Westmoreland notebook: GCC’s Ward more than soccer standout in fall

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Saturday, October 26, 2019 | 4:48 PM


When a soccer player joins the football team, he or she usually is the kicker, and that is where their responsibilities end.

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Nate Ward is bucking the trend. Ward, an Indiana soccer recruit who kicks for the Centurions, also plays wide receiver.

Ward, one of the top goal scorers in WPIAL Class A, had eight receptions for 89 yards, including a 33-yard catch, through nine games.

He also returns kickoffs.

“He’s an athlete. He’s fun to watch,” GCC coach Bret Colbert said.

Ward said playing receiver allows him to contribute in multiple ways. He has learned to deal with the physical contact — he often gets marked in soccer — and is adjusting to route-running and returning the ball.

“My (soccer) coaches don’t have a problem with it,” Ward said. “They encourage me to play other sports. It’s fun. Football just has a better atmosphere for me this year.”

Ward leads the GCC soccer team with 25 goals. He scored in Saturday’s 4-2 semifinal win over Springdale.

Cross the T’s and …

Ligonier Valley is all systems go to leave District 6 and join the WPIAL next school year, but there are a few formalities pending.

One is District 6 releasing the school. That won’t happen until Nov. 6, at the earliest, when District 6 has its next committee meeting. Ligonier Valley is on the agenda, according to Rams athletic director Corey Turcheck.

Ligonier Valley does not see any snags in its plan to change leagues.

Nese resigns

Rick Nese resigned as boys soccer coach at Penn-Trafford after five seasons.

Nese, who wants to spend more time with family, had a 55-30-4 record with three WPIAL playoff appearances. The Warriors finished 16-2 in 2016 and reached the quarterfinals.

P-T was 4-13 this season and missed the playoffs.

He also coached the Warriors girls soccer team for four years, starting in 2011.

Goal-oriented

Soccer scoring was plentiful, and defenses held their ground in the opening round of the WPIAL soccer playoffs.

Consider: Of the 54 first-round games, boys and girls, 30 were shutouts. And 11 teams scored seven or more goals, led by the Franklin Regional boys, who won 16-0 over Laurel Highlands.

The Quaker Valley boys, meantime, beat Beth-Center, 10-0.

On the girls side, Greensburg Central Catholic blanked Carlynton, 11-0. Kiski Area shut out Ringgold, 11-0, and Yough beat Highlands, 10-1.

All-conference soccer

The Big 5/6 Conference announced its all-section teams for the boys and girls regular seasons.

The website recognizes accomplishments of schools in the top two classifications in the WPIAL.

Local first-team boys from Section 3-AAAA are Hempfield senior Jake Ballantyne (forward), Norwin seniors Matt Federovich (F) and Adam Ornowski (midfield), and junior Nate Bown (defense), and Penn-Trafford senior Reno Kearns (MF) and sophomore Nate Schlessinger (D).

Area girls to make the first team in Section 3-AAAA: junior Katelynn Kauffman (F), and seniors Dani Iannuzzo (MF), Megan Dietz (MF) and Eva Frankovic (D) of Norwin; and five Penn-Trafford seniors in Sarah Nguyen (MF), Emma Rain (MF), Malia Kearns (MF), Heyley Grunberg (D), and Megan Giesey (goalkeeper).

Adam Shaffer of Hempfield was the boys Section 3 Coach of the Year.

Volleyball all-section

The Big 5/6 Conference also recognized its all-section teams in Class AAAA girls volleyball.

Westmoreland players selected to the first team: seniors Mekayla Dedo and Olivia Persin, and junior Maura Uschock of Hempfield; senior Victoria Nicholes and junior Abigail Lichtenfels of Norwin; and senior Bella Long of Penn-Trafford.

Michelle Pergar of Hempfield was named Section 3 Coach of the Year.

GS shootout

Greensburg Salem will have a girls basketball shootout that will include 11 varsity teams beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday at Hempfield Recreation Center.

Teams scheduled to compete include Greensburg Salem, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Seneca Valley, Oakland Catholic, McKeesport, North Hills, Southmoreland, Woodland Hills, Kiski Area and South Allegheny.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Recruiting

Derry senior swimmer Caleb Rullo received an offer to further his career at Frostburg State. Rullo swims the 100-yard freestyle and butterfly, among other events.

Winter season

Winter sports practice begins in less than a month (Nov. 18) for basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving, rifle and gymnastics.

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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