Derry girls display new attitude on soccer field
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Nicole Reitz doesn't want to give the wrong impression about herself and her Derry girls soccer teammates in past seasons.
“I wouldn't say we had a bad attitude,” the junior fullback said of the Trojans program prior to last season. “But there was a negative attitude, how's that?”
Coach Mark Curcio similarly is reluctant to use too strong a language in describing the state of the Derry program when he took it over just prior to the start of last season.
But make no mistake, no matter how you frame it, there's no denying the Trojans were in a perpetual state of struggle. Heading into last season, Derry had won 23 games over the previous eight seasons combined.
“A lot of girls looked at it as a wrecked program,” Curcio said. “But I've tried to show them that we can be a legitimate varsity program that can compete.”
The Trojans are showing signs of doing just that, and Curcio has set their sights on attaining a .500 record or — gasp — playoff berth.
Those are modest goals at some places. But they would have been unthinkable only a couple years ago at Derry. Between 2003-11, Derry won only 13 section games and never was closer than seven games under .500. The Trojans lost their final 16 after winning the season opener in 2010, the season before Curcio took over.
“Ever since Coach Curcio started as our coach, it definitely helped make our attitude better,” Reitz said. “And when that happens, it makes you play better.
“He's definitely turned the entire program around for the better.”
Derry's roster has four seniors. Three of those players — midfielders Shauna Wambold and Jill Catanzarite and forward Nichole Klapchar — have roots in soccer that date back before joining the varsity team. Wambold, Catanzarite and Klapchar serve as team captains, and Reitz joins them in handling a leadership role.
“They carry the team on their backs for the most part,” Curcio said. “My biggest job is to keep them motivated and not frustrated with the inexperienced players.
“If they make a play and an inexperienced player messes it up, it goes back as if the play didn't execute at all. I have to be able to keep the experienced players motivated, and hopefully the inexperienced players will catch up with them. That's my biggest challenge this year. If these inexperienced players come along quickly, we can compete in our section.”
Klapchar led the team in goals with three heading into the week and Curcio said Reitz is one of the section's top defenders. Also, sophomore Kaitlynn Piper had a strong offseason and has stepped in to be a reliable goalkeeper.
Section 1-AA is already beginning to separate itself into the tiers Curcio expected it to. Derry lost two of its first three section games before playing Mt. Pleasant Monday. But the defeats were to section co-favorites Yough and Southmoreland.
Greensburg Salem is another section heavyweight, but Curcio believes his team can compete for fourth place among a group that includes Waynesburg, Uniontown and Mt. Pleasant. The Trojans already defeated Uniontown, 3-0, Sept. 7.
“If we can stay around .500, that would show we're working well on getting a better name for the program,” Reitz said.
“The morale and will to win is there,” Curcio said. “Right now, it's just experience that's against us.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Mt. Lebanon native, Iraq war hero’s action goes unrewarded
- Downie’s goal, fight spark Penguins to win over Coyotes
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Arab League gets serious on terrorism
- Probiotic bacteria help conquer ‘superbugs’
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of a union retiree’s pension
- Man rescued from sinkhole in McKeesport