Westmoreland high school notebook: Penn-Trafford girls soccer motivated for ’23 after playoff effort

Sunday, October 30, 2022 | 4:00 PM

Rarely does a loss generate this much attention.

The Penn-Trafford girls soccer team nearly did what no team has been able to do for three years: Beat Mars.

Mars, the three-time defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A girls soccer champion, was backed into the ropes Monday night in a WPIAL 3A first-round playoff game against visiting Penn-Trafford before pulling out a 1-0 win in overtime.

For an instant, it looked like Mars’ 77-game unbeaten streak might come to an end.

Emotionally spent after 88 minutes of soccer, Penn-Trafford felt like it had won.

So, how did the 16th-seeded Warriors keep the nationally ranked Fightin’ Planets (15-0) off the board for so long?

“With having a game on Saturday, we really only had one day to focus on Mars,” Penn-Trafford coach Jimmy Mastroianni said. “We asked the girls to be patient, not to chase and to stay home. They completely bought in and nailed it. It was an entire team effort.”

Penn-Trafford (8-7-4) had four double-overtime games that resulted in just as many ties, and another single-OT game.

“As these games go on, our ladies just dig down and dig in,” Mastroianni said. “Going into (Monday’s) game, we really felt like we could shock the world, if you will.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Rease Solomon, Mastroianni said, played “out of this world” against Mars.

The back line of junior Eilish Connolly, senior Mia Muro, freshman Anna Coy and sophomore Bryana Bennett kept Mars quiet, and the midfielders “stayed at home,” the coach said.

Solomon had more than 30 saves.

Mastroianni said his team getting seeded 16th and having to play a preliminary round game fired up the Warriors, who are rallying around the program-building effort. The team will lose only two seniors.

“I’ve literally never seen a group of girls play with the amount of heart we saw (against Mars),” he said. “I told them that it’s just another game. All of the pressure is on Mars, not us. Just go out and play and have fun. They did — boom!”

Franklin Regional, the No. 9 seed in the 3A bracket, also took Mars (16-0) to overtime in the quarterfinals before falling, 1-0.

Mars’ streak stands at 79 as the Planets prepare to play yet another Westmoreland team — fifth-seeded Latrobe — in Tuesday’s semifinals.


A number of players from Westmoreland County finished the regular season among the top goal scorers in the WPIAL.

Greensburg Central Catholic’s Carlo Denis had 49 goals to lead the boys, while his teammate, Kyler Miller was third with 36.

Jeannette’s Jordan Taylor came in fourth with 34 scores, while Trevor Kovatch of Belle Vernon was ninth with 28 goals and Anders Bordoy of Kiski Area had 25.

For the girls, Farrah Reader of Belle Vernon led the county with 35 goals, a total that ranked fourth in the WPIAL, while McKenzie Pritts had 29, Riley Kerr of Greensburg Central Catholic 28, Rylin Bugosh of Mt. Pleasant 26, Morgan Gesinski of Mt. Pleasant 23 and Sam Saylor of Monessen 22.

Scotties make history

Southmoreland volleyball made history by winning its first playoff match in team history.

The Scotties defeated Hopewell, 3-0, in the WPIAL Class 2A preliminary round. While a 3-0 loss to Shenango followed in the first round, the team can be hopeful for next season. Why? It loses zero seniors.

First-year coach Dan Boring’s team finished 14-7.

Multi-sport effect

Latrobe’s girls volleyball team is a mix of dual-sport athletes.

The Wildcats, who completed an undefeated regular season (16-0), beg the question: Did volleyball players play other sports, or did athletes in other sports band together to play volleyball?

The team has girls who also compete in basketball, lacrosse, track and field, softball, gymnastics and other sports.

Emma Blair, Camille Domenick and Elle Snyder all play basketball and volleyball.

Wildcats coach Drew Vosefski said the basketball girls have been playing volleyball since junior high.

“It might be a flip of the coin as to which sport influences the other more,” the coach said.

Mission to Mars

A former Westmoreland County athlete has taken over as athletic director at Mars.

Zach Matusak, a Derry graduate, replaced the district’s longtime AD, Scott Heinauer, who retired after more than three decades in the position.

Heinauer retired in June, and Matusak took over in August.

Matusak, 31, was the athletic director at Sharon for a year. Before that, he was an assistant AD at Haddonfield (N.J.) for 11 months.

Matusak played football at Waynesburg before earning a bachelor’s degree at IUP and a master’s at Temple, where he served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Milestone for Smeltzer

Derry golf coach Tracy Smeltzer was recognized recently for 100 career wins.

Smeltzer has helped the Trojans turn a corner and become a contender in Class 2A.

Derry has won four consecutive section titles and produced WPIAL individual champion Hunter Jurica.

The Trojans finished fourth in the WPIAL.

Ice, ice baby

Five of the top 10 leading scorers in PIHL Class A are from Westmoreland County.

And they are from two schools.

Owen Tutich of Greensburg Salem was leading with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists), while Norwin’s Mario Cavallaro (14 points), Joe Vecchio (13), Dom Cerilli (12) and Colten Humphrey of Greensburg Salem (11) also were among the leaders.

Vecchio’s 10 goals lead the classification, while Cavallaro’s nine assists were tied for the top spot.

Greensburg Salem improved to 4-0 with a 7-4 win over Norwin (3-1).

Luke Dieter had four goals and Tutich had two goals and an assist for the Golden Lions, who were leading the Blue Division by a half-game over Fox Chapel (4-1).


Latrobe softball player Hayden Kraynick committed to Erskine College, a Division II program in Due West, S.C. A second baseman/outfielder, Kraynick plays for the Ohio Outlaws travel team.

Winter coats

The first WPIAL practice date for winter sports teams in Nov. 18. That includes basketball, swimming, wrestling, rifle and gymnastics.

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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