Greensburg Tribune-Review picks soccer players of year
By Bill Hartlep
Published: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011
Player of the year, Brad Appleby, Greensburg Central Catholic, sr.
If this really was his final year to wear a soccer uniform, Brad Appleby made the best of it.
The Greensburg Central Catholic senior plans to play baseball at the college level, but his talents on the soccer field were a major reason the Centurions were 17-5 this season, which included a Section 1-A title and a fourth-place finish in the WPIAL tournament.
The Hempfield Township resident scored 31 goals this season as a striker, which gave him more than 60 for his three-year career.
An All-WPIAL honoree this season along with teammates Jack Fagan, Ryland Smith and Devon Nguyen, Appleby certainly will have fond memories of his final year on the pitch.
How do you think your senior year went?
"I think it went pretty well, other than the semifinal game. We blew that in the second half. I was surprised how well we did. We lost a lot of (graduates) and I thought that would hurt us. We got a new coach and he did real well and helped us get a lot better."
It seems you and your teammates adjusted well to Coach Tom Sochacki. How was the transition?
"It was a lot different. The past couple years with (coach Tom) Kennedy, you got used to the normal practice we had every day. Then Tom came in and changed everything up. It was hard at times, but I think we adjusted well."
What was the main reason you had so much success scoring?
"Jack Fagan is a fantastic soccer player. I think that he's the best player on our team. He was fun to work with. We worked well together up top. We had great outside mids -- Dakota Randolph had an outstanding season, Ryland Smith and Justin Nolfi in the middle, too. We worked well up top."
What are your college plans?
"I'm looking at Marietta, Mt. Union and Slippery Rock."
Have you ever suffered a concussion or concussion-like symptoms during soccer?
"No I haven't. My sister had a couple, but I haven't."
How much punishment does your body go through during a soccer season?
"Personally, it's my legs. My shins were always killing me just from running a lot."
Player of the year, Frannie Crouse, Greensburg Central Catholic, soph.
Believe it or not, this isn't a case of dej?vu, although the story seems awfully familiar.
For the second consecutive year, Greensburg Central Catholic's Frannie Crouse has been named the Tribune-Review's player of the year.
Her hair is a little longer and she's now a year older, but her skills and her dominance against Western Pennsylvania competition remains unmatched.
After a freshman season that included 32 goals and All-WPIAL honors, the Hempfield Township resident returned this fall as a sophomore and tallied 55 goals while leading the Centurions (22-1-0) to a WPIAL championship and spot in the PIAA Final Four.
Already fielding numerous Division I offers from her play with the U.S. Under-17 National team, Crouse, the top-ranked sophomore in Pennsylvania by topdrawersoccer.com , again was an All-WPIAL selection and appears a favorite to garner this honor once or twice more.
How do you think your sophomore season went?
"A lot better than freshman year. We got farther. I think it went more smoothly. It was easier. It was more dynamic."
What was different than last year?
"I'm more comfortable with speaking out and being more of a leader, not so much as a captain, but I'm more outspoken and comfortable playing."
Explain the connection you share on the field with teammate Malea Fabean (45 goals)?
"We are like best friends on and off the field. That definitely helps with our connection. Being able to play with Malea is amazing; she is everywhere. She helps me so much. That makes the game 10 times easier."
Does any one goal stand out in your mind?
"Definitely the one from the WPIAL championship. I cut inside and went to the opposite corner of the box, chip shot over the goalie and into the upper left side of the net."
You have been pretty heavily recruited; have you made a college decision yet•
"I've come down to a few (schools). I haven't made that decision yet. It's a tough decision to make. I think I'll have it made before the start of next fall season."
What offers do you have?
"Quite a few, a lot from this region. I'm staying close. I love being home with my family. Mainly the ACC and Big Ten."
What has the process been like?
"It's really nice to be able to have those choices early, but being just a 16-year old, it's like 'Oh my god, I'm going away soon.'"
How do you manage your soccer schedules in season with all the different teams you play for?
"It gets hectic. Altogether, it's just so much fun that you can't resist."
What types of things do you do when not on the field?
"My social life is barely there, but I hang out with friends and spend time with family."
Who has been your soccer role model?
"Mia Hamm from what she's done for women's soccer."
What is something people might not know about you?
"I want a dog soon or whenever I can get one. It's a type of mastiff, and it's like 160 pounds."
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