Norwin’s Lacey Bernick, Katelyn Kauffman among those to sign with Pitt soccer

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 | 6:58 PM

Lacey Bernick and Katelyn Kauffman were a dynamic one-two punch for the Norwin girls soccer team.

Fast on the outside, nimble on possessions and often marked, the forward/midfielders drew college attention early in their careers as they helped the Knights remain a top-end team in WPIAL Class AAAA.

The All-WPIAL pair also will play college soccer together, and they confirmed their package deal to Pitt on Wednesday.

Pitt had a big influence on national letter of intent day locally as WPIAL athletes in all sports except for football could sign with colleges.

The Panthers landed local women’s talent in soccer, softball and volleyball.

“I couldn’t be more excited to get there and start playing at such a high level,” said Bernick, who also will reunite with former Norwin teammate Eva Frankovic, a freshman defender at Pitt. “It’s such a huge honor and accomplishment. Knowing Kate and Eva will be there is something that’s so special, and I can’t wait to be able to start this next chapter with them.”

Because of covid-19 regulations preventing gatherings, athletes who normally would fax letters from their high school athletic offices instead put their electronic signatures to DocuSign documents.

“It’s super-exciting knowing that the next four years will be at home, at such a great school,” Kauffman said. “I’m looking forward to all the success we will have. It’s relieving knowing that I will have two great friends, Lacey and Eva, that I will have by my side along the way.”

Mt. Pleasant softball standout Haylie Brunson made her verbal commitment to Pitt official. The versatile power hitter could fit in as a corner infielder or outfielder.

“This is a dream come true,” Brunson said. “I am so ecstatic. It is so exciting to know that all our hard work has paid off.”

Back to soccer, Pitt also signed Mars star Ellie Coffield and North Allegheny standouts Sarah Schupansky and Madison Vukas. Coffield has helped Mars win back-to-back WPIAL Class AAA titles and reach the No. 1 national ranking by U.S. Soccer Coaches.

Schupansky and Vukas led the Tigers to a WPIAL repeat in Class AAAA, including a win over Norwin in last year’s district final.

Norwin had a record of 63-11-2 with Bernick and Kauffman, both 40-plus goal scorers, on the roster.

Pitt coach Randy Waldrum thinks Bernick and Kauffman can play important roles with the Panthers.

“Lacey’s athleticism is exceptional,” the coach said. “She has the ability to beat opponents off the dribble or with her movement off the ball that makes a real threat to the opposition. We think she’ll be a great asset to the program. … Katelyn’s overall quickness and athleticism combined with her technical qualities will enhance our team’s attack. She has the strength and power to play with her back to goal as a target forward. She possesses a change of pace that’s dynamic and can cause the opposition problems in and around the final third.”

The girls won a PIAA title as freshmen and were on a WPIAL runner-up team as juniors. That helped open the pipeline to Pitt.

“Norwin girls soccer has had some real talent come through the program,” Kauffman said. “We have had a bunch of success and great memories made. “You will definitely see more D-I recruits coming out of Norwin.”

Pitt’s women’s volleyball team added a WPIAL signee in Plum 6-foot-1 hitter Makayla Jackson.

Westmoreland signees

Division I

John Altieri, Norwin (Clarion, wrestling)

Haylie Brunson, Mt. Pleasant (Pitt, softball)

Lacey Bernick, Norwin (Pitt, soccer)

Carter Dibert, Franklin Regional (Arizona State, wrestling)

Anna Durmis, Norwin (William & Mary, soccer)

Phil Fox, Hempfield (Gardner-Webb, baseball)

Alex Gabauer, Norwin (Penn, baseball)

Tyler Hoover, Penn-Trafford (Canisius, baseball)

Emma Hoffner, Hempfield (Ohio, softball)

Katelyn Kauffman, Norwin (Pitt, soccer)

Aly Kindelberger, Franklin Regional (DePaul, volleyball)

Izzy Laurita, Belle Vernon (Georgia State, soccer)

Andrew Muraco, Franklin Regional (Coastal Carolina, baseball)

Courtney Poulich, Mt. Pleasant (Liberty, softball)

Mary Smithnosky, Mt. Pleasant (Western Michigan, softball)

Division II

Brooke Cleland, Penn-Trafford (Seton Hill, softball)

Sydney Caldwell, Franklin Regional (Seton Hill, soccer)

Samantha Felder, Greensburg Central Catholic (IUP, soccer)

Kamaria Kelly, Franklin Regional (Alderson Broaddus, softball)

Mackenzie Leeder, Mt. Pleasant (Duquesne, soccer)

Emma Little, Penn-Trafford (Bloomsburg, softball)

Joe McIntosh, Penn-Trafford (Cal U, baseball)

Jessica Nemeth, Greensburg Central Catholic (IUP, soccer)

Brian Pirone, Franklin Regional (Seton Hill, baseball)

Allie Prady, Penn-Trafford (Fairmont State, softball)

Tim Quinn, Franklin Regional (Mercyhurst, baseball)

Danielle Rosso, Norwin (West Liberty, basketball)

Callie Sowers, Hempfield (Bloomsburg, softball)

Luke Treloar, Franklin Regional (Cal U, baseball)

Alex Turowski, Penn-Trafford (Fairmont State, golf)

Brooke Ulery, Mt. Pleasant (Cleveland State, soccer)

Jayden Walker, Norwin (Mercyhurst, baseball)

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

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