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Fox Chapel golfers stride into WPIAL team semis

| Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, 12:37 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Fox Chapel's Patrick Sheerer leads the balanced Foxes (14-1) in scoring average. Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Deer Lakes' Brandon Newmaster (21) runs the ball into Summit Academy's Benjamin Norwood (38) during their game at Summit Academy in Herman on Saturday, October 6, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Deer Lakes' Cody Keenan (7) is hit by Summit Academy's Hamin Williams (51) 1during their game at Summit Academy in Herman on Saturday, October 6, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch

Fox Chapel boys golf coach Bryan Deal must feel like a Ryder Cup captain when it comes time to send out a lineup.

The Foxes have one of the deepest rosters in the WPIAL, and they hope that translates into a Class AAA championship.

The team playoffs begin Monday with the semifinal round and Fox Chapel (14-1) expects to compete for the title. If this year doesn't work out, keep the seat warm for next season.

Fox Chapel plays in the 10-team qualifier at 9 a.m. at Hiland Golf Course.

With only one senior in the starting lineup, next year could come with greater expectations.

“This will be a great experience; a big step for our kids,” Deal said. “There are a lot of very good teams out there. If we play as well as we can, we might be in that mix, too.”

Fox Chapel's only loss was to Central Catholic, 200-201. The Foxes have six players averaging 41.9 or better for nine holes, led by junior Patrick Sheerer (39.13).

An example of the team's balance came in Tuesday's 199-211 win over Franklin Regional. Jorden Alfery shot 39 and Sheerer, Charlie Friend, D.J. Diethrich, David Rice and Greg Gittes all shot 40.

Deal thinks the Foxes can post a high-300/low 400 score, which should get his team into the finals.

The top three teams from each of four sites advance to the finals Oct. 13 at Cedarbrook Golf Course near Belle Vernon.

“Any of our six can go really low any day,” said Sheerer, the team's No. 1 player. “Like coach told us, don't ever think your score doesn't count. Every stroke counts.”

Sheerer said players can pick each other up when others are struggling.

“There's no reason we can't win the WPIAL this year,” he said. “We know we can be good again next year, but we're going to try and play our best this year.”

Fox Chapel has won four WPIAL team titles, the most recent in 2006.

“We have to be able to perform under pressure,” Deal said.

Four other local teams will open the postseason Tuesday.

Kiski Area will compete at the Class AAA semifinal at Butler's Golf Course, while Burrell and Freeport will be at the Class AA semifinal at Indian Run Golf Course and Kittanning will be at Donegal Highlands Golf Course.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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