West Xtra: Central Valley girls celebrate PIAA Class AA championship

GIRLS GOLF


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At around 9 p.m. on Oct. 24, the bus transporting several Central Valley students was greeted by fire trucks, police cars and 100 "concerned citizens" at the Center Exit of the Beaver Valley Expressway.

There was no problem or emergency, however, just a celebration.

The Warriors girls golf team won the first state title in school history last week, shooting a combined score of 342 to win the PIAA Class AA championship by 26 strokes better than second-place Mercyhurst Prep of Erie. The best four scores from team members for an 18-hole round are counted in the team scoring.

"It's a great feeling," senior Jocelyn Sudar said. "It was our main goal all season."

This is only the third year of existence for the school, which was created out of merger of Center and Monaca schools. Central Valley had won the WPIAL Division II title the previous two seasons and since 2000, Center and Central Valley have a combined nine section titles. The Warriors currently have a 70-match win streak in section play.

The team did not have a state title, however, because there was no PIAA Class AA tournament before this season. But the Class AA state title was created for this year, and Central Valley smoked the field.

"At the end of nine holes, I calculated we were up about 20 shots," Central Valley coach Larry Milosh said. "And my girls, they want to know what the score is. Some players don't, but mine want to know. So I told them all they have to do is hang in there and not to take any risky shots."

The Warriors had a bit of an advantage coming into the team tournament, because three of their players -- juniors Macky Fouse and Marissa Sudar and freshman Maddy McDaniel -- had already played the Heritage Hills Golf Resort course near York the previous two days at the Class AA individual tournament, with Fouse taking third and McDaniel fourth.

No other squad in the Class AA team competition had more than one player in the individual competition.

"I think that was really important," Fouse said. "We got used to it and it made it easier for us because we were familiar with the course."

Fouse, who finished second at the WPIAL Class AA individual tournament, led the way for the Warriors. Fouse's 77 was the best score of any of the 20 players in the team competition, while McDaniel's 79 tied for second to help the team run away from the field.

Because there was no Class AA tournament for the school to compete in prior to this season, it's tough to say whether Central Valley would have won a title in previous seasons under this new format. But Milosh said there is no doubt this is the best Central Valley/Center team he has coached.

"This is clearly the best team," Milosh said. "Before, we had a school-record team total of 166 [in a regular-season team match], which stood for four or five years. This year, we shot a 149 and broke the previous record about 10 different times.

"We've had some really good teams, but this is the best. We have girls who never see action who would be top players for many other teams."

The scary thing for other teams around the state is that the team could be just as good, if not better, next season. Jocelyn Sudar and No. 5 player Daniella Battisti will graduate, but Fouse, McDaniel and Marrisa Sudar will all return in 2013. The team also has a few talented eighth-graders whom Milosh figures to be in the mix.

"I'm really hoping to win again as a senior," Fouse said. "It'll be hard to replace Jocelyn, but we are going to try hard to repeat."

If the Warriors do repeat next season, maybe Fouse and her teammates will once again get to ride in a fire truck.

"That was awesome," Fouse said. "I had never ridden in a fire truck before and they let me sit in the front. It was exciting."

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