Westmoreland County PIAA soccer playoff capsules for Nov. 9, 2021
Monday, November 8, 2021 | 6:27 PM
7-2 Franklin Regional (16-4) vs. 9-1 Cathedral Prep (17-1-1)
7:30 p.m. at Dollinger Field, Hagerty Family Events Center, Erie
Winner plays: Winner of 6-1 Hollidaysburg/7-1 Hampton on Saturday (time, site TBD)
Corner kicks: Franklin Regional is back in the state postseason for the third time in four years. Last year, the Panthers made the WPIAL final but only district champions advanced to the PIAA playoffs. The Panthers earned their berth with a hard-fought shootout victory over Plum in the WPIAL consolation (2-1/4-1 PKs). Senior Anthony DiFalco, junior Colton Hudson, junior Jake Kimmich and freshman Joey Bayne all scored in the PK session. Hudson scored in regulation on an assist from DiFalco, an All-State forward who will play in the High School All-American Game next month. … Cathedral Prep won its eighth straight District 10 title and 33rd overall with a 3-1 win over Harbor Creek. The Ramblers’ only loss came against McDowell (2-0), while their tie was to another WPIAL opponent, Mars (0-0). Sophomore forward Noah Handzel is a talented scorer who has a team-best 24 goals. The Ramblers won a PIAA title in 2001 and finished second in the state in 1997.
7-2 Greensburg Central Catholic (15-4) vs. 5-1 McConnellsburg (19-2)
6 p.m. at McConnellsburg High School
Winner plays: Winner of 7-3 Eden Christian/9-1 Brockway on Saturday (time, site TBD)
Corner kicks: Greensburg Central Catholic is coming off a runner-up finish in the WPIAL after losing to Winchester Thurston, 3-1, on Friday night at Highmark Stadium. The team will now try to pave another path back to the PIAA final in Hershey. The team reached the title match a season ago but fell to Faith Christian, 5-1, at Hersheypark Stadium. A number of players are back from that run including seniors Mason Fabean, Ryan Reitler and Max House and juniors Carlo Denis, Kyler Miller and Jake Gretz. among others. Denis had a goal in the WPIAL final, his 28th of the season. Freshman Jackson Vacanti had the game-winning goal in a 6-5 overtime win over Eden Christian in the WPIAL semifinals. Denis had three goals and Reitler two in that game. GCC has played in four straight WPIAL finals. The Centurions played their first two state games at Norwin last year. … Top-seeded McConnellsburg defeated Everett, 4-0, to win the District 5 title. The Spartans had five players named to the All-ICC First Team, in senior midfielder Hayden Schetrompf, junior forward Dalton DeShong, junior forward Luke McKelvy, junior defender Kyle Romig and junior defender Landon Ramsey. Schetrompf broke the school’s single-season goal record this season, McKelvy the mark for single-season assists. McConnellsburg had won three straight ICC titles.
7-3 Southmoreland (15-2-2) vs. 10-1 Villa Maria (15-4)
5:30 p.m. at Dollinger Field, Hagerty Family Events Center, Erie
Winner plays: Winner of 7-2 North Catholic/9-1 Karns City on Saturday (time, site TBD)
Corner kicks: Southmoreland is back in the PIAA tournament for the first time since 2009 when the Scotties were in Class 3A and lost in the first round to Seneca Valle7, 7-0, at Chartiers Valley. This year’s team lost to eventual champion Avonworth in the WPIAL semifinals, 4-1, before rebounding with a 3-2 win over Shady Side Academy in the third-place game. In that comeback win, they scored twice inside the final seven minutes on goals by Olivia Cernuto and Kendall Fabery to rally from a 2-1 deficit. Cernuto and Fabery (Cleveland State) are All-WPIAL juniors. Freshman goalkeeper Alex Smith got the start in net against Shady Side and played well down the stretch. The Scotties have won 10 of their last 11 games. … Villa Maria is fresh off its 11th District 10 championship. The Victors feature Dayton commit Ella Raimondi, the D-10 player of the year who had a hat trick in a 5-1 district semifinal win over Slippery Rock. She also had a goal and an assist in a the D-10 final, a 4-0 win over Fort LeBoeuf. Alexa Tojaga, Moira Thunell and Lauren Baloga also scored in the win.
7-2 Greensburg Central Catholic (15-2) vs. 10-1 Mercer (14-2)
7:30 p.m. at Slippery Rock High School
Winner plays: Winner of 7-3 Freedom/5-1 Windber on Saturday (time, site TBD)
Corner kicks: Greensburg Central Catholic was seeking its second straight WPIAL title and seventh overall but fell to Steel Valley, 2-1 in overtime on Friday night at Highmark Stadium. Junior Sara Felder had the lone goal for the Centurions, who are trying to make another run to the PIAA final like they did last season. The returning state runners-up will be without head coach Olivia Kruger again after the coach went into labor early Friday with her first child. GCC features a host of offensive weapons, including Felder, Tatum Gretz (Villanova) and Riley Kerr, a freshman who has been a key scorer in the playoffs. The WPIAL title game loss broke a 13-game winning streak. Last year, GCC opened the state bracket with a 7-1 win over West Branch. That game, as well as a state semifinal against West Branch, were played at Norwin. This year, the Centurions will be on the road. … Mercer won its second District 10 championship in three years with a 2-1 (4-3 PKs) shootout win over Seneca in the title match. Kendall Joint and Ryan Dubiel scored in regulation for the Region 1 co-champion Mustangs, while Alexa Graul, Maddy Bailey, Devyn Bailey and Dubiel scored in the shootout. Mercer had a first-round bye before defeating Wilmington, 2-1, in the semifinals. Julia Balaski is another scoring threat.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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