Westmoreland girls soccer notebook: Latrobe ready to ‘exceed expectations’

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021 | 7:01 PM


Hello, Latrobe.

The Wildcats pulled a stunner Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over visiting Norwin in the section opener, surging into the conversation as a contender in Class 4A with the statement win.

A mostly young team — six seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen — is loaded with cup-level talent, including the Reilly sisters in senior Morgan, sophomore Regan and freshman Robin, as well as standout junior goalkeeper Sofia DeCerb, who missed most of last season with a concussion.

Latrobe had not beaten Norwin in at least 25 years, a span of no fewer than 48 games in their section series. Norwin had not lost a section opener in more than two decades.

“They want to exceed expectations,” Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison said of her team. “I coached a lot of them with Foothills U12. I knew we had some talent coming up.”

Latrobe (4-0, 1-0 Section 3-4A), a playoff team last year, has outscored its three opponents, 15-2. The Wildcats blanked Upper St. Clair, the team to which it lost in the first round last year, 4-0, to open the season.

“I think we surprised (USC) a little,” Morrison said. “Our girls believed they could win and came out firing.”

Latrobe has not started 4-0 since 2009.

The team has multiple scoring threats, including sophomore Ella Bulova, freshman Maddy Petruzzi and others.

Robin Reilly and Petruzzi scored against Norwin (1-1, 0-1), which had a couple of injuries. Senior Paloma Swankler, a Robert Morris recruit, and Alyssa Aquilio, another starter, did not play against the Wildcats.

Norwin first-year coach Diane Metzger thinks her team will be all right.

“Latrobe was just as good as we expected —very strong in the midfield,” Metzger said. “Our team will respond and learn from it. Not the way that we had hoped to start, but we still had a lot of great play out of our team, especially in the second half.

“Our girls will continue to develop and adjust and we look forward to a rematch later this season.”

Big Thursday

Thursday’s WPIAL schedule isn’t short on good local games.

The gem of the bunch looks to be Southmoreland (3-0-1, 1-0) at Yough (4-0, 1-0) in a first-place clash in Section 3-2A. Last year, the teams split with Southmoreland winning 4-1, and Yough returning the favor, 2-1.

Another matchup from the same section has McGuffey (2-2, 0-1) visiting Mt. Pleasant (4-1, 1-0).

Other top games have Hampton (2-2, 2-1) at Franklin Regional (3-1, 2-0) in Section 1-3A, and Greensburg Salem (1-2, 1-1) at Connellsville (3-1, 3-0) in Section 2-3A.

Either Hempfield (0-5, 0-1) or Penn-Trafford (0-3, 0-1) will get their first win — or tie — when the teams play in Harrison City in Section 3-4A. Penn-Trafford has not scored in three games.

GCC filling the net

The magic number at Greensburg Central Catholic has been 14 through two games.

GCC, the No. 1 team in Class A, scored 14 goals in a season-opening win over Riverview. But the Centurions and Freedom combined for 14 goals in the next game, an 8-6 win for GCC. It’s rare to see teams combine for that many scores.

GCC had 21 goals over its first two games last year on the way to a WPIAL title and PIAA runner-up finish.

Busy night

Penn-Trafford has yet to find the net this season, but the Warriors’ defense has been working. And that includes senior goalkeeper Taylor Lloyd, a Youngstown State commit.

Lloyd made an impressive 18 saves on 21 shots when the Warriors lost to North Allegheny, 3-0.

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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