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Peters Township lacrosse team builds momentum for title run

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Peters Township's Hannah Wilcox works against Pine-Richland's Taylor Thene in front of the goal during their game Monday April 30, 2012 in Pine.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 12:51 p.m.

The gold medal proves it: Katie Denning is a champion.

She just doesn't feel like one.

The senior defender was a member of Peters Township's 2009 WPIAL Division I girls lacrosse championship team — the last of a three-year title run for the Indians — but Denning doesn't hold her contributions in high esteem.

“I only got pulled up for the playoffs and did not play in the championship game,” Denning said. “I have a medal for doing absolutely nothing my freshman year.”

But even Denning, a Lafayette recruit, can't deny that she now holds a major role on's top-ranked WPIAL squad. And with three more Division-I recruits lacing the Indians' roster, that talent could deliver the program's first title since '09.

“It would mean the world to me,” Denning said. “Those ('09) seniors were amazing. You wanted to be like them and have that season.”

At 11-1, Peters Township is on that path — and succeeding during the toughest part of its schedule.

Thursday's matchup with rival Mt. Lebanon will be the Indians' fourth meeting against a team ranked in the WPIAL's top four since April 19. Peters Township is unbeaten against league opponents — its lone loss came to out-of-state Cleveland Heights, Ohio — but it hasn't always been easy.

No. 3 Shady Side Academy pushed the Indians to overtime last week, and Peters Township had to erase a three-goal halftime deficit in Monday's 13-10 triumph against No. 2 Pine-Richland.

“From day one at practice, our team has given me confidence that we can reach our potential,” junior Caitlin Carey said. “We come in determined, and we're always fighters.”

Well-armed fighters, at that.

Averaging 14.9 goals per game, Peters Township has the second-best offense in Division I and hasn't scored fewer than 10 goals all season.

Carey, whose sister, Janel, won WPIAL titles in 2007 and '08 with the Indians before walking on at Notre Dame, is committed to national power Duke. She's living up to the family name, too, scoring five goals in the win against Pine-Richland and six against Shady Side Academy.

“That's what motivated me,” she said. “This Peters team had a lot of tradition.”

Also committed to Division I schools are juniors Sarah Bootman (American) and Hannah Wilcox (Jacksonville).

“We're a talented bunch,” Carey said. “But we also have the heart, and that's a big deal.”

Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-380-5697.

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