UPG goalie Olivia Valenti honored by AMCC
College Football Videos
Pitt Greensburg's Olivia Valenti didn't start the season on the women's soccer team.
She ended it as the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference defensive player of the week.
The junior goalie, who focused on her academics to start the season instead of playing soccer, led the Bobcats (7-8-3, 5-3-1) to two come-from-behind 2-1 victories over Mt. Aloysius and Medaille the week of Oct. 22.
“I had one of my teammates look at it online at practice. I basically screamed across the campus,” Valenti said. “I worked so hard to get to this point. I didn't play on the team earlier on. I had to get my schoolwork done. I was really and truly excited for the honor.”
The Woodland Hills graduate had a career-high 10 saves in the AMCC overtime win over Medaille.
“She really kept us in both games that week against Mt. Aloysius and especially Medaille,” coach Chuck Wigle said. “Both were come-from-behind victories, and her ability to make big saves gave us the chance to secure third place and a home playoff game (for the postseason tournament).”
UPG dropped a 4-0 decision to La Roche on Saturday in its opening-round game in AMCC tournament and ended the season 7-8-3 after going 0-14-2 last year.
After receiving the weekly honor earlier this month, Valenti made 12 saves in a 1-0 season finale loss at La Roche on Oct. 23.
Even though they lost, Valenti knew she would have another shot to face La Roche in the tournament, or she thought she would.
The day before the Bobcats were going to host their first AMCC Tournament game since 2005, Valenti's season came to a screeching halt. While practicing penalty kicks, Valenti fractured her thumb and possibly of tore ligaments.
“Losing in the first round is always rough,” said Valenti, who started her first game against Penn State Altoona on Oct. 3 and was fourth in the AMCC in save percentage (.792), fourth in saves per game (6) and fifth in goals against average (1.66). “It was harder because I got hurt the day before the tournament and wasn't able to play. I know we worked hard all season. We were ranked eighth in the preseason poll, and we finished in third. Despite the loss, I think we had a successful season.”
Valenti will try to fight back from her thumb injury to join the Bobcats in some fashion next season, when they are expected to return all but one starter.
“We definitely set the bar for this year. I think and the team thinks we can go further,” Valenti said. “This was a step in the right direction this year. I hope we can come out next year and prove everyone wrong and come out on top.”
Since the 2008 season, the Bobcats had only four conference wins, entering this year. With two consecutive winless seasons in conference play, the Bobcats brought in Wigle and his coaching staff to help turn the program along.
“This year, with Coach Wigle, it seemed the girls wanted it this season,” Valenti said. “The girls were excited to have Coach Wigle as the head coach. Also, I thought we were a lot closer this year than previous years.”
Andrew John 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.
- Diminutive IUP senior Timko comes up aces
- Jeannette grad Cortazzo happy with move to Seton Hill
- College notes: Seton Hill’s Malara grabs prestigious track award
- A-K Valley campus clippings: Kiski Area grad Brown powers Slippery Rock baseball
- District college notebook: Sleith becomes RMU softball’s all-time strikeout leader
- Ex-Pitt cornerback and Clairton graduate Howard to join Slippery Rock football team