Plum’s Kaitlyn Killinger commits to Pitt women’s soccer

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Monday, April 18, 2022 | 10:53 AM


Pitt is it for another Plum girls soccer standout.

Junior Kaitlyn Killinger, an All-WPIAL and all-state forward who helped the Mustangs reach the WPIAL Class 3A championship game for the second year in a row and make a deep run in the PIAA playoffs, gave a verbal commitment to the Panthers on Friday afternoon.

She joins junior teammate and Plum defender Kaley Simqu in the upcoming Panthers’ recruiting class. Simqu made her decision with Pitt final a little more than a month ago.

“It’s a relief that the process is over, but now I understand that I have to prepare and work even harder in practices to be ready for when I go to Pitt and compete at the (Division I) level,” said Killinger, who led Plum with 30 goals and added 11 assists for the Mustangs (21-3-1).

“I’ve wanted to play Division I soccer since I was little, so that always was a part of my goals for working in practice. I am very happy that my dream has come true. I am very excited that I will continue to be teammates with Kaley.”

Killinger and Simqu will join 2021 Plum graduate Gina Proviano (Long Island) at the Division I level.

Killinger made her choice public with a Twitter post, thanking family, coaches and friends who helped her get to this point in her soccer career.

“I’ve seen (Pitt) play a few times, and I really like their style of play,” said Killinger, who was present for Pitt’s spring-season finale against West Virginia last Thursday. “(Pitt coaches) Randy (Waldrum) and Ben (Waldrum) have really turned the program around. That is pretty exciting because in the future, I think they will be a strong team. There are a lot of positive things happening.”

The Panthers capped their spring slate at 4-0-1 with additional victories over Penn State, Youngstown State and a Canadian national U-17 team.

Pitt finished the 2021 fall season 11-7 overall and 4-6 in the ACC. The Panthers tied the program record for single-season wins and ACC victories

“It’s definitely a plus that it is closer to home,” she said.

Killinger, who is in full swing with practices and games for her Hotspurs club team, said she was pretty sure of her decision before her visit to campus Thursday and the official announcement Friday.

The recruiting process included strong candidates in West Virginia and James Madison as well as interest from Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Kent State and LaSalle.

Killinger said she had been in touch with the Pitt women’s program in some fashion for the past three years since she sent out a highlight reels after attending an identification camp in eighth grade.

”I am really happy for Kaitlyn,” Plum coach Jamie Stewart said. “The recruiting process can be a long process for these kids. It was exciting to get that news from her that Pitt was where she was going to commit to go play. She’s such a super talented player who, obviously, scores a lot of goals for us and is able to do some incredible things with the ball. It really makes her a special player.”

Killinger put up quite a highlight reel for Plum in the 2021 season.

She finished the season with two hat tricks. The second one came in the Section 3-3A finale against Oakland Catholic, when she scored both goals in regulation and tallied the overtime winner in a 3-2 victory that kept Plum’s section-win streak alive at 34 games.

She also scored a goal and added an assist in the PIAA first-round game against Hollidaysburg — Plum’s first state playoff victory — and assisted on a goal in the 2-1 come-from-behind win over District 3 champion Mechanicsburg in the state quarterfinals.

The Mars defense gave up just four goals all season, but Killinger had one of those goals in Plum’s 2-1 loss to the Planets in the WPIAL title game at Highmark Stadium.

“We were pretty happy overall with how last season went, but we also know that we can still be good next season,” Killinger said. “We have a lot from the lineup coming back, so there is a lot of excitement.”

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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