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Recognize: Greater Pittsburgh

10/1/2008

ESPN RISE takes a look at the teams to watch this month in the greater Pittsburgh area:

Field Hockey -- North Allegheny
Coach Jen Diaz doesn't mince words when she
explains her expectations for this season. "We're
looking to win the WPIAL again," she says. There's
plenty of reason for her enthusiasm to be so high this
season, even if her team did lose 10 seniors from last
year's squad. The crop of talent is exceptional from
top to bottom, and it starts with a current group of
seniors who are pivotal contributors. Senior captain
Liz Herb is the team's starting center midfielder.
"She's extremely energetic," Diaz says. "She's a great
leader by example. She loves to play field hockey,
and you can see that by the way she plays." Herb and
fellow senior captain Caroline Torie are the leaders of
the team. Torie, a forward, is best known for her
speed. "She does a great job of receiving the ball and
taking it into space," Diaz says. "She's fast, she goes
for the cage and she loves to shoot."Another girl with
excellent shooting prowess is senior Andrea Camut,
and she's equally adept in her own zone. "She is very
strong defensively," Diaz says. "She's great at sneaking
up behind players who have the ball." Senior
keeper Steph Anderson and senior defensive stalwart
Shelby Roehre make up a stingy back line, while
junior Alli Schwer and two freshmen -- Carley
Thieret and Paige Banerstrom -- have earned valuable
playing time this year.

Boys' Golf -- Upper St. Clair
After winning last year's WPIAL Division 1 team tournament by a 10-stroke margin over Peters Township,
the Panthers are a team that has an excellent chance of repeating this season. The team looks to be strong
again, as two of last year's low scorers are back to help the team defend its title. Look for senior E.J. MacFarland,
who tied for ninth last year, and senior Marshall Brown, who tied for 19th, to both contend for individual
titles this season.

Girls' Volleyball -- Seton-LaSalle

The Rebels may have emerged from last season as the WPIAL Class A champs, but this year's team
undoubtedly wants and expects more. After losing in last year's PIAA state tournament quarterfinals, there is
plenty of work to be done. Of the three players who were selected to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches
Association All-State team last year, two of them return to anchor this season's roster -- seniors Alex Cochran
and Aubrey Johnson.

Football -- Seneca Valley

With some of the best players in the state on the roster, a regionally televised game early in the season and
plenty of high expectations that constantly follow the program, Seneca Valley is ready for a big year. Look for
senior quarterback C.J. Brown, a Maryland recruit, to lead a high-octane offense this season. It helps that he's got
star receiver Matthew Plautz, also a senior, as a big, reliable target to throw to. If the Brown-to-Plautz connection
can keep the offense clicking this season, it could be a very successful year.

Breakout teams

BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY -- SOUTHMORELAND
Juniors Justin Najewicz and Tyler Vivio have Southmoreland primed to move up in the standings.

GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY -- RIVERVIEW
Senior Christi Trilli has the Raiders headed in the right direction.

BOYS' SOCCER -- CENTER
Luca Campos, a junior this season, is one of the state's most dangerous players.

GIRLS' SOCCER -- NESHANNOCK
Junior netminder Tiffany Nazarian is one of the best keepers in the region.