Plum spring athletes earn postseason honors

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Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Rayla Smith was an offensive force for the Plum girls lacrosse team this spring.

The freshman attacker didn’t shy away from going to the goal, and she finished the season with more than 40 goals for a Mustangs squad that had designs on the WPIAL playoffs from the start of practices in March.

Plum saw its goals realized with a playoff-clinching record in Section 1-AA play against the likes of Indiana, Oakland Catholic and Hampton. Plum earned the No. 7 seed for the Class AA playoffs, but it fell to perennial playoff qualifier Quaker Valley, 15-8, concluding a productive season.

Smith and others from that squad recently were recognized with postseason all-star recognition by coaches in the section and throughout the WPIAL.

Smith was an All-WPIAL selection, and she and senior Maggie Anderson shared first-team all-section honors.

Voted to the second team were freshmen Allie Venanzi and Sophie Anderson, who also enjoyed breakout seasons with the Mustangs.

Plum baseball, softball and volleyball athletes also earned all-section and All-WPIAL recognition.

Senior 6-foot-5 middle hitter Alex Vidas was a force at the net for the Plum boys volleyball team, and he earned All-WPIAL first-team laurels in Class AA as he helped guide the Mustangs through a truncated Section 2-AA slate and into the playoffs.

Plum, the No. 9 seed in the Class AA bracket, outlasted No. 8 Trinity, 3-2, in the first round before falling to No. 1 Seton LaSalle, the eventual WPIAL champion, in the quarterfinals.

The WPIAL first-round win was the program’s first since the 2015 team toppled North Allegheny, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Class AAA tournament.

Senior 6-5 right-side hitter Evan Azzara was voted to the Section 2 first team, and 6-2 junior outside hitter Cameron Moss was a second-team selection.

Plum softball had two players — sophomore first baseman Makenzie Lang and senior pitcher Melanie Meinke — named to the Section 1-5A first team.

Lang, in her varsity debut this season, led the team in home runs (8) and RBIs (26). Plum, which captured its second straight section title in 2021, suffered a first-round upset loss to Fox Chapel in the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.

Meinke tallied 171 strikeouts against just 15 walks over 111 innings and finished with a 2.14 ERA.

Second-team honorees were senior second baseman Fran Beighley, junior outfielder Maura Marston and senior catcher Hannah Blanford.

Honorable-mention picks were junior infielders Jaralyn Kincaid and Ashley Polakovic and senior outfielder Jillian Durst.

Plum baseball won the outright Section 2-5A title this spring. It was the Mustangs’ first section crown since 2016 and the 19th in the history of the program.

The team fell to Latrobe, 8-7, in a WPIAL first-round game and finished 11-7 overall.

Senior outfielder Nate McMasters is the lone Plum representative on the Section 2 first team.

He batted .386 (22 of 57) with a team-best 11 doubles to go along with 10 RBIs and 19 runs scored.

Mustangs second-team selections were senior infielder Matt Frazzetta, junior infielder Colin Solinski and junior pitcher Justin Giarrusso.

Sophomore infielder Caden Norcutt was an honorable-mention pick.

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

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