What to watch for in WPIAL sports on June 17, 2023: Mars lacrosse, Shaler volleyball go for gold

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Friday, June 16, 2023 | 10:30 PM


The final day of the 2022-2023 high school sports season got a little busier after wet weather led to the postponement of five state baseball and softball games Friday.

Check out our front page for previews of the two PIAA championship games involving WPIAL teams: Shaler softball in 5A and Mt. Lebanon baseball in 6A.

There are three others state title games set for PSU on Day 3 of the baseball and softball finals, plus four lacrosse championships, including Mars boys, and two boys volleyball finals that includes Shaler.

Lacrosse

The Mars boys lacrosse program made history two years ago when it became the first WPIAL lacrosse school to play for a PIAA championship, losing to Allentown Central Catholic in the 2021 2A finals, 14-5.

Last spring, the Fightin’ Planets again made history, become the first District 7 team to win a state championship, beating Marple Newtown in the 2A finals, 9-6.

On Saturday, Mars (22-2) will try to repeat as state champions when it once again faces the Fightin’ Tigers. Marple Newtown (19-5) was the District 1 runner-up.

The match takes place at Panzer Stadium at Penn State University at 2:30 p.m.

The other three lacrosse state finals:

• In boys 3A, District 1 champion Springfield (22-2) faces a familiar foe when it plays D-1 runner-up Radnor (22-3) in a rematch of the District 1 championship won by the Cougars, 10-8. The match is set for Panzer Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Radnor is the defending PIAA champion.

• In girls 3A, it will also be a rematch of the District 1 championship as winner Owen J. Roberts (24-1) battles D-1 runner-up Penncrest (21-4) at Panzer Stadium at noon.

• In girls 2A, District 3 champion Twin Valley (19-6) goes up against District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll (22-1) at Panzer Stadium at 10 a.m. These two met in the final last year with Archbishop Carroll winning, 15-7.

Boys volleyball

Six years ago was the last time a WPIAL team did not win the PIAA 3A boys volleyball crown.

In 2017, Central York defeated North Allegheny, 3-1, to win state gold.

NA then went on to win the next four PIAA 3A championship in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. There was no 2020 season.

So while the Tigers’ run atop the state in 3A is over, that doesn’t mean District 7 isn’t ready to bring more boys volleyball state gold back to Southwestern Pa.

WPIAL champion Shaler (19-1) tries to win its first boys volleyball crown Saturday when it faces District 11 champion Parkland (22-0).

Parkland will be trying to win its second state boys volleyball title after winning it all in 2015.

The Titans vs. Trojans match is at Rec Hall at Penn State at 1:30 p.m.

• In 2A, District 10 runner-up Cochranton (18-5), which opened the PIAA playoffs with a win over WPIAL champion North Catholic, goes up against District 3 champion Lower Dauphin (22-0) at 11 a.m.

Baseball

Class 4A

Bellefonte (19-5) vs. Dallas (17-7)

1:30 p.m. Saturday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park

• District 6 battles District 2 as two district champions look to add state gold to their collection this season.

• Bellefonte beat three WPIAL teams — Latrobe, Indiana and Hopewell — to reach the finals while Dallas defeated Esperanza, Hanover and Archbishop Wood on their way to the state title game.

• The Raiders are 16-11 all-time in the PIAA playoffs and are in their second state title game. Bellefonte beat Susquehanna Township in the 2016 finals, 2-0.

• The Mountaineers are 7-2 all-time in the PIAA playoffs and are in the state finals for the second time as well. Dallas beat South Park in the 2017 state finals, 5-0.

Class 2A

Bald Eagle (21-4) vs. Mount Union (24-2)

10:30 a.m. Saturday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park

• District 6 takes center stage in the 2A baseball state title game in a rematch of the D-6 finals, won by Bald Eagle, 11-5.

• Bald Eagle beat McConnellsburg, Karns City and Sharpsville to reach the finals while Mount Union defeated Wyalusing Valley, Calvary Christian and Kutztown on their way to the state title game.

• The Eagles are 13-9 all-time in the PIAA playoffs and are in their second state title game. Bald Eagle beat Kutztown in the 2007 finals, 6-1.

• The Trojans are 49-24 all-time in the PIAA playoffs and are in the state finals for the seventh time. Mount Union beat Oley Valley in the 1988 finals, 6-2, knocked off Wyomissing in the 1993 title game, 14-8, defeated Lampeter-Strasburg in the 1995 finals, 5-0, and cruised past Notre Dame-Green Pond in the 2019 finals, 9-1. The Trojans lost to West Perry in 1980, 2-0, and fell to Tri-Valley in 1996, 7-1.

Softball

Class 3A

Juniata (25-3) vs. Mid Valley (22-2)

noon Saturday at Nittany Lions Softball Park

• District 6 champion Juniata battles District 2 champion Mid Valley.

• Juniata beat Burrell, Avonworth and Jamestown to reach the PIAA championship game.

• Mid Valley defeated Warrior Run, Forest Hills and Palisades on its way to the state finals at Penn State.

• The Indians are 3-0 all-time in the PIAA playoffs as this is the first season they ever qualified for the PIAA softball playoffs.

•The Spartans are 16-14 all-time in the PIAA postseason are playing in their second state title game. Mid Valley lost to Mt. Pleasant in the 2017 PIAA 3A finals, 5-3.

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