One Win Away

SV, North, Mars teams go for state titles this weekend

November 19, 2021 Cranberry Local Sports

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North Catholic setter Sydnei Jones looks to set up a teammate during the girls volleyball playoffs this fall. The Trojanettes, along with Seneca Valley boys soccer and Mars girls soccer, are each playing for a state championship this weekend.

One more win.

That is the focus of three Butler County high school teams that will be playing for a state championship Friday and Saturday.

The Seneca Valley boys soccer, Mars girls soccer and North Catholic girls volleyball teams each hope their 2021 season includes a happy ending on the biggest of stages.

SV (21-0-1), the WPIAL champion, will take on District 1 champ Conestoga (25-0) in the Class 4A boys soccer final at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.

While the Raiders are undefeated and defending their PIAA crown from a year ago, Conestoga brings its own clout into the game.

“I saw one poll that has them ranked first in the state,” said SV coach George Williams. “Another one has them third in the country. They're definitely going to be the best team we'd have played all year, but that's what you expect in a state championship.”

The Pioneers have allowed five goals all season, just one in the last 18 games. They will be matched against a Seneca Valley squad featuring senior forward Nathan Prex, whose 37 goals this season are a school record.

Others who have frequently found the net for the Raiders include midfielder Beaux Lizewski (11 goals) and Joey Coon (10).

Lizewski (19 assists), Connor Oros (15) and Max Marcotte (12) are the team's top distributors.

“Last year, we were incredibly deep,” said Williams. “We still have good depth and can go four or five deep (off the bench) and not lose much.”

Senior Caiden Oros leads a strong defense in front of goalkeeper Ryan Krumenacker, who has allowed just seven goals all season.

Girls Soccer

Mars (19-0-1) is seeking its third straight crown and fourth overall. In the first three (2011, 2019, 2020), the Planets defeated Villa Joseph Marie. This time, they will encounter Radnor, which won District 1 and enters the contest with a record of 20-4.

The Class 3A title game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.

“They're a big, strong and athletic team that uses a lot of pressure,” said Mars coach Blair Gerlach. “They don't have one big scorer, but have a lot of players who can score. In that way, they're a lot like us.”

The WPIAL-champion Planets are paced in that category by Aly Cooper's 15 goals and Piper Coffield has added 12 goals. Both players have tallied 12 assists and Addison Girdwood has 10 assists.

Junior Gwen Howell is the leader of an incredibly stingy defense that has worked equally well with goalkeepers Megan Boddy and Kate McEnroe. The duo has allowed just three goals in 20 games this season.

Boddy, a senior, plays the first half while McEnroe, a sophomore, stands guard in the second half.

“It's not a problem at all,” Gerlach said of splitting the time in net. “There's a mutual respect between the two and they root for each other.”

Girls Volleyball

In one respect, North Catholic has a very steep hill to climb to claim a PIAA title.

The Trojanettes (20-1) were swept earlier this season by District 3's Trinity. In a battle of district champions, the teams will meet for a rematch with much more on the line at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg.

The Shamrocks (21-1) are the defending state champions.

“The loss to them was really early in the season,” said North coach Amanda Fetter. “We're a different team now, we're playing at a different level.”

The Trojanettes proved that on Tuesday when they rallied from an 0-2 hole to defeat previously undefeated Philipsburg-Osceola in a thriller of a semifinal.

“We played great on Tuesday. The question is, can we sustain it,” said Fetter.

Setter Sydnei Jones and outside hitter Ally Feczko, both juniors, are two stalwarts on a very talented North team.

“This group is mostly juniors,” said Fetter. “Last year, they were sophomores just trying to figure it out.

“Now they're understanding their roles and it's fun to watch.”

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Derek Pyda

Derek Pyda

- Graduated from Connellsville High School in 1996
- Graduated from Clarion University in 2000 with a Bachelors in Communications
- Have also written for Clarion News (Clarion, PA) and the Herald-Standard (Uniontown, PA)
- Started at the Butler Eagle on April 2, 2002
- Interests include sports, history and geography