Westmoreland girls soccer notebook: Latrobe clinches playoff spot in style

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | 4:57 PM


Latrobe earned a hard-fought, 2-1 victory over Penn-Trafford last Thursday night to clinch a spot in the WPIAL girls soccer playoffs from Section 3-4A.

What a way to extend the season.

The win carried extra meaning because Latrobe hadn’t beaten the Warriors since 1995, when some of the current players’ parents were in high school.

The teams tied, 1-1, earlier in the season.

The Wildcats (5-4-1) have been winning with a lineup that isn’t at full strength. They have overcome voids with key starters out, but backups stepped up and kept the team in the race.

“It’s been a hard-fought road, but the ladies showed what they want the new legacy of Latrobe to be with their performance (against Penn-Trafford),” Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison said. “Battling through illness and injury, utilizing upperclassmen experience and energy, they worked together and accomplished our goal of playoffs — with style.”

All-section goalkeeper Sophia DeCerb has been out since Oct. 1 with an upper body injury. Kristen Thomas (quad), Claire Gerard (knee), Mackenna Malone (hamstring) and Lauren Davis (legs) have been out of the lineup with injuries, and another starter, Hannah Klimek, has been ill.

Junior varsity keeper Corinne Brunetto has taken on a much greater role.

Maddie Delucio leads the Wildcats with 10 goals and five assists, and freshmen Ella Bulava and Regan Reilly have combined for seven goals and four assists.

“Every girl has stepped up their game and done a great job,” Morrison said. “They work for one another tirelessly. They have worked to better read the game and vary their approach to be more unpredictable in the attack and more seamless in the defense.”

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The big dance

Career 100-goal scorer Jillian Butchki of Belle Vernon has been known to make a shifty move to get to the net, but that’s not a surprise to those who know her. That is because Butchki is a competitive dancer off the soccer pitch. She has been dancing since age 3 and has been competing since 10. She clearly is good enough to play college soccer at a high level, but she has other plans.

“I train in all styles of dance, but my favorites are contemporary and jazz,” she said. “For college, I am planning on duel majoring in dance along with marketing and arts management.”

Butchki said the dancing helps her on the soccer field.

“Especially in terms of my coordination, balance and flexibility,” she said. “But it also works the other way around, because soccer has improved my stamina and strength in dance.”

•••

Playoffs set

The WPIAL will meet Wednesday to devise playoff brackets, and the tournaments could start as early as Thursday.

Higher-seeded teams will have home-field advantage through the semifinals. The WPIAL will announce high school sites for the finals. Highmark Stadium will not be used this year.

Westmoreland teams headed for the postseason are: Norwin, Penn-Trafford and Latrobe in Class 4A; Franklin Regional, Kiski Area and Belle Vernon in 3A; Burrell, Southmoreland, Yough and Mt. Pleasant in 2A; and Greensburg Central Catholic and Ligonier Valley in Class A.

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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