Pine-Richland soccer's deep roster helps team overcome injuries
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Pine-Richland boys soccer team has had its problems staying healthy this season.
The Rams' record sure hasn't.
Despite a spate of injuries of various degrees to no fewer than eight contributors, Pine-Richland entered this week as one of only three teams in the WPIAL with a perfect record — the only one in Class AAA — as the regular season sits at roughly the two-thirds point.
“We're very happy with the results, but we're putting everything into perspective,” coach Jon Conner said. “This time of year, it really doesn't mean a great deal if you don't do it at the end of the season. Our guys are pretty grounded and pretty mature. They know that one loss (in the playoffs) can end our season.
“We're happy with where we are, but most of the things we wanted to accomplish we haven't yet.”
The Rams are 11-0, and perhaps more importantly, perfect in seven Section 2-AAA games. Pine-Richland has nine shutouts and has allowed only two goals all season.
“I think this year we're doing so well because of chemistry,” senior co-captain Tyler McCarthy said. “Last year, we had a lot of talent, but we didn't have much chemistry. This season, with all the seniors, some of us have been playing together since we were 6, some since we were 10, and in time, everyone learns to play together. Everyone likes each other. There's no problems on the team that there might have been the past couple years.”
The Rams are on their way to qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. But only once in the previous six years have they advanced past the quarterfinals. Pine-Richland went 10-5-4 last season, losing in the quarterfinals.
Conner said this season's roster has 35 players who are juniors or seniors, including 18 seniors. The raw numbers alone — even at a Class AAA school — have helped. But beyond mere quantity, Pine-Richland has proven it has plenty of quality.
“There've been some guys who've really stepped into some roles and matured as the season progressed,” Conner said. “There's been so many guys who might not have had a role in terms of playing time when the season started but who worked in practice like they did, and now, they've been able to step in, and it shows.”
McCarthy, a midfielder, is a co-captain along with senior midfielder Pat Sullivan and senior forward Victor Osio.
Senior Grant Goldberg has been a standout at goalkeeper, with sophomore Nick Stasko also performing well. The final line of defense includes seniors Brendan Bogosta, Tom Siegrist and Hunter Drake at fullback.
Senior Mike Jones returned after missing last season due to injury and has been a key part of the Rams' midfield. Ryan Tysarczyk is another senior in the midfield, which has been bolstered by several younger players.
Senior Sean Allen and juniors Aiden Reuter and Alex Miller are among the Rams' top forwards.
For a team that has finished in second or third place in Section 2-AAA three of the past four years, a section title has meaning to Pine-Richland.
One goal the Rams aren't making is to complete an undefeated season.
“We understand we're going to lose a game. That's just something that's going to happen,” Conner said. “We understand that and are at peace with that.”
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.
- Grandmother of boy dropped at Uniontown Hospital says he’s in ICU
- Pittsburgh’s tech startup activity rates last of 40 metro areas in report
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Pine-Richland graduate helps spark U.S. to Women’s World Club final
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Pirates trust eye test when voting for all-stars
- Innovation enhances Philadelphia’s history as Democrats convene, Pope Francis visits
- Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
- No boat races, so regatta-goers find something else to do
- Arizona prison says 700 inmates again ‘refusing to comply’
- Supreme Court ruling on threats may affect Connecticut case