Westmoreland soccer notebook: Third county team gets crack at Mars girls

Monday, October 31, 2022 | 5:10 PM

Two Westmoreland girls soccer teams have attempted to knock three-time defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Mars from these playoffs, but Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional have come up short despite Herculean efforts.

Both took Mars to overtime and lost 1-0.

Another local team, Latrobe (12-2-2), will get its shot at the Fightin Planets (16-0) on Tuesday night in the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals at Gateway, with a spot in Saturday’s final at Highmark Stadium on the line.

While Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional relied on defense to repel Mars, stacking eight or nine players behind the ball, No. 5 seed Latrobe is more apt to “play with” the champs. In other words, the Wildcats might look to utilize a more open style and go shot-for-shot with the Planets.

Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison has said previously her team can play different styles and adjust in-game to what opponents present.

Scheme aside, Morrison thinks simply finishing opportunities will be the key to an epic upset, no matter who is lined up where.

“We are expecting it to be quite the matchup,” Morrison said. “You have to beat the best to be the best. Our goal is going to be to focus on what we can bring to the game.

Latrobe has allowed only one goal since Sept. 21. Mars, though, has given up just three scores all season.

Top cheerleaders

Follow the Mt. Pleasant girls soccer team, and it is hard to ignore the two wheelchairs behind or near the team bench.

One is for senior Cassidy Fullman, the other for junior Tara Schandel, both of whom suffered knee injuries earlier in the year.

The girls still come to the games to support the Vikings on their quest for the program’s first WPIAL title.

Mt. Pleasant (18-1), the No. 2 seed in Class 2A, plays No. 3 South Park (14-5) on Tuesday night in the semifinals.

“They have been so supportive, cheering us on from the bench,” senior Marissa Garn said.

All-state honors

Two local boys were selected to the Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All-State list.

Franklin Regional senior Colton Hudson and Carlo Denis of Greensburg Central Catholic were two of 14 players selected.

Hudson helped lead Franklin Regional to a 14-5 record after the Panthers were upset by Montour in the WPIAL 3A playoffs.

Denis, whose team was stunned in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals by Charleroi, leads the WPIAL with 54 goals.

All-star games

The Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association will host its annual all-star games Dec. 17 at North Allegheny’s Newman Stadium.

Class A will play Class 2A at 11 a.m., followed by 3A vs. 4A at 1 p.m.

Stopped short

With Class A power Greensburg Central Catholic, the top seed, and Class 4A No. 3 Norwin getting upset in the quarterfinals, this will be the first year since 2017 that Westmoreland County does not have a boys team in the semifinals.

That also was the last time no local teams made the PIAA playoffs on the boys side.

Nice run

Rob Fabean has been coaching at Greensburg Central Catholic for nine years. The boys coach had never missed the WPIAL finals until this season. Top-seeded GCC was upset no No. 8 seed Charleroi, 3-2, in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals.

Fabean was on staff with the GCC girls from 2012-15 when his daughter, former standout Malea Fabean, played for the Centurions.

He was an assistant for two years under Tyler Solis before becoming head coach last year.

The GCC girls went 90-7 and won three WPIAL titles during his time on staff, and the boys have gone 84-18 with two WPIAL championships, including a 31-9 with Fabean as head coach.

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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