Westmoreland notebook: European trip on hold for Penn-Trafford soccer standout Schlessinger

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Saturday, March 14, 2020 | 7:02 PM


Nathan Schlessinger’s soccer career is beginning to take off.

The sophomore from Penn-Trafford was selected to play for the 2004 Olympic Development Program National Team, a prestigious honor for a player his age.

The ODP team was scheduled to travel next month to Barcelona, Spain, to compete in the Mediterranean International Cup Soccer Tournament, one of the top youth soccer events in Europe that features more than 40 teams from around the globe. But the trip was postponed until after April 15 because of travel restrictions over the coronavirus.

Speculation is the event will move to the summer.

Landon Mohney of Butler also made the team.

Schlessinger was a captain for the ODP East Region team and found out he made the national roster following a January tryout in Tampa, Fla.

Whitlock’s big season

Devin Whitlock made an immediate impact at Belle Vernon when he transferred from Monessen — in two sports. He was impressive as a slot back and defensive back in football, where he rushed for 511 yards and six touchdowns, caught 22 receptions for 262 yards and two scores and added 30 tackles and three interceptions on defense.

But the game-changing sophomore really made his mark in basketball. Whitlock scored 559 points (19.9 per game), the eighth-highest single-season total in Belle Vernon program history.

Leopards great Vince Graham has the record with 715 points in 1994-95.

Whitlock already has surpassed 1,000 career points.

He had 11 and 10 assists in a pair of PIAA playoff games, the latter an epic, 84-82 four-overtime thriller against Lancaster Catholic. He fouled out in the second overtime with 14 points.

Belle Vernon made the WPIAL finals in football and basketball with Whitlock in the starting lineup.

Scotties look strong again

Southmoreland had a historic season in girls basketball: an undefeated regular season followed by a trip to the WPIAL finals, a PIAA playoff debut and a surge in popularity. The bar is set high, but the Scotties (25-2) probably will be good again next season.

Consider: They return half of their eight-player rotation, including sophomore and leading scorer Gracie Spadaro, fab freshman Olivia Cernuto and key reserves, freshman Maddie Moore and sophomore Delaynie Morvosh.

Four seniors — forward Sarah Pisula and guards Erika Sherbondy, Charity Henderson and Carlie Collins — will be missed.

The Scotties showed a knack for replacing talented players. The graduation of Navy commit Maggie Moore was handled seamlessly, and the team quickly recovered after sophomore standout Bailey Kuhns transferred to Greensburg Central Catholic during the season.

What’s next for Tyree?

With its school closing, Vincentian Academy has played its last boys basketball game. That means coach Tim Tyree has coached his last Royals basketball game.

So what lies ahead for Tyree, a Monessen graduate?

“I’m going to sit down … and make sure all my players’ situations are in order for next year,” Tyree said. “I’m going to talk with some more people and decide if I want to pursue (another head coaching position). I just want to make sure it’s the right move.”

Tyree had quite a three-year run with the Royals, who lost to Berlin-Brothersvalley, 74-54, in the PIAA Class A second round Tuesday at Hempfield.

His record was 61-22, and he won two WPIAL championships.

Vincentian made the PIAA final last season.

Tyree will coach with the Wildcats Select AAU program, run by former Hempfield standout Nate Perry and Tom Droney, a former standout at Sewickley Academy and Davidson.

Tyree said he hopes to have a better idea about his future soon.

Poulich back?

Mt. Pleasant is hoping to get softball player Courtney Poulich back.

Poulich, a corner infielder who committed to Liberty, suffered a season-ending injury in the section opener last season when she stretched to pull in a potential putout at first base.

She did a full split and snapped her hamstring, which, she said, pulled away from her leg bone. She had surgery nearly a year ago and rehabbed to get ready for her junior season.

“We’re hoping she can play,” Vikings coach Chris Brunson said. “She is one of our top players, and she has been patient with everything.”

Recruiting

Derry football lineman Justin Fallat (6-foot-2, 350 pounds) will play at Saint Vincent.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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