo: Redshirt freshman Chase Kranitz won his first three matches of the season as the Bulls went 4-0 at the Buffalo Duals. Kranitz, a 184-pounder, posted two pins and a technical fall, with one of the pins coming against Seton Hill.

Men’s basketball

Mercyhurst: Freshman sixth-man Adam Bilinsky scored nine points and added three assists in 29 minutes for the Lakers in a 64-61 win over Bluefield State.

Women’s basketball

Grove City: Junior guard Mara Polczynski scored a team-high 14 points as the Wolverines opened the season with a 74-45 loss to Mary Washington.

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


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