Scholastic Notebook – 11/02/2012

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Friday, November 2, 2012 | 4:50 PM


Three of the Planets are aligned for championships. And looking through the telescope, the WPIAL solar system has looked this way only once before.

But the Mars Planets sports teams won’t be alone in their triple crown run Saturday.

Both Mars and Greensburg Central Catholic have three sports teams that have made it to WPIAL championships Saturday – the boys and girls soccer teams, and the girls volleyball team. It is quite an unusual feat to see such championship potential from one school. How unusual? Well, in the history of the WPIAL, only once before has a school had two soccer teams and one volleyball team in the title games.

Mount Lebanon did it in 1998.

“It really is quite an accomplishment when you think about it,” said Mars athletic director Scott Heinauer, who also is Mars’ football coach.

Mars’ football team has joined the successful fall party. The Planets aren’t in the WPIAL football championship, but they did win the Greater Allegheny Conference and enter the playoffs tonight with an 8-1 record.

The nice thing for Mars fans is that, if they wanted, they could see all three championship games tomorrow because they are all at Chartiers Valley. The Mars girls volleyball team meets Hopewell in the volleyball championship at 4:15. But the gym is right next to the football stadium, where the soccer games will be played.

The Mars girls soccer team plays Moon in the Class AA title game at 4:30. It will be followed by the Class AA boys championship between Mars and Quaker Valley at 6:45.

Meanwhile, the Greensburg Central Catholic boys and girls soccer teams will play for titles at Baldwin. The GCC girls play Sewickley Academy at 4:30, and it will be followed by the GCC boys game against Riverside at 6:45.

Can either Mars or Greensburg Central Catholic sweep the titles? It will be tough. But if either schools wins all three, it will be a first. In 1998, the Mount Lebanon girls volleyball team and girls soccer teams lost in the championship while the boys soccer team tied for the title.

Senior Moments

It is obvious by now that Mt. Lebanon quarterback Tyler Roth and Thomas Jefferson quarterback Joe Carroll have talent. The two seniors finished the regular season as two of the leading passers in the WPIAL. But they also have to be two of the biggest surprises this season – simply because of their past.

For both Roth and Carroll, this is their first season as starting QBs. Roth finished the regular season second in passing yardage with 2,085 yards and also 25 touchdowns. Carroll was sixth in yardage at 1,737 and led in touchdown passes with 33.

30 and 30

It has been pointed out the past few seasons that scoring is on the rise in WPIAL football. Washington’s Shai McKenzie and Burrell’s Cole Bush scored like no duo has in the WPIAL in more than 20 years.

McKenzie finished the regular season with a WPIAL-leading 31 touchdowns. Bush was second with 30. The last time two WPIAL players had 30 touchdowns or more in the regular season was 1991 when Rochester’s Essex Law had 33 and Freeport’s Jay White 30.

Hey, New Guy

All six WPIAL boys and girls championship soccer games will be played tomorrow at three different sites, and the Canon-McMillan boys are the new kids on the block.

Of the 12 teams in the boys and girls championships, Canon-McMillan is the only participant who hasn’t been in a championship game before. The Big Macs are sort of the Cinderella story of this year’s playoffs.

They are a No. 13 Seed.

But it’s not like Canon-McMillan was a mediocre team during the regular season. The Big Macs have a 17-4 record and the four losses were all by one goal to Peters Township and Upper St. Clair. Canon-McMillan lost twice to Peters Township by 1-0 scores and to Upper St. Clair by 1-0 and 2-1. The 2-1 loss was the only time this season Canon-McMillan gave up more than one goal in a game.

Canon-McMillan avenged the Peters Township losses when they beat the Indians, 2-1, in the semifinals. The Big Macs can avenge the Upper St. Clair losses because they meet USC in the title game tomorrow.

500 Club

The Bishop Canevin hockey team defeated Plum, 7-0, on Thursday night and joined an elite group of teams. The Crusaders became only the sixth Western Pennsylvania team to have 500 wins in school history. The others are Upper St. Clair, Kittanning/Armstrong Central, Mount Lebanon, Bethel Park and Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

WPIAL “Nets” Titles

The PIAA tennis championships are Friday and Saturday in Hershey. If history is any indication, Mt. Lebanon’s Callie Frey has a good chance to win the Class AAA championship. Why? Because she’s from the WPIAL.

Players from the WPIAL have won the past three PIAA Class AAA championships and eight of the past nine. The last three winners were Plum’s Ronit Yurovsky (she won it the past two years) and Latrobe’s Joelle Kissell. Frey won the WPIAL title this year.

On the other hand, the WPIAL has had only one champion in Class AA since the classification was formed in 1998. Quaker Valley’s Annie Houghton won the title in 2004.

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