Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Champs Still Aim for More Mt. Lebanon Girls Eye Piaas

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Champs Still Aim for More Mt. Lebanon Girls Eye Piaas

Article excerpt

Surrounding any championship is external noise, the kind of pressures that take place away from the actual game but can undoubtedly -- and often do -- play a role in it.

For the Mt. Lebanon girls lacrosse team, that situation was no different entering the WPIAL Division I championship last Thursday. The Blue Devils were in search of their first title since 2006, the end of a three-year span in which they ruled the sport locally, winning the championship every year from 2004-2006.

Even the oldest girls on the team were barely 10 when that run came to an end, but that history is part of the program they represent, so in many ways, it was a part of them.

Knowing this, coach Brian Kattan had a simple message for his players before they took the field at Highmark Stadium.

"I told them before the game that as long as they go off the field knowing that they gave 100 percent and that there's no regrets, then everything would work out fine," he said.

His words proved right.

Mt. Lebanon continued what's becoming a benchmark season with a 9- 7 victory against Quaker Valley for the program's fourth WPIAL title, something that is a precursor to what the team hopes will be an extended run in the PIAA playoffs.

The prize is greater, as are the challenges that await them, but the Blue Devils are ready for what's ahead.

"We're definitely feeling good," senior midfielder/attacker Alyssa Battaglia said. "We've never been in a situation to go to states, so we just want to get as far as we can and do as good as we can to set a precedent for years to come."

How far the team advances might depend on Battaglia. A standout since her freshman year, she has often been her best on the bigger stages, something which held true in the WPIAL championship when she scored five goals.

"I don't know if I can say anything about Alyssa that hasn't already been said," Kattan said. …

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