Westmoreland County high school notebook: Stakes high when Norwin, Penn-Trafford hockey teams meet

Saturday, March 9, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Norwin and Penn-Trafford are longtime rivals in a number of sports and have stood nose-to-nose on many fields and courts.

But the Knights and Warriors will meet on the ice Tuesday night with a spot in the PIHL Penguins Cup finals on the line.

They will play at 7 p.m. in a Class 2A semifinal at RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island.

Norwin (12-7-0-2) defeated Fox Chapel, 5-2, in the quarterfinals, and Penn-Trafford (8-9-0-2) held off top-seeded South Fayette, 4-3, to advance.

The frozen-four matchup could be a good one considering the teams split a pair of one-goal games during the regular season.

Penn-Trafford won the season opener in overtime 5-4, and Norwin responded two months later with a 6-5 victory in a shootout.

In the first meeting, Marco Ferracio had two goals, and Jack Blank had two assists for Penn-Trafford. Alex Thomas led the Knights with four points on a hat trick and an assist.

Thomas and Dom Costantino had two goals each in the second matchup, with Ferracio going for three goals and two assists for the Warriors.

This is Norwin’s first year in Class 2A.

The winner will play the winner of Franklin Regional (11-7-0-1) and Thomas Jefferson (18-2-0-0) in the championship game at 6:15 p.m. March 18 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

Franklin Regional skated past Latrobe in the quarters for a 4-3 win.

A fourth Westmoreland team also is chasing a championship. Greensburg Salem (14-5-0-1) faces Shaler (17-3- 0-1) in the Class A semifinals at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday at RMU Island Sports Center.

Greensburg Salem upset Plum and Quaker Valley to reach the semis.

Lippman added

Hempfield senior football player Kieran Lippman was added to the East roster for the East-West large-school all-star game May 19 at Cumberland Valley.

He will join teammates Josh Reilly (punter/kicker) and lineman Joe Dolin­ski, who also were selected to play for the East.

Lippman, a quarterback, receiver and safety, accounted for 1,126 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 86 tackles, last season for the Spartans.


Greensburg Central Catholic soccer player Addison Vacanti committed to play at West Liberty. Vacanti, a junior, plays centerback for the Centurions.

Hempfield senior Sarah Podkul will continue her basketball career at Division III Marietta (Ohio).

Belle Vernon senior kicker/punter Willie Schwerha received an offer from St. Francis (Pa.).

• Norwin senior volleyball player Troy Horvath will continue his playing career at Lawrence Tech, a nationally ranked NAIA program in Southfield, Mich.

• Senior Rylie Fordyce of Hempfield will play softball at Thiel.

• Buffalo is the latest Division I football program to offer a scholarship to Latrobe safety John Wetzel. The junior, who also plays quarterback, has a dozen offers. The others are Kent State, Delaware, Old Dominion, Marshall, Temple, Akron, Lehigh, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Boston College.

• Greensburg Salem senior Drezden Gesalman will continue his soccer career at Mercyhurst.

• Senior Grace Semow of Hempfield committed to Shenandoah for track and field and cross country.

Food for thought

Southmoreland was the leading fundraiser for the WPIAL’s Food & Fun Drive, which the district held in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Food Bank.

The Scotties were the overall winner among all six classifications.

Assistant principal Charity Colebank spearheaded the effort as Southmore­land collected $2,176.65 in monetary contributions and 4,056 food-item donations.

The WPIAL said that will produce 11,397 meals for those in need.

“(Colebank) rallied the school and the community together, and we were able to accomplish providing many meals to those in need,” Southmoreland athletic director Brian Pritts said. “It was an honor to take part in the food drive and see our students really come together with the community to serve others.”

The schools were recognized during the WPIAL basketball champions last weekend at Petersen Events Center.

While Southmoreland won the 4A title, the other “Community Champions” were Seneca Valley (6A), Armstrong (Class 5A), Seton LaSalle (3A), Winchester Thurston (2A) and Redeemer Lutheran (A).

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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