Senior-heavy Bethel Park boys lacrosse ready to make postseason run

Saturday, April 23, 2022 | 9:01 AM

Bethel Park’s boys lacrosse team placed third in Section 1-3A at 6-2 last season, behind only Mt. Lebanon (8-0) and Upper St. Clair (7-1).

The Black Hawks edged Fox Chapel, 5-4, in the WPIAL first round before losing a 14-7 decision to North Allegheny to finish 10-6 overall.

“I think our team did very well,” coach Tim Schreiber said. “I’m most proud of the way the boys grew individually and as a team while dealing with a lot of things that were out of their control like injuries and covid quarantines.

“The future is bright. We returned a lot of our core contributors and are excited to see how our younger players grow and develop.”

Bethel Park is a senior-laden squad this spring, led by two key senior players in midfielder Troy Volpatti and goalkeeper Owen Peters.

“We are led by 12 seniors, many of whom were key contributors for us last season,” Schreiber said. “We are hoping they can lead us to a successful postseason run. Our expectations are the same as they are every season, to compete for the section and WPIAL championships.”

Volpatti is a two-sport standout. He ended the 2021 spring season as the team’s leading scorer with 32 goals and 21 assists (54 points). He also was the leading rusher on the football team (the past two years) as a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back/defensive back.

“I had a decent season but couldn’t have done it without the other midfielders and attackmen giving me assists and open lanes to score,” Volpatti said. “We have a lot of experience so we should be very good.”

Volpatti will continue as a dual-sport athlete at Washington & Jefferson, competing in football and lacrosse.

The 6-2, 195-pound Peters played football for 10 years as a middle linebacker/tight end but has made lacrosse a focal point in his life the past few years. He competes for The Dukes Lacrosse Club in Philadelphia in the offseason.

“After playing both football and lacrosse my freshman year, I decided to focus on lacrosse and pursue my goal of playing in college,” Peters said. “I believe I had my best season yet. I felt I stepped up and made big saves in key moments.

“I try to be a leader for my teammates. The goalie’s job is to be the general of the defense.”

Peters, a Mount St. Mary’s recruit, made 182 saves and averaged 6.8 goals allowed in 2021.

“I am looking forward to a WPIAL championship run,” Peters said. “Personally, I’m going to give everything I have to make that happen.”

Through April 20, the Black Hawks were 6-3 overall and 2-2 in league play, and were led offensively by senior attackers Alex Greene (28 goals, 12 assists), Matthew Kopp (27 goals, 10 assists) and Weston Konopka (11 goals, 7 assists), along with senior midfielders Max Radcliffe (24 goals, 12 assists), Kelton Kramer (15 goals, 13 assists) and Volpatti (17 goals, 20 assists).

The athletic Radcliffe has played lacrosse since seventh grade “after watching my brother play,” and also has participated in basketball and baseball.

“I wanted to focus all of my attention on lacrosse in high school,” he said.

Radcliffe said the Black Hawks are dreaming big in 2022.

“This year our ultimate goals would to bring a section championship back to Bethel and win our first WPIAL championship,” Radcliffe said. “Some of my personal goals for the season would be to practice as hard as I play in a game and to help lead the team along with all of the other seniors.”

The tandem of Greene and Kopp has been an offensive force this season with 55 goals and 22 assists between them. Radcliffe and Volpatti also combined for 41 goals and 32 assists; Volpatti leads in assists.

“I would say our biggest strength is our balanced scoring from our top six offensive players,” Schreiber said. “They are all experienced seniors and capable scorers that make us tough to defend.

“Another strength is our defense anchored by All-American goalie Owen Peters, along with senior defensemen Robbie Abraham, Nate Yoder, Dylan Wentz, Parker Cardemone and Evan Crist.”

Abraham is well-versed in the athletic arena. He started playing lacrosse eight years ago while in fifth grade, and also has competed in basketball, golf, soccer and ice hockey.

He plans to continue his lacrosse career at Saint Vincent, where he will study criminology, law and society.

Abraham looks for the Black Hawks to win section and WPIAL titles this season thanks to the strong senior leadership on the team.

“I feel our strengths as a team are reflected through our senior leaders,” he said. “We have a very strong senior class with guys who have a lot of chemistry and experience.

“A personal goal I have for myself is to improve each day and be a good leader and role model, especially for the young players.”

Volpatti, Peters and Kramer are fourth-year lettermen this season. Volpatti and Peters were all-section selections a year ago.

Greene, Kopp and Radcliffe have joined Volpatti and Kramer as returning starters on offense. Radcliffe plans to join Abraham on men’s lacrosse team at Saint Vincent.

Abraham, Yoder and Wentz are united with Peters as starters on the defensive end of the field.

Bethel Park started out 5-1 this season before suffering close losses to North Allegheny and Mt. Lebanon.

The Black Hawks rebounded with a 10-9 win against Hempfield.


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