Raider sports set precedent for future


Luke Henne, Contributor

During the 2017-18 school year, the odds were against many of the Seneca Valley Raiders’ sports teams. However, most defied the odds and turned their seasons into respectable and admirable ones.

The boy’s basketball team, led by six seniors, including David Ritchie and Jake Bunofsky, rolled to a 14-9 record. In their penultimate regular-season game, the Raiders defeated the highly talented Pine-Richland Rams by a score of 63-61 to clinch a WPIAL playoff berth.

The boys were eliminated early in the playoffs, but the playoff berth set the benchmark for Vic Giannotta-coached teams of the future.

The girl’s soccer team coasted to a 12-5 regular season, with nine of those wins coming via a shutout. Unfortunately, they were shut out in their opening round game of the playoffs, but coach Mark Perry’s tactics proved vital in orchestrating another successful season.

On the boy’s end of the soccer program, head coach George Williams led the boys to a 13-6-4 record. The boy’s did not end the season with a desirable outcome, but they did finish as the 44th best team in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

The football team finished with a sub-par record of 3-6, but when they won, they won big. In wins over Shaler and Altoona, they combined for 94 points for and 21 points against. In a shutout over rival Butler, the Raiders put up 35 points en route to capturing their 15th consecutive Eagle Traveling Trophy.

Without question, the story of the Raider sports season belongs to the varsity hockey team.

After a respectable regular season in which the boys recorded a 12-6 record with a +13 goal differential, they entered the PIHL Varsity AAA Playoffs as the second-overall seed. In their quarterfinal match-up, they bested seventh-seeded Bethel Park by a score of 4-1.

In the semifinals, they squeaked past third-seeded Cathedral Prep by a score of 3-2. They set themselves up for a championship match-up with the top-seeded Peters Township Indians.

It was a daunting challenge, as Peters Township had been the cream of the crop throughout the regular season. However, the game was set to be played at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, just miles south of the Seneca Valley School District.

Led by an infectious home-ice advantage and a stellar overall performance, Seneca Valley defeated Peters Township 4-2 and sealed their spot as the Penguins Cup champions.

The boys were defeated in state playoffs in a match-up just outside of Philadelphia, but this was, without question, their most successful season in the recent past.

In what was a year of some heartbreak, Seneca Valley sports once again paved the way for future generations during the 2017-2018 seasons.