Mustangs rifle team in playoff battle
Plum coed rifle head coach Scott Kolar said he likes the way his varsity shooters have pulled together as a team and are shooting well as the regular season comes to a close.
“If you look at our scores from the beginning of the season to now and compare them with the scores of everyone else in the WPIAL, some schools peaked early,” Kolar said.
“We were flat early, but we've been climbing since then.”
Plum went 1-2 in the first two cycles against Section 3 foes Butler, Hempfield and Indiana, but the Mustangs were 2-1 in the most recent cycle and were 4-5 heading into the start of the fourth and final cycle.
That final cycle started Tuesday at home against Butler, and Plum began the week in control of its own destiny to be one of the two teams from the section to make it to the WPIAL team playoffs on Feb. 12.
The math was simple — the Mustangs needed to beat Butler, and Tuesday's match was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.
Wins over Hempfield (Thursday) and Indiana this Tuesday also are necessary in the playoff equation.
Kolar was impressed with his team in a simulated match on Monday that featured the 10 shooters who also were to be declared for Tuesday's match with Butler.
The team shot an 800-69x, the best score a Plum team has ever recorded in a regular match or a simulated match in practice.
Kolar knows that the WPIAL team-championship match is up for grabs, no matter who ends up in the match from the three sections.
“There's really no dominant team this year in the WPIAL,” Kolar said.
As nice as Monday's score was, Kolar said, he hoped that effort would translate over to Tuesday.
Fourteen shooters have at least one score this season that contributed to the overall team score through Plum's first 11 matches.
The WPIAL individual championship match is Feb. 14, and because of the move to three sections for this season, one additional entry per team was added. Now, five shooters per team will compete at the WPIAL meet.
Coach Kolar said Jake Danik, Scott Kolar, Ian Michaels and Melissa LeClair pretty much are set as individual representatives for Plum, which are determined based on averages from scores in all the matches this season.
The fifth entry, coach Kolar said, still is undecided between Rebecca Hall, Mikaela Zacher and Anastasia Klonowski.
Zacher fired perfect 100-10x scores against Indiana last week and in practice on Monday, while Hall shot a 100-10x against Hempfield on Jan. 22.
Klonowski recorded a 100-6x in the Hempfield match and a 100-8x against Indiana.
Fourteen shooters from the WPIAL individual championship will advance to states to take on 14 shooters from the eastern side of the state.
“I would be surprised if we don't get a couple shooters to states,” coach Kolar said.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388- 5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.