Neumann-Goretti's Arrigales look for PCL title sweep

Posted: February 25, 2014

Marlena Arrigale started planning the logistics a few days ahead of time. She knew she would have to pack an extra set of clothes and find a bag big enough to lug everything around school Monday.

The Neumann-Goretti basketball teams will go for a historic sweep of the Catholic League championships Monday night at the Palestra. The girls play Archbishop Wood at 7 p.m. The boys' final against Roman Catholic is set for 8:30.

No one is likely to have a better seat, or more of an emotional investment in the outcomes than Marlena, a senior guard and deep reserve.

If all goes to plan, Marlena will snip a piece of the net after the undefeated Saints win their first title since 1978. Then she'll make a quick change and hop into the student section to watch her father, Carl, try to claim his 10th championship coaching the boys.

The only school to win both titles in the same year was Cardinal O'Hara in 1968.

"This is our 12th trip to the finals, and she's been around for them all. She's been a part of every one." Carl Arrigale said. "This would just be a little different."

And not just the uniform his daughter will wear. When Carl won his first title in 2001, Marlena handed out trophies dressed as a cheerleader.

The stakes have gotten higher as the boys' program has risen from an upstart in 1997, when they won their first title in 12 years, to reigning league power.

The boys are seeking their sixth straight title, tying the record set by Roman Catholic between 1989 and 1994.

"I'm probably more nervous for my dad, because there's so much riding on it every year," Marlena Arrigale said. "I start yelling at kids in school when they're like, 'Oh, they're going to win.' I shout at them, 'You don't know that!' "

Neumann-Goretti and Roman Catholic have won nearly 50 Catholic League basketball championships between them. The schools have met in the final five times since 2000, with Neumann-Goretti winning three. Four of the five games were decided by three points or fewer.


tmcmanus@philly.com

@ByTimMcManus

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