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Baseball: Deer Lakes dials up another win against Knoch

Written by Keith Barnes on .

For some reason, Deer Lakes seems to have Knoch's number.

Last week the Lancers handed the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champion Knights their first loss of the season in a 4-1 victory in the first of the two meetings this season as Zach Lubick tossed a complete game and Jake Spirnock drove in two in a 4-1 victory.

Even more impressive, Deer Lakes (5-2, 2-0) handed Ohio University recruit Cole Shinsky his first loss in two years. The senior left-hander was 10-0 last season.

In the grand scheme of things, the Lancers win wasn't much of a surprise. Last season, Deer Lakes finished the season 10-10 and 8-4 in Section 5, but also ousted Knoch, 6-3, in the first meeting of the season, one of only two losses the Knights were dealt.

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Softball: North Feature Athlete - Deer Lakes’ Maria Taliani

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Maria Taliani
High School: Deer Lakes
Grade: 12
Sport: Softball
Position: Outfielder

Background: It's a family affair at Deer Lakes, where three members of the Taliani family contribute to the team's on-field success. Maria is a three-year starting outfielder. Sister Katrina is a freshman reserve. Father Craig is the head coach. Maria Taliani is a returning all-section pick who led the Lancers to the WPIAL Class AA title last season when she belted three home runs in the championship game. A Gannon recruit, Taliani is batting better than .400 this season for a Lancers team that is 5-1 overall and ranked No. 1 in Class AA.

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Softball: Deer Lakes led by outstanding outfield

Written by Brad Everett on .

Rachel Tanilli, Maria Taliani and Maureen Hutchinson are three of the top outfielders in Class AA.

The fact that they play on the same team gives defending WPIAL Class AA champion Deer Lakes one of the best outfields in the entire WPIAL.

Tanilli, Taliani and Hutchinson are all seniors and three-year starters. Tanilli and Taliani were all-section picks last season. Taliani and Hutchinson are both hitting better than .400. Taliani and Tanilli will be teammates even after this season. The two signed with Gannon.

"That's a special group," said Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani, who is Maria's father. "To have those three out there for a couple of years. That's a lot of experience, innings, at bats, big games. They hope to put together a good season. The senior class overall has really seen a lot."

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Girls Basketball: Devastating second quarter dooms Deer Lakes

Written by Joe Koch on .

When Deer Lakes found itself down 14-2 less than three minutes into the first quarter of Thursday's Class AAA first-round girls basketball game against defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA state champion Blackhawk, Deer Lakes had an answer. Particularly in the early stages of the second quarter when four unanswered Lancers points cut the deficit to 20-15.

But that was the end of the line for a Lancers team that finished 15-9 as Blackhawk outscored Deer Lakes 28-3 in the remaining 6:43 of the second half to take a 30-point halftime lead and go on to earn a 75-50 victory and advance to Saturday's quarterfinals where the Cougars lost to Hampton, 52-40.

"I said to [the team] at halftime that if we would have done the little things like getting back on defense, making easy layups, taking care of the ball and making foul shots, we would have been right there," said first-year coach Dave Petruska. "The way that it worked was the way that it wasn't meant to be tonight."

Petruska had hoped for a better outcome.

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Girls Basketball: Defending state champions next for Deer Lakes

Written by Joe Koch on .

Coming off a Class AAA 62-54 preliminary-round victory over Greensburg Salem this past Saturday at Gateway, the Deer Lakes girls basketball team likely will have its hands full with its next assignment. That's because the Lancers -- the No. 3 team from Section 1-AAA – meet two-time defending Class AAA WPIAL and PIAA champion Blackhawk in a first-round game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at North Hills.

Deer Lakes finished four games behind co-champions Hampton and Mars, which shared the section title with matching 11-1 records. The Lancers were 7-5 against section rivals and are 15-8 overall. Blackhawk, conversely, is smarting a bit as it enters the WPIAL tournament. The Cougars finished second in Section 2-AAA with a record of 12-2 and are 16-6 overall. Their section losses came against Beaver, 64-62, and Ambridge, 53-42, and both of them occurred at home.

If the Lancers can get past the Cougars, they would play the winner of another first-round game between Hampton and Mt. Pleasant on Saturday. Wednesday's game between the Talbots and the Vikings starts at 8 p.m. at Fox Chapel.

Mars, the other Section 1-AA co-champion, begins its playoff journey at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against Derry at Fox Chapel. The winner of that game meets the winner of another first-round game between Ambridge and Keystone Oaks.