Recognize: Greater Pittsburgh

Updated: October 1, 2008, 9:30 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

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.