Westmoreland girls soccer notebook: Loaded with underclassmen, Latrobe on the rise

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | 4:38 PM


Latrobe has senior leadership on the soccer field but don’t sleep on the underclassmen who have blended in well and could spell a bright future for the program.

“Our team dynamics have shifted quite drastically,” Wildcats girls coach Jamie Morrison said.

Latrobe lost only two players to graduation in Madison Shafron and Sophia Hoch, but a young lineup has taken root.

Freshmen Ella Bulava and Regan Reilly are new to the attack, and the Wildcats also start freshman Ava Lorenzi on defense. Sophomores Makenna Malone, Sophia DeCerb (goalkeeper) and Chloe Boyette also are starters.

“Throughout this season, Ava and Chloe’s chemistry together continues to build, which will help with our defensive organization,” Morrison said.

Latrobe started 1-2-1 with a 2-0 win over Hempfield and an impressive, 1-1 tie against perennial contender Penn-Trafford.

The Wildcats led powerhouse Norwin, 2-0, before the Lady Knights stormed back with four unanswered scores.

“They’re young, but three-fourths of their freshmen start,” Norwin coach Lauren Karcher said. “There is some talent there.”

Latrobe only lost 2-0 to Class 4A No. 1 Fox Chapel.

Morrison said Reilly’s speed is an asset to the team, and DeCerb is a fast-developing shot-stopper.

“She is a formidable wall,” Morrison said.

The other key returnees are team captains Maddie Delucio and Hannah Klimek, both seniors, and junior Morgan Reilly, along with juniors Martina Ciafre, Claire Gerard and Lauren Davis.

Bulava joins Delucio and Morgan in the middle and Morrison said she is a “technical whiz with energy to spare.”

Morrison said a team strength is being able to utilize every player on the field in some way.

“There is a desire to push our previous boundaries, and we have the pieces this year to make it happen,” the coach said. “When we are playing as a unit, it really is beautiful soccer to watch.

“As long as the girls maintain their focus in achieving our smaller goals we have set throughout the season, we will ultimately look to accomplish our end goal of making playoffs.”

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Norwin, P-T tie

Round 1 of the annual rivalry series between Norwin and Penn-Trafford was a draw. The teams tied 2-2 last Saturday at Norwin.

The Knights took leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but the Warriors’ Kenzie Septak answered both to force the tie. Norwin had not been tied in a match since 2017, when Penn-Trafford and the Lady Knights played to a 0-0 finish.

In the latest clash, Maddy Rose and Lacey Bernick scored for Norwin. Rose’s goal was one for the highlight reel, an arcing bender past keeper Taylor Lloyd from about 20 yards away.

Septak’s first score also was something to watch as she set just inside the 5 and curved a liner by a leaping Liz Waszkiewicz.

Norwin had won four straight games against the Warriors.

The teams play again Oct. 13 in Harrison City.

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Still unbeaten

Four Westmoreland girls teams had perfect records at the start of the week: Franklin Regional (5-0) in Class 3A, Southmoreland (5-0) and Burrell (4-0) in 2A, and Greensburg Central Catholic (4-0) in Class A.

Franklin Regional, under first-year coach Scott Arnold, moved into the Trib rankings, checking in at the No. 5 spot in 3A. Southmoreland is up to No. 3 in 2A, and GCC is No. 2 in Class A.

•••

Five-alarm night

Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Sara Felder is one of the up-and-coming goal scorers to watch in WPIAL Class A. Games like the one she had last week against Apollo-Ridge demonstrated why. Felder scored fives times in a 9-3 victory for the Centurions.

•••

Playoff format to change?

The WPIAL soccer steering committee will meet Friday to discuss the progress of the season so far and to look at the playoff format. As it stands, the top four teams and ties make the postseason, but that could change when the league does its review.

It has been determined only WPIAL champions will advance to the PIAA playoffs. The WPIAL was waiting for the PIAA to decide on its postseason before announcing its plans.

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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