A-K Valley notebook: Wrestlers continue pipeline to UPJ
The Alle-Kiski Valley seemingly has a pipeline to the Pitt-Johnstown wrestling program, and that trend continued this spring.
Burrell’s Dillan Jeffrey and Kiski Area’s Matt Siszka committed to the Mountain Cats as part of their 2017-18 recruiting class, which UPJ announced recently.
The pair will join Burrell graduates Al Beattie, Steve Edwards and Corey Falleroni, as well as Kiski Area’s Cole Landowski as part of the UPJ program. Burrell in particular has a strong UPJ contingent, with past graduates including Travis McKillop and current Burrell assistant coaches Chris Como and Isaac Greeley.
Jeffrey went 34-13 as a senior, finishing second at the WPIAL Class AA championships and the PIAA Southwest Regional tournament. He qualified for the PIAA individual championships for the first time and also helped Burrell win its 11th consecutive WPIAL Class AA team championship.
Siszka finished 32-13, earning his 100th career victory at the WPIAL Class AAA championships. He came within one victory of qualifying for the PIAA individual championships and also helped Kiski Area win the WPIAL Class AAA team title and finish third in the state team tournament.
Leechburg softball coach Debbie Young sent one of her assistants to scout the WPIAL Class A first-round game between California and Union on Tuesday, with the winner slated to play the Blue Devils.
When she got an early score update — Union led 11-0 in the third inning — Young announced to her players the likelihood of a quarterfinal matchup with Union.
Not so fast. California stormed back to win the game 19-15, in 11 innings.
“That had to be unbelievable,” Young said.
Leechburg made sure it wouldn’t become California’s second victim, pounding the Trojans, 15-2, Thursday to advance to Tuesday’s WPIAL semifinals.
The prevalence of perennial contenders across WPIAL sports means even teams from different sections can develop postseason rivalries after several matchups.
Deer Lakes boys volleyball encountered Montour in the playoffs for the second consecutive season, defeating the Spartans, 3-0, in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals Thursday. The Lancers also prevailed over Montour in last season’s WPIAL consolation match, the 2012 WPIAL consolation match and the 2011 WPIAL championship match.
Freeport softball met South Park for the second straight season. Playing the Eagles in the same round (the WPIAL quarterfinals) and at the same location (Hampton Community Park), the Yellowjackets suffered the same result, bowing out of the postseason with a 13-3 loss.
Deer Lakes baseball will attempt to avoid a similar fate Monday with a matchup against No. 12 Quaker Valley in the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals. In the teams’ last postseason meeting, the 2014 WPIAL consolation game, Quaker Valley won in 10 innings to deny the Lancers a spot in the PIAA playoffs.
Let’s play two
By virtue of advancing to the WPIAL semifinals, the Deer Lakes and Leechburg softball teams assured themselves of one thing: Tuesday won’t be their last game.
Should Deer Lakes beat South Park in the Class 4A semifinals and Leechburg beat West Greene in the Class A semifinals, the teams would advance to the WPIAL championship game later next week at Cal (Pa.).
But even a loss won’t end their seasons: They would then play in the WPIAL consolation game, with a win there giving them entry into the PIAA playoffs.