Plum girls lacrosse again earns WPIAL playoff berth

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Friday, May 3, 2019 | 5:00 PM


The Plum girls lacrosse team has qualified for the WPIAL Class AA playoffs for the second year in a row.

Now, the Mustangs hope to make history with their first postseason win.

Coach Kayla Platt said her team impressed her with the way it battled through the regular season to earn the right to be in the playoffs.

The top six teams from each of the two Class AA sections earn berths in the tournament.

“The section was pretty competitive as everyone was trying to get to the playoffs,” Platt said. “A lot of teams surprised us. There were a lot of close battles, but the girls hung in there.”

The WPIAL playoff committee is to meet Friday to determine playoff matchups. The first-round games are scheduled for May 14).

Plum started 1-4 but rallied to even its overall mark at 7-7 heading into its Section 1 finale Monday against playoff-bound Franklin Regional. The match was to be contested past the deadline for this week’s edition.

Platt said the Franklin Regional match each season holds special meaning. It’s her alma mater and where she gained coaching experience at the high school level.

“Plum and Franklin Regional are developing a pretty competitive rivalry,” Platt said. “The teams and the schools are so close, and the players know each other really well. When I came to Plum, it took on a whole new meaning. No matter who wins, it will always be an intense and aggressive game.”

The Mustangs, 4-4 in the section before the Franklin Regional game, picked section victories over Greensburg Salem, Greensburg Central Catholic, Yough and Winchester Thurston.

Platt said two other section matchups, one against Aquinas Academy and the other against Ellis, were “close losses and games we should’ve won.”

Plum was able to weather the storms that are section leader Oakland Catholic and second-place Hampton during the late stages of their playoff quest.

The Eagles remained undefeated in the section with a 19-3 victory over the Mustangs.

“Oakland Catholic has become a powerhouse over the past couple of seasons, and they have several players who are committed to playing at the college level,” Platt said. “Their key to winning games is their transition. We learned a lot from that game.”

Hampton, the defending WPIAL Class AA champion, stopped Plum 19-6 on April 25.

“Hampton is a competitive team each season,” Platt said. “They have a strong program that always starts with their feeder program.”

Plum was to celebrate its four seniors — Sam Casile, Alexa Seigh, Nadia Freeman and Alex Ralph — in conjunction with Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Latrobe at Plum High School.

Platt said the seniors have been instrumental, on and off the field, in helping the team come together and make its mark in the early years of its journey as a full-fledged WPIAL program including getting to the playoffs this year and in 2018.

“This class is special to me because they made me have fun while coaching again,” Platt said. “Before every game, I tell the team the most important thing to do on the field is to have fun and play with heart.”

Platt said an addition to the coaching staff earlier this month has given the team a boost.

Octavia Richardson is a four-year letterman at NCAA Division I Johns Hopkins who also played professionally with the Long Island Sound of the United Women’s Lacrosse League.

“Originally, I asked her come in and do a clinic for us, and she said her schedule was open to do some assistant coaching,” Platt said. “Having her come to Pittsburgh and her being a part of the team with her knowledge of the sport is a big thing for the girls.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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