WPIAL girls soccer preview: Can anyone rocket past state champ Mars in Class 3A?
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 | 4:10 PM
The contenders: WPIAL runner-up Norwin might be one the fastest teams in the WPIAL and the Lady Knights have the talent to return to the finals, powered by Pitt recruits Lacey Bernick and Katelyn Kauffman. … Forward Megan Donnelly, a Villanova commit, leads Pine-Richland, another team built to run in the fastest heat. … Defending champion North Allegheny can’t be written off, especially with Sarah Schupansky (Pitt) out in front. … Fox Chapel took Norwin down to the wire in the quarterfinals, losing by one goal. Eastern Kentucky recruit Lucy Ream is back for the Foxes. … Peters Township is loaded with skill thanks to game changers like Cece Scott (Michigan State) and Emma Cantwell (Robert Morris).
Sleepers: Upper St. Clair is a perennial playoff team and could be ready to bust through led by UNC-Ashville commit Carson Bogan. … Mt. Lebanon will be in a lot of games due to its defensive play. … Watch Butler lurking in the shadows. The Golden Tornado was competitive in a tough Section 1 and will rely on Maci Lineman, an Akron recruit. … Veteran coach Mark Perry and Seneca Valley made the semifinals and lost 1-0 to Norwin.
3. Fox Chapel
Players to watch
Megan Donnelly, Sr., F, Pine-Richland
Katelyn Kauffman, Sr., F, Norwin
Lucy Ream, Sr., MF, Fox Chapel
Sarah Schupansky, Sr., F, North Allegheny
Cecilia Scott, Jr., D, Peters Township
The contenders: Defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Mars is a good bet to repeat, maybe in both tournaments, after going 22-0-1. Senior Pitt recruit Ellie Coffield is the reigning PA Gatorade Player of the Year and can turn a game on its ear. … Runner-up Plum has the firepower to return to the finals, led by Kaitlyn Killinger, Gina Proviano and others. … Watch Belle Vernon, which loaded the net last season with 118 goals. Big scorers Jillian Butchki, Farrah Reader and Izzy Laurita, the last of whom did not play last year, are all back. … Senior 38-goal scorer Hannah Henn, a Michigan State commit, makes Oakland Catholic a tough out. The Eagles won the WPIAL two years ago. … A D1 trio powers West Allegheny in Mackenzie Taranto (Duquesne), Morgan Shansky (Akron) and Mackenzie Evers (Pitt). Can the Indians challenge Mars in new-look Section 4?
3. Belle Vernon
Players to watch
Jillian Butchki, Sr., MF, Belle Vernon
Ellie Coffield, Sr., MF, Mars
Grace Dunaway, Sr., D, Mars
Mackenzie Eversm Jr., F, West Allegheny
Hannah Henn, Sr., F, Oakland Catholic
The contenders: After reaching the quarterfinals last season, Brownsville is primed to move farther across the WPIAL bracket. Junior Tessa Dellarose scored 49 goals last season. … Defending champ North Catholic still features junior Jayden Sharpless, a Georgia State commit who has over 80 career goals. … Shady Side Academy, which won four WPIAL titles in Class A since 2010, moves to 2A and instantly becomes relevant. … Yough made the finals for the first time and has a few scoring threats to replace Justin Appolonia (Youngstown State), including McKenzie Pritts. …Deer Lakes sees rising talent in Madeline Boulos and Lily Litrun.
5. Deer Lakes
Players to watch
Tessa Dellarose, Jr., MF, Brownsville
Jordyn Kowalkoski, Sr., MF, Burrell
McKenzie Pritts, So., MF, Yough
Melissa Riggins, Sr., MF, Shady Side Academy
Jayden Sharpless, Jr., MF, North Catholic
The contenders: High-powered Freedom reached the WPIAL semis and PIAA quarters but lost both games to Greensburg Central Catholic. The Bulldogs return sisters Renae and Jules Mohrbacher. The former led the WPIAL wth 70 goals. … Runner-up GCC, which is glad to see longtime rival and nemesis Shady Side Academy move up, still has plenty of weapons, including Sam Felder (IUP), Tatum Gretz (Villanova) and Jess Nemeth (IUP). The Centurions made the PIAA semis. … A balanced look comes with Bentworth, which features net-minder Jasmine Manning and net-finders in Reagan and Mallory Schreiber. … After reaching the quarterfinals, Bishop Canevin has experience and should be the favorite in Section 3. … Senior Jaime Dermotta helps make Serra Catholic a quiet contender.
Sleepers: Seton LaSalle won a section title last season and made the quarterfinals.
2. Greensburg C.C.
Players to watch
Jaime Dermotta, Sr., MF, Serra Catholic
Tatum Gretz, Jr., F, Greensburg CC
Sam Felder, Sr., F, Greensburg CC
Jules Mohrbacher, So., MF, Freedom
Renae Mohrbacher, Jr., F, Freedom
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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