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Girls Golf: 2016 West Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

Most of the time, when a team finishes second at the WPIAL 2A team championship, it's likely that the next step for a team is to pack the gear and focus on the off-season with a long view toward the next season.

That's most of the time.

For Central Valley's girls golf team, a runner-up finish caught the attention of the PIAA as the Warriors finished a scant three strokes behind WPIAL champion Greensburg Central Catholic at the four-team WPIAL final. The Centurions had 347 strokes, while the Warriors had 350. Sewickley Academy (376) and Mount Pleasant (421) also competed.

Based on its total at the District 7 championship, Central Valley was invited to compete in what turned out to be a three-team PIAA 2A team championship. District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep was the third participant.

At York's Heritage Hills Resort, the match was even closer than the one waged between the Warriors and the Centurions at the WPIAL final. Central Valley won the PIAA team title with 368 strokes, and Greensburg Central Catholic had 369. Mercyhurst Prep was third with 391.

Central Valley senior Alex Bozich may not have won a WPIAL or PIAA 2A individual title, but she played like one at the PIAA 2A team championship with a 6-over-par round of 78 that was two strokes ahead of the score posted by three-time individual champion Olivia Zambruno of Greensburg Central Catholic.

Bozich's teammate, sophomore Kiaria Porter, was a WPIAL 2A individual champion. She shot a 9-over-par total of 81. Two juniors -- Jackie Smith and Brianna Fleming -- sealed the title with scores of 103 and 106, respectively.

Zambruno's younger sister, sophomore Abby Zambruno, was next with a total of 88. Juniors Olivia Stawovy and Kaylene Chavez were next for the Centurions with scores of 99 and 102, respectively. That left the Warriors just enough room to secure the fourth title in school history and third in 2A. Central Valley also won the 2A state team title in 2012 and 2013. In a brief foray into 3A, the Warriors won the 2014 team title.

Porter scores upset at WPIAL 2A individual tournament: A not-so-funny thing happened to Greensburg Central Catholic standout and Penn State recruit Olivia Zambruno on what many thought would be a third consecutive WPIAL 2A individual title.

Zambruno later was able to take some solace as she won the PIAA Western Regional and her third PIAA 2A Individual title in a row.

But on Oct. 5, 2016 at Treesdale Golf & Country Club, Zambruno faced some rare difficulties with a triple-bogey on the 17th hole. Unaware that she had the lead when she teed off on the 18th hole, Porter hit her tee shot into the rough. But she hit a wedge to within six feet of the hole, and her par putt earned her the WPIAL title with a 6-over-par score of 78, two strokes ahead of Zambruno and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic ninth-grader Maddie Smithco, who tied for second place.

"It was pretty nerve-racking, but I had just had to get a club to get it over [the water] and it straight," she said.

Porter had never played in a WPIAL championship before as she did ndot make it out of the sectional tournament a year ago. But the tournament's seventh seed overcame some jitters after the first tee.

"It's exciting my first time here, and I was nervous when I started," she said. "I was practicing a lot and grinding a lot more so that I would make it."

Porter qualified for the PIAA Western Regional, where she finished in a fifth-place tie with Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic's Smithco. Each had 12-over-par rounds of 84. At the PIAA 2A individual championship, Porter earned all-state honors when she tied for fifth place with a two-day total of 170. Porter's teammate, senior Alex Bozich, was fourth with a two-day total of 165. At the Western Regional, Bozich was third with a 7-over-par total of 79.

Lyons qualifies for state final: South Side Beaver senior Sophie Lyons completed a solid career by qualifying for the PIAA Western Regional and advancing to the PIAA 2A individual championship. Lyons finished in a tie for 10th place with a round of 91, and she tied for 11th at the PIAA final with a two-day total of 180.