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WPIAL Softball: 2016 Season Review

A year ago, some new faces flashed championship gold in WPIAL softball as both Mount Pleasant in AAA and West Greene in A won their first ever softball district titles while Ellwood City won the AA championship for the second time and first in nearly a decade. The exception was Hempfield, who repeated as AAAA champ with their third WPIAL championship in eight years. Both Hempfield and Yough went on to win a PIAA state softball title as well. Before we look ahead, we look back at the 2016 WPIAL Softball season.



In a postseason of tight and extremely competitive hockey, two of the four PIHL championship games were decided by 6-1 scores and another was a 5-2 final. However there were dramatics as the D-II title was decided in a 2-1 overtime thriller. In the end, Franklin Regional repeated in Class 1-A, while Peters Township in 3-A, Plum in 2-A and Meadville in D-II also claimed PIHL high school hockey gold. Here are ALL the results from the 2017 PIHL Penguins Cup Playoffs.

Results with (MSA) after are game you can hear archived here on MSA Sports while games with (MSA Video) after the score are contests you can watch archived here on The Network.


Peters Township Upsets Top-Seed PCC for 3-A Pens Cup

The 6th-seeded Peters Township Indians finished their Cinderella run through the 3-A Penguins Cup Championships by beating top-seeded Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 5-2, at the UMPC Lemieux Sports Complex on Wednesday night.  The underdog run by the Indians including them beating #3 Canon McMiillan in the opening round (2-1), #2 North Allegheny in the semi-final round (7-0) and the Vikings in the championship game.

Meadville Wins D-II Title With OT Thriller Over Carrick

Meadville had been tormenting goalies all season long, as the Bulldogs averaged more than 10 goals per game in the regular season and the playoffs. It finally seemed that a goaltender had their number on Wednesday, though, as Carrick’s Nathan Norkevicus made save after save, many in spectacular fashion. In overtime, though, Meadville captain Jeff Millin capitalized on a turnover and roofed a shot past Norkevicus to give Meadville the 2-1 win, as the Bulldogs claimed their first Division 2 Championship at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township.

Plum Pounds Latrobe For First Pens Cup in 28 Years

In two previous meetings against Latrobe during the regular season in PIHL Class AA, Plum lead early, blew a lead, rallied and won, and in the second game trailed early, rallied, trailed again and rallied to win again.

This time, in the PIHL Class 2-A Penguins Cup Finals on Tuesday night at the UPMC Mario Lemieux Sports Complex in Wexford, Plum didn't leave anything to chance.

The Mustangs, the highest scoring team in Class AA with 117 regular season goals, struck early and left little doubt in claiming the AA title with a 6-1 win over the Wildcats, a team that got hot at the tail end of the regular season and surged to its fifth Penguins Cup final since 2008.

Franklin Regional Repeats as PIHL Pens Cup 1-A Champs

For nearly the first 14 minutes of the PIHL Class A title game between Franklin Regional and Indiana, it seemed as if the goaltenders on each respective side would be perfect, seemingly feeding off the raucous atmosphere inside the UPMC Sports Lemieux Sports Complex. However, that changed 13:50 into the first period, when Oldrich Virag netted his first of two goals as the Panthers beat the Little Indians 6-1 for their second straight PIHL Penguins Cup Class 1-A championship.

The Virag opening tally came off a feed from Justin Gismondi and Nick Carretta, all three of which had multiple point games.

WPIAL Alum Q&A - Jimmy Leichliter

Averaging double figures in scoring for a college basketball season is quite an accomplishment, but averaging double figures in each of the first three seasons of a player's collegiate career is even more impressive. Former Connellsville star Jimmy Leichliter has achieved that feat at Geneva College, as he's become one of the top performers in his conference. Leichliter is the featured athlete for this weeks' installment of the WPIAL Alum Q&A.

In high school, Leichliter was a two-year starter for the Falcons, although his team did not taste the postseason in either of those campaigns. In 2012-13, Connellsville compiled a mark of just 7-15. In Leichliter's senior campaign, the team improved to 11-10, as he netted approximately 18 points per game.

Coaches Corner - Molly Rottman

In this feature titled “Coach’s Corner”, I will be interviewing a different coach every week and asking them questions about their personal life and about coaching. Hopefully their answers will not only shed some light on how they coach their respective teams, but also allow readers to get to know the men behind the fields/courts.

This week features Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s girls basketball head coach Molly Rottmann. Coach Rottmann is in her 19th year as the head coach of the Trojanettes, with over 380 wins, 5 WPIAL titles, and one PIAA crown. She is a graduate of CWNC, and played under WPIAL legend Don Barth. Let’s take a look inside Coach Rottmann’s corner:


PIHL Notebook

After nearly six months of regular season and playoff action, the final week of the 2016-17 PIHL season is upon us. Tonight and tomorrow, four champions will be crowned at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. Here's a detailed look at the matchups in Class AAA, Class AA, Class A and Division 2.

Class AAA: No. 1 Pittsburgh Central Catholic vs No. 6 Peters Township at 8 p.m. Wednesday with Steve Nagler and Cory Campano

Path to the championship: Central Catholic defeated No. 8 Butler 5-3, defeated No. 5 Seneca Valley 5-4 in double overtime; Peters Township defeated No. 3 Canon-McMillan 2-1, defeated No. 2 North Allegheny 7-0

Earlier meetings: Central Catholic 8, Peters Township 6; Central Catholic 5, Peters Township 3

PIAA Basketball Semifinals Preview

There are 12 final fours in Pennsylvania high school basketball this year – and 12 WPIAL teams are involved.

This is the first year of six classifications in basketball and the PIAA semifinals for all boys and girls teams are Monday and Tuesday around the state. The championships are Thursday through Saturday in Hershey.

Seven boys teams and four girls teams from the WPIAL are still alive. Bishop Canevin has both its boys and girls teams alive. Besides Bishop Canevin, the WPIAL boys teams still left standing are Pine-Richland, Quaker Valley, Lincoln Park, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Sewickley Academy and Monessen. The WPIAL girls teams in the semifinals are Bishop Canevin, North Allegheny, South Fayette, Trinity and Bishop Canevin.

This Week on the MSA Sports Network

The high school basketball and high school hockey seasons come to a golden end this week on the MSA Sports Network. Our winter sports postseason coverage concludes with the PIAA state basketball Semifinals and Championship Games as well as PIHL Penguins Cup Championships and the Pennsylvania Cup state hockey title games with all seven hockey Finals on video stream as well,  plus we have final editions of the season of The WPIAL Roundball Report and The PIHL Power Play Show ALL here at

Monday, March 20th:

TALK SHOW - Carlow Sports Talk at 8:30pm on

PIHL Penguins Cup Playoff Recaps for Wednesday, March 15th

Michael Jackson would have loved these 2017 PIHL Penguins Cup Playoffs because they have been littered with postseason Thrillers. On the final night of Semifinals week in these high school hockey playoffs, one game continued the theme while the other was a rare laugher. Top-seed Pittsburgh Central Catholic had to be in comeback mode to advance to the finals in double overtime while Peters Township made it look easy in cruising the the title game. Here are recaps from both PIHL Class 3-A Semifinals from Wednesday night.

A special thanks to Steve Nagler and Sean Saputo for their help on these recaps.


PIHL Penguins Cup Playoff Recaps for Tuesday, March 14th

Not one, but two high school hockey championship games were determined on Tuesday with both the Class 2-A and Division II Final Four taking place. While there were warning about the weather for today that never materialized, it was Plum and Latrobe in 2-A and Meadville and Carrick in D-II that unleashed a fury that propels them all to the PIHL Finals at the UPMC Mario Lemieux Sports Complex next week. Here are recaps from all four Semifinals hockey games.

A special thanks to Rob Longo, Lou Rood, Sean Meyers and Matt Vandriak for their help on these recaps.


PIHL Notebook

The eventful play-in and first round action has drawn to a conclusion, and now the focus is on the semifinals in all four classifications. Last night, Franklin Regional and Indiana scored dramatic victories to advance to the Class A Championship. Weather permitting, the Class AAA, Class AA and Division 2 title games will also be set after tonight and tomorrow. This week's PIHL Notebook takes a look at the six contests that will determine which teams advance to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry next week.

Class AAA

No. 1 Pittsburgh Central Catholic vs No. 5 Seneca Valley at the RMU Sports Complex on Neville Island at 6:45 Wednesday, with Steve Nagler and Kevin Zielmanski:

PIHL Penguins Cup Playoff Recaps for Monday, March 13th

The competitive nature of these 2017 PIHL high school hockey playoffs continued into Round Three on Monday as both Penguins Cup Class 1-A Semifinals games went down to the wire at the RMU Sports Complex on Neville Island. Defending champion needed a frantic comeback late in the third period to return to the title game while Indiana needed overtime to clinch their second title game trip in the last three years. Here are the recaps from both Class 1-A Semifinals that you can hear or watch archived here on MSA Sports.

A special thanks to Kyle Dawson and Kevin Zielmanski for their help on these recaps.


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