Westmoreland H.S. soccer notebook: Franklin Regional boys winning with offense

Sunday, October 31, 2021 | 5:49 PM

With 56 shutouts across the last four seasons, Franklin Regional has developed a reputation as one of the top defensive programs in WPIAL boys soccer.

But with the team playing a more fast-paced, attacking style, offense has come to the forefront: Watch this team share the ball and make passes into open spaces, and it looks like they have been playing that way for years.

The Panthers have 105 goals (5.8 per game) but have allowed 20, a high number considering their stingy play in recent seasons.

Is it a cause for concern, then, that the get-it-and-go Panthers surrendered four goals in the quarterfinals against Kiski Area?

“We need to get better on defense,” first-year coach Thomas Louisy said. “And it’s not just our defenders. We need all of our guys to do a better job defending.”

Third-seeded Franklin Regional (15-3) rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Kiski Area, 6-4, and reach the semifinals for the fourth straight season.

No. 2 Hampton (17-1) awaits Monday night, as the Talbots try to prevent the Panthers from playing in a fourth straight WPIAL final.

Baby on board

Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer coach Olivia Kruger is expecting her first child, and the baby could arrive during the postseason.

GCC is chasing back-to-back WPIAL Class A titles and wants another shot at a PIAA championship after finishing as the state runner-up in 2020.

Kruger, whose husband is Seton Hill women’s soccer coach Zak Kruger, is due Nov. 23.

Top-seeded GCC (14-1) will play No. 5 Freedom (14-4) in Monday’s semifinals.

“It’s been an adventure to say the least,” Olivia Kruger said of coaching while being eight months pregnant. “But it’s been fun. We’re just taking it one day at a time.”

GCC had some trouble with Riverside in the quarterfinals, using a golden goal from freshman Riley Kerr to win 2-1.

As if Kruger doesn’t have enough stress to deal with.

“The girls did a great job of finishing the game and getting it done,” the coach said.

Goal oriented

Greensburg Central Catholic will go against one of the top goal scorers in the WPIAL across the last few years Monday when it faces Freedom and Renae Mohrbacher.

A senior, Mohrbacher has scored 165 career goals, which puts her in the top 15 in Pennsylvania since the state began keeping scoring records.

GCC has two of the top four goal scorers in No. 1 Bailey Cartwright (230 goals) and Frannie Crouse (208), who ranks fourth. Cartwright played from 2013-17 before heading to Notre Dame, while Crouse (2010-13) played at Penn State.

Malea Fabian, the daughter of GCC boys coach Rob Fabian, finished with 152 goals (2010-13).

Some forget that Jeannette has a player on the list. Erica Petrulak (1999-2002) had 135 goals.

Watch the Wildcats

Latrobe fell in the WPIAL 4A quarterfinals to end one of its best seasons, but the Wildcats should be loaded next season, making them one of the favorites to make a playoff run.

The Wildcats, who finished 13-2-1 and won their first section title since 1992, will lose only three starters. They will return standout goalkeeper Sofia DeCerb, Maddy Petruzzi, Robin Reilly, Ella Bulava and others.

The team played a number of freshmen.

“Last year when we made playoffs, it was a shock, almost,” Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison said. “The fact that we were in this game and we were able to battle, they proved to themselves they are capable of playing at this level. It’s the small things: putting the ball in the back of the net, tying up those loose ends. With so many players returning from our starting lineup, this is going to push our program to the next level. Next year, we’ll be able to look back and say, OK, we’ve had that full experience … and really learn from it to build on next year.”

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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