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Football: 2015 North Season Preview

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

Expect to see a handful of high school football teams from the Post-Gazette‭'‬s Northern coverage region make an impact in the WPIAL standings this season.

Central Catholic once again is expected to be a top dog in the always-competitive Northern Eight Conference. North Allegheny, however, enters this season ranked No. 4 in the Post-Gazette's Class AAAA rankings. Michael Pope, a junior running back, rushed for 552 yards last season and should play a big role in the Tigers' offense. Defending champion Pine-Richland, though, is coming off one of its best seasons in years. The Rams are listed No. 5 in the preseason rankings, but they also graduated a lot of starters, including star quarterback Ben DiNucci. Sophomore Phil Jurkovec will step in at quarterback to run the offense. Also keep an eye on Butler, Seneca Valley and Shaler because all three programs have new coaches this fall. Former Hopewell coach Dave Vestal replaced Don Holl at Seneca Valley, while Rob Densmore took over at Butler and Jon LeDonne at Shaler.

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Football: 2015 North Players to Watch

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

Here are some football players to watch from the North area this season.

Jake Buccigrossi, North Hills, OL, Sr. - Earned first-team All-Northern Eight Conference honors.

Zach Chandler, Avonworth, QB, Sr. - Threw for 700 yards in the first three games last year but suffered a season-ending injury.

Addis Crouch, Knoch, SB/FS, Sr. - Expected to play a key role in the Knights offensive scheme this fall.

Richard Giles, Perry Traditional Academy, RB, Sr. - Rushed for four scores last season and is expected to be a star back out of the Commodores' backfield.

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Boys Soccer: 2015 North Season Preview

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Butler's run to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals was one of the storylines of the 2014 season. The Golden Tornado went 6-5-1 in Section 2-AAA play, but snuck into the playoffs and then upset Penn-Trafford and Seneca Valley to reach the WPIAL semifinals. To try and capture that magic again, Butler will look to senior forward Paul James to pick up the scoring after the graduation of leading scorer Anthony Werth. Seneca Valley appears to be the section favorite with senior midfielder Jorge Olan and senior forward Matt Saluga returning. North Allegheny, another playoff team from a year ago, is expected to contend, as well. The Tigers graduated Section 2-AAA Player of the Year Steve Binning. Their defense will be anchored by senior Nick Thornton. Shaler will be a tough out in the section with senior midfielder Ryan Landry, a Duquesne recruit.

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Boys Soccer: 2015 North Players to Watch

Written by Joe Greiner on .

Here are some boys soccer players from the North to keep an eye on this season.

Isaac Bigenho, Freeport, Junior, Forward
Cole Ferguson, Mars, Senior, Midfielder
Kota Furuhata, Fox Chapel, Senior, Midfielder
Griffin Geppert, Avonworth, Senior, Midfielder
Owen Harkins, Quaker Valley, Junior, Defender
Paul James, Butler, Senior, Forward
Ryan Landry, Shaler, Senior, Midfielder
Ryder MacDougall, Sewickley Academy, Senior, Defender/Midfielder
Jorge Olan, Seneca Valley, Senior, Midfielder
Jackson O'Neil, Sewickley Academy, Senior, Goalkeeper
Cole Pappas, Avonworth, Senior, Midfielder
Matt Rytel, Shady Side Academy, Senior, Forward
Matt Saluga, Seneca Valley, Senior, Forward
Matt Teitelbaum, Sewickley Academy, Senior, Forward
Nick Thornton, North Allegheny, Senior, Defender

 

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Girls Soccer: 2015 North Season Preview

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Seneca Valley captured the WPIAL Class AAA championship last season and with senior all-WPIAL midfielder Sarah Anderson returning along with senior midfielder Caroline Miller and senior defender Lexus Lambert, a repeat run is not out of the question. The Raiders will have to replace Kelsey O'Connor, another all-WPIAL midfielder, and goalie Jess Neill who was in net for 16 shutouts. The Raiders must also navigate the difficult Section 2-AAA that features North Allegheny and Pine-Richland. The Tigers return senior forward Amanda Miller. Miller was named to the all-WPIAL team after helping lead North Allegheny to the WPIAL playoffs. Junior forward Amanda Kalin led the Rams to the playoffs last year. Fox Chapel returns ten starters from a WPIAL quarterfinal team last year, including all-WPIAL selections Taylor Cohen and Deena Debaldo.

Mars remains the team to beat in Section 2-AA. The Planets have not lost a section contest in four years. They will have to replace Sabrina Edwards, a linchpin in their starting lineup for the past four seasons, but they do have junior forward/midfielder Tori Kopchak, junior goalie Sammy Papik and senior forward Erin Posey. Quaker Valley should challenge for a playoff spot in Class AA with senior forward Moriah Wigley, a 25-goal scorer last season.