Westmoreland County girls soccer notebook: Mt. Pleasant climbs to top of rankings

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM

There is a new No. 1 team in Class 2A.

Mt. Pleasant (10-2), which has won 10 straight — all shutouts — since a 2-0 loss to 3A No. 2 Moon, slid ahead of North Catholic and Avonworth.

A result between those teams also led to the Vikings’ ascent to the top spot.

No. 2 North Catholic edged No. 1 Avonworth, 1-0, to split the section series with the defending WPIAL champion Antelopes.

Mt. Pleasant leads the WPIAL with 85 goals.

The other No. 1-ranked teams are North Allegheny (4A), Mars (3A) and Freedom (A).

Playoff bound

Four teams from Westmoreland County have punched their ticket to the WPIAL playoffs.

Qualifiers so far include Latrobe and Franklin Regional in 3A and Mt. Pleasant and Southmoreland in 2A.

The top four teams in each section clinch playoff berths. The WPIAL will release tournament brackets Oct. 18.

The WPIAL championships are Nov. 2-4 at Highmark Stadium.

Field leader

Franklin Regional has one of the top goalkeepers in the state in senior Aris Lamanna.

But few netminders have a voice in the action like Lamanna, a Coastal Carolina commit. Watch a game and you’ll see the 5-foot-11 Lamanna come all the way to near midfield when the ball is on the other end of the field.

She even takes lengthy free kicks for the Panthers.

“You don’t see many do what she can do back there,” Panthers coach Scott Arnold said. “She reads the game. She is amazing that way to see what is going on ahead of her.

“She is like a quarterback when we are on offense and a free safety when we’re on defense.”

One and not done

Close games are nothing new to teams in Section 3-3A, but three teams are getting used to the tight finishes.

Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford and Latrobe have played in a combined 17 one-goal section games. That includes eight for Franklin Regional, five for Latrobe and four for Penn-Trafford.

Franklin Regional beat Penn-Trafford twice, both by a 1-0 final, the first in overtime.

Latrobe edged Penn-Trafford, 1-0, in overtime. The Wildcats’ two losses are both to Plum by 3-2 scores.

Latrobe beat Franklin Regional, 2-1.

Plum has opened a 2.5-game lead for first place over Franklin Regional and Latrobe.

Shouldering the load

Monessen’s Samantha Saylor has quietly been one of the top goal scorers in the WPIAL this season. And there is nobody questioning her importance to the team.

Look at this way: The Greyhounds have 33 goals this season. Saylor has 20 of them.

That includes a six-goal game for the senior, who attends California, which has a co-operative with Monessen for girls soccer.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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