Penn-Trafford, Latrobe tangle for WPIAL field hockey title

Friday, October 28, 2022 | 7:39 PM

The Latrobe field hockey team never has defeated Penn-Trafford in Jeff Giordan’s 13 seasons as coach.

But he hopes the first win comes Saturday when the Wildcats face the perennial Class 2A power Warriors in the WPIAL finals at Washington & Jefferson’s Cameron Stadium.

Both teams come into the game riding long winning streaks. The Warriors (15-4) have won nine consecutive, and the Wildcats (8-4-2) have won five.

The teams met twice this season with the Warriors winning both times 4-2, and 3-2.

“They are best team we’ve faced all season,” Penn-Trafford coach Cindy Dutt said. “They are the only team that has consistently scored against us. It will be a contrast of offenses: We like to be patient, and they like to use the long ball. Josie Straigis has one of the hardest shots we’ll face.”

Straigis scored the winning goal in overtime Thursday when Latrobe defeated Fox Chapel, 2-1.

Penn-Trafford is led by junior Ava Hershberger, who has scored 39 goals, breaking her own school record in a 7-0 win against Oakland Catholic.

Hershberger had one goal in the game. Senior Ella Morocco scored four.

Morocco, Megan McBarron and Maddy Keenan also have been filling the net, giving the Warriors other weapons.

“Teams try to take Ava away, and I’m sure Latrobe will do that,” Dutt said. “We lost a chunk from our roster this season, but the girls that moved up have stepped up.”

Latrobe has also played well since its last loss, which was to Penn-Trafford. During the five-game winning streak was Latrobe’s first win against Fox Chapel. Now it has two wins against the Foxes.

The Wildcats have 18 seniors on the roster and are led by senior captains Taylor Desko (defender), Megan Brackney (forward) and Straigis (midfielder). Others contributing include Lauren Sepp, Hope Carney and sophomore goalkeeper McKenna Brackney.

“We’ve never beaten them, but anything can happen,” Giordan said. “Anything can happen. We need to start off better than we did against Oakland Catholic.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at

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