Girls Soccer: North Feature Athlete - Highlands' Alexis Bengal

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Alexis Bengal
School: Highlands
Grade: 12
Sport: Girls Soccer
Position: Midfielder

Background: Bengal did not start playing soccer for her high school team until she was a junior. Bengal played with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy during her first two years, something she still does. But it was not until her junior year that she decided to come out for the Golden Rams. Bengal has been a very nice addition to a team looking to have one of the best seasons in program history. Bengal is one of four seniors headed to play college soccer next year. Bengal will be a Panther next year as she has committed to play at the University of Pittsburgh.


Girls Soccer: Highlands not looking past Springdale section clash

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Springdale was an exciting addition to Class 2A Section 2 girls soccer this year. The Dynamos had regularly pushed Greensburg Central Catholic and Shady Side Academy in Class 1A in previous years and the addition of the program was anticipated by some of the coaches familiar with the program and its coach Jerry Concannon. So far things have not gone as planned for a Springdale team having to replace numerous starters from last season. The Dynamos are winless through their first seven matches and 0-4-1 in section play. Still, do not expect Highlands (5-2, 4-1) to sleep on Springdale.

"Whenever you have Jerry, the Peter Pan of soccer, as the head coach, you always worry about them," fifth-year Highlands coach Mark Duffield said. "In my mind he is the best coach in PA West. He will always have his team organized. Myself, as a coach, I would love to test myself against someone like that."

Highlands and Springdale will meet for the first time this season on Monday at Highlands at 7 p.m. The game marks the conclusion of the first half of the section schedule for each team. The Golden Rams lone section loss came at Freeport, 2-1. Springdale has been extremely competitive despite its record. It opened the year with a 0-0 tie against Deer Lakes but have been on the wrong end of two one-goal decisions and three two-goal decisions in section play.


Girls Soccer: Expectations ramped up at Highlands

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

In a refigured 2A classification, there could be a number of non-traditional teams making a run at WPIAL gold. In the preseason, Highlands is certainly wearing the label of potential dark horse. The Golden Rams were 12-4 overall last year and 10-2 in Section 2-AA. They unseated defending WPIAL champion Montour in the WPIAL first round before losing to eventual WPIAL finalist South Par in the quarterfinals. Highlands is still in Section 2-AA but it's a new-look section without Mars and the Golden Rams could very well be the favorites. The other teams in the section are Valley, Burrell, Deer Lakes, East Allegheny and Freeport.

Seven starters are back from the 12-win team last season. The headliners of the returning group are Alexis Bengal and Taylor Gunn. Bengal is on her way to becoming a Panther, the senior midfielder has been recruited by Pitt. Gunn will play at Slippery Rock next year. She scored 10 goals last season. The run to the WPIAL quarterfinals was the deepest postseason run in program history. They will look to push the envelope further this year.


Cross Country: Highlands boys, girls race to runner-up finishes

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Both the Highlands boys and girls cross country teams took second place at the River Trail Invitational on Friday, Sept. 2.

Kyla Kelley dominated the girls' race, breaking the tape in 19:21. More than a minute elapsed before Thomas Jefferson's Lydia Shaw crossed the line in 20:26. Kelley was the only girl for Highlands to finish in the top 10. As a team, Highlands finished behind Thomas Jefferson (55), losing by five points with 60.

The boys team earned 56 points, taking second to Belle Vernon. The Highlanders had two runners in the top 10. Keegan Bello grabbed fourth place. He crossed the line in 17:44, just one second behind Belle Vernon's Brett Seich. CJ Thimons took 10th place with a finish time of 18:13.

Elizabeth Forward's Jacob Hebda won the race with a time of 17:31.


Alumni Update - Micah Mason (Duquesne)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

PITTSBURGH - Micah Mason, who finished his Duquesne career as the sixth-most accurate 3-point shooter inMason Duq NCAA history, has signed a contract to play professionally for The Port of Antwerp Giants of the Belgian League.

The 2016 third team Atlantic 10 pick is the second Duke coached by Jim Ferry to sign an overseas contract - joining Ovie Soko (2014) who is under contract to Enel Brindisi in Italy.

The Giants won the Belgian Cup - the top tier national basketball cup competition in Belgium - in both 2000 and 2007.

Mason completed his career with a .463 (311-671) success rate from the 3-point arc. His .458 (271-592) 3-point percentage at Duquesne was the best in Atlantic 10 history. This past season, Mason hit a school record 118 3-pointers, which tied the fifth-highest total in A-10 history, on his way to averaging a team-high 18.4 points per game.

The Highlands graduate, who transferred to DU after one season at Drake, scored in double digits 67 times, including 62 times at Duquesne. He reached the 20-point mark 21 times, including a team-high 15 as a senior.

Mason ended up ranked first in school history in 3-point percentage (.458), second in free throw percentage (.854), third in 3-pointers made (271) and 23rd in scoring (1,269). His 271 3-pointers were the highest three-year total in school history.


(photo courtesy of Duquesne University)