Plum Ultimate club team finds its success
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Adam Molinaro had fun but didn't experience much success his first two years playing for Plum's team in the Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League.
“In two years, we only won one game,” said Molinaro, a Plum senior.
“Then we actually learned how to play, and we started winning. We all love the game so much that we had fun even when we lost. But winning is much better.”
Plum has been winning regularly the last two years, qualifying for the PHUL playoffs both seasons.
Molinaro and his teammates finished fifth in the 2013 Division II champion-ship tournament and concluded the season with an 8-2 record.
Ultimate, originally called Ultimate Frisbee, is a seven-on-seven game played with a flying disc.
The object is to score points by passing the disc and advancing it into the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in football.
Players can't run with the disc and must keep a pivot while holding it. If a pass is incomplete, intercepted or caught out-of-bounds, the opposing team immediately gains possession and tries to move the disc in the other direction.
Touchdowns are worth one point. The first team to total 15 points wins.
“There's a lot of teamwork involved,” said Molinaro, Plum's team captain as a junior and senior.
Many of the 17 players on Plum's roster this season also ran track or cross country, which made them a good fit for Ultimate, a game of speed, agility and endurance.
Ultimate is a club sport at Plum, with the players running the team. Games and practices are held on the high school football field.
Ultimate's roots can be traced back to 1967. The first collegiate games were played in 1972.
The PHUL got started in 2001 and currently includes boys teams from 21 Pittsburgh-area high schools. There are high school leagues for boys and girls.
Plum was one of 13 teams in the PHUL's Division II. It played in Division II's Southeast Division, which also included Gateway, Woodland Hills, Obama Academy, Central Catholic, Bethel Park and Braddock Hills.
Gateway and Plum, with one loss apiece, shared the top spot in the Southeast Division regular-season standings.
An early-season showdown with Gateway went to Plum, which won 15-13 on March 24.
“That was our main highlight of the whole season,” Molinaro said. “We had never beaten Gateway, and we never scored more than five points against them in six years.”
Plum's only two losses in the 2013 season were to Obama Academy, a 15-12 setback on May 5 and a 15-13 loss in the PHUL playoffs May 13.
“(Obama Academy) had some really tall kids,” Molinaro said. “Our tallest player was 5-8 or 5-9, and their shortest was about 5-8. They were too big for us.”
Junior Caleb Tarosky led Plum in touchdown receptions with 17, and senior Dan Szurley made 12 touchdown grabs. Topping the team in touchdown throws were Molinaro and junior assistant captain Alan Yocca.
The defense was anchored by senior Berty Ruan, the team leader in blocks.
Plum's team has come a long way since Molinaro and his friend, senior Lucas Airhart, joined the club as freshmen.
“We all love playing”, Molinaro said. “We just go out there and have fun.”
Also on the 2013 team were seniors Abish Pius and Alex Denny; juniors Andy Marzullo, Jeff Ruffing and Stephen Hemmerle; sophomores Brandon Molinaro, Jake Younkins and Dan Allman; and freshmen Jake Chapla, Jake Susalla and Noah Frederick.
Plum 2012 graduates Aaron Valetta, James Held, John McAleavey, Scott Romanko and Alex Rudolf worked with the team this season.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 stores robbed in Alle-Kiski Valley
- Springdale to stick with chief
- Burrell makes effort to improve performance scores
- Steelers film session: Watt kept under control
- Upper Burrell man charged with sexually assaulting boy
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Leechburg councilwoman resigns; applicants sought
- Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
- 2 appointees fill out Cheswick Council
- BVA’s Parshall gives Penn State a commitment for softball
- Officials unite to combat violence in New Kensington