Westmoreland boys soccer notebook: Franklin Regional still doing what it does best

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | 5:50 PM


Franklin Regional allowed a goal in its second game of the season. And another in the fourth.

A cause for alarm in Murrysville?

Not exactly.

The two-time defending WPIAL champion Panthers are 5-0 and doing what they do best: possess the ball, keep it away from opponents and prey on teams offensively.

They opened with a 15-0 win over Woodland Hills and let Gateway get an early goal for a 1-1 halftime score before they scored six times in the second half for a 7-1 win.

On Monday, Plum cut into a 2-0 halftime deficit with an early second-half goal before Franklin Regional pulled away for a 4-1 win.

Top-ranked Franklin Regional has 35 shutouts since the start of the 2018 season and has surrendered just 17 goals in that window of time.

Junior Anthony DiFalco once again is one of the top goal-scorers in the WPIAL. He has 11 times goals. He had four goals in the opener and added a three-goal game. He also has seven assists.

Blake Cooper had a hat trick in another game for the Panthers.

A convoluted schedule, partly affected by the late start to the season and the off-again, on-again participation of the City League, has teams going full bore with fewer practice days.

Franklin Regional’s game at Plum on Monday was moved so the Panthers have four games this week, and then host Plum next Monday.

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Measure of revenge

Belle Vernon (5-0) still was losing sleep over a rare loss last season when the Leopards got to face Trinity this season in Section 3-3A.

Last year, Trinity was an outlier on the Leopards’ schedule after it surprised them, 7-0, in their second section meeting. It was Belle Vernon’s only loss during the regular season.

Nick Nagy had the lone goal in the rematch last week as Belle Vernon blanked the Hillers, 1-0, to stay unbeaten. Daniel Sassak had a hat trick and Nagy scored twice in a 6-1 win over Uniontown.

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Six pack

How about a double hat trick? Penn-Trafford had one Tuesday night when junior Nathan Schlessinger poured in six goals in a 9-2 win over Woodland Hills.

Jeannette breaks streak

Jeannette poured on the offense Monday against Geibel, and the scoring never felt so good to the Jayhawks. They topped the visiting Gators, 13-0, in their home opener to break a 24-game losing streak.

The last time Jeannette won in boys soccer was Oct., 9, 2018, a 3-0 victory over Geibel.

Jeannette began this season with a forfeit loss because it did not have enough players for its first game.

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Close calls

Southmoreland games have been amost too close to call. The Scotties dropped three straight one-goal games, including back-to-back double-overtime losses to Waynesburg (4-3) and Highlands (2-1).

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Slow start

Latrobe had only played one game in the first nine days of the season because of holes in its schedule. With teams pressured to get all of their section games in by Oct. 20, the Wildcats had to move things around.

They moved Section 1 opponents Central Catholic and Connellsville to later dates, dropped Ligonier Valley as a nonsection game and added Allderdice in October when the City League decided to play fall sports.

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Ranking ‘em

Four Westmoreland teams stayed in the top five of the Tribune-Review rankings. Franklin Regional remained No. 1 and Belle Vernon No. 2 in 3A; Greensburg Central Catholic is No. 1 in Class A; and Norwin is No 5 in 4A.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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