TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Derry girls display new attitude on soccer field

Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - Derry Area's Nichole Klapchar (21) controls the ball in front of Yough's Natalie Beers during a game in Derry Township on September 10, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>Derry Area's Nichole Klapchar (21) controls the ball in front of Yough's Natalie Beers during a game in Derry Township on September 10, 2012.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - Derry Area goalie Kaitlynn Piper shouts instructions to her team during a game in Derry Township on September 10, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>Derry Area goalie Kaitlynn Piper shouts instructions to her team during a game in Derry Township on September 10, 2012.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - Derry Area's Shauna Wambold controls the ball in front of Yough's Taylor Hampshire during a game in Derry Township on September 10, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>Derry Area's Shauna Wambold controls the ball in front of Yough's Taylor Hampshire during a game in Derry Township on September 10, 2012.

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

Daily Photo Galleries

Latrobe Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, 12:20 a.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  2. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  3. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  4. McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  5. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
  6. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  7. Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
  8. Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
  9. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
  10. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  11. Roman Catholic Church in midst of culture clash over gays