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Freshmen step in to help Central Valley girls to another section title

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Central Valley's Katie Alexander moves the ball upfield during a game at Beaver.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Valley's Katie Alexander moves the ball upfield during a game at Beaver.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Gateway's Carly Seneca battles Oakland Catholic's Taylor Renk for the ball during their Section 3-AAA game Monday September 17, 2012 in Munhall.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Gateway's Carly Seneca battles Oakland Catholic's Taylor Renk for the ball during their Section 3-AAA game Monday September 17, 2012 in Munhall.

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CARLY SENECAsenior, Gateway Seneca had two goals Monday in a 3-1 win over Hampton and has 22 for the season for the playoff-bound Gators.

LYDIA DENNIS junior, Mars Also a track and field standout, Dennis scored three times Monday in an 8-0 win over Indiana in Section 2-AA play.

MALEA FABEAN junior, Greensburg C.C. A 45-goal scorer last year, she scored twice Monday in a 4-0 nonsection win over Class AAA No. 4 Penn-Trafford.

KELSEY PLUTE junior, Bentworth She scored four goals in a 4-1 win over McGuffey last week for the playoff-bound Bearcats.

MEGAN SEIG junior, Serra Catholic She had a hat trick for the Eagles Monday in a 9-0 win over Obama Academy.

MORIAH WIGLEYfreshman, Quaker Valley She scored a hat trick earlier this month in a win over Obama Academy and has helped lead the Quakers to a 15-2-1 record.

Tribune-Review rankings

Class AAA

Team Rec. Pre.

1. Peters Township 16-1-0 1

2. Bethel Park 17-1-0 2

3. Seneca Valley 16-1-0 3

4. Penn-Trafford 13-4-0 —

5. Gateway 14-3-1 5

Out: Norwin 12-3-2 4

Class AA

1. Mars 15-1-1 1

2. Central Valley 13-0-1 2

3. Moon 17-1-0 3

4. South Park 12-3-1 4

5. Belle Vernon 15-2-1 5

Class A

1. Greensburg C.C. 14-1-0 1

2. Sewickley Acad. 16-0-1 2

3. South Allegheny 15-0-0 4

4. Shady Side Acad. 12-4-1 3

5. Bishop Canevin 11-2-2 5

Note: Records don't include Tuesday's gamesWPIAL POSTSEASON CLINCHINGS

Section 1-AAA: Penn-Trafford, Norwin, Franklin Regional

Section 2-AAA: Seneca Valley, Hampton, North Allegheny

Section 3-AAA: Gateway, Fox Chapel, Plum

Section 4-AAA: Bethel Park, Baldwin, Mt. Lebo

Section 5-AAA: Peters, Upper St. Clair, Canon-McMillan

Section 1-AA: Yough, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland

Section 2-AA: Mars, Highlands, Knoch

Section 3-AA: Central Valley, Hopewell, Beaver

Section 4-AA: Belle Vernon, South Park, Elizabeth Forward

Section 5-AA: Moon, Quaker Valley, Montour

Section 1-A: Sewickley Academy, Neshannock, Quigley Catholic, Mohawk

Section 2-A: South Allegheny, Charleroi, Bentworth, Chartiers-Houston

Section 3-A: Bishop Canevin, Avonworth, Ellis School, Seton-La Salle

Section 4-A: Greensburg Central Catholic, Shady Side Academy, Springdale, Riverview

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Molly Delostrino wasn't concerned. Perhaps that's because she personally knew better than most.

Delostrino was part of the Central Valley girls soccer team that last season went undefeated in section play and advanced to the WPIAL and PIAA Class AA semifinals.

But seven starters from that Warriors team graduated. In their place, ultimately, seven freshmen stepped in.

Cause for concern? Not at Central Valley — and certainly not for Delostrino. Two of the freshman who have stepped up are her sisters. Ally and Lexi Delostrino are one of two sets of twins who are freshman starters for the Warriors.

“I definitely think they will be one of the best classes we'll have at Central Valley,” Molly Delostrino said. “They're getting this experience this year and have played together competitively, so I think they could go really far as they get older. This is only their freshman year, and they've already been pretty successful this year.”

The Warriors were WPIAL Class AA's lone undefeated team heading into their regular-season finale against Steel Valley Tuesday night. At 10-0-2 in Section 3-AA play, Central Valley shared the section championship with Hopewell and continued its section unbeaten streak. In its three years since the merger of the Center and Monaca school districts, Central Valley has yet to lose a section game.

The Warriors figure to be one of the top seeds when the WPIAL releases its playoff brackets tonight.

“We're very excited about the season we've had so far,” Central Valley coach Mark Perry said. “Especially after we lost seven starters from last year's team that was so successful, it was a little unexpected to be where we are because we're so young.”

Injuries to upperclassmen contributed, too, but Central Valley has started seven freshmen for late-season games. In addition to the Delostrinos, who play at the outside back spots, the Pritt twins (Olivia and Cassie) handle the outside midfield.

Freshman Jessica Henderson has played well since inheriting the center-fullback spot initially due to injury, and two other freshmen have played very prominent roles.

Robyn Hampe has stepped in as Central Valley's goalkeeper, and forward Hannah O'Connor was third on the team with 14 goals heading into the regular season's final game.

Sophomore Karina Fratangeli also is a starter.

With all that youth, the Warriors' four upperclassmen co-captains provided a stabilizing force: Molly Delostrino is a solid midfielder, and junior midfielders Katie Alexander and Ashley Mutkus are the team's two leading scorers with 21 and 18 goals, respectively.

Central Valley suffered a big blow when four-year starter Danielle Pontus sustained a knee injury that knocked her out for the season. Pontus had started every game since her freshman season at center fullback.

Veterans coming off the bench include senior defender Elizabeth Lucci and senior midfielder Haley O'Connor.

“Ashley, Katie, Molly, and when Dani played, those four kind of led us and let the freshmen come along and develop at their own pace,” Perry said. “Now that they have a season under their belt, they're almost sophomores. That's the way we look at it.”

Just in time for the postseason.

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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