Dziak glad he stuck around at Point Park
College Football Videos
With the outcome of a recent men's soccer game securely in favor of Point Park University, Matt Dziak's teammates offered the senior defender a chance to notch his second career goal on a penalty kick attempt.
“They said, ‘Why don't you take it?' ” Point Park coach Jeroen Walstra recalled. “The players gave him the opportunity to score a goal for a game we knew we were going to win, but he just politely declined and wanted someone else to get it. That's the kind of guy he is. He never wants to be in the center of attention.”
It's too late for that.
Dziak, who attended East Allegheny, came away from his senior season at NAIA Point Park as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
“He's extremely modest,” Walstra said. “He wasn't even at the awards ceremony. He just doesn't want the attention. It's his personality.”
It was difficult not to notice Dziak just the same. Walstra said the player's work ethic is second to none.
“He works his butt off,” the coach said. “He's in the gym all the time. He's very fit and has good technique.”
Walstra said Dziak would give himself up to stop a shot.
“He was never injured,” Walstra said. “Or if he was, he wouldn't show it. He's a very, very tough kid who always seemed to be positioned very well. He's a smart player.”
Walstra, who completed his sixth season as men's coach at Point Park, was named the KIAC Coach of the Year after leading the team to a 12-7-1 record and a spot in the NAIA Tournament. He previously coached the Pioneers women's team and continues as an assistant coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League Pro Division.
Dziak, a central defender, is one of three Point Park players named to the KIAC all-conference team, joining sophomore center midfielder Jonty Loukes and junior forward Ousman Jaiteh.
“After my first year at Point Park, I started to gain more confidence,” Dziak said. “I felt more at home. I got closer to the other players. I wasn't as nervous. By my senior year, I had experienced a lot and overcame anything that may have been an obstacle to me before.”
Dziak, along with best friend, senior Brett Gwosden, from Serra Catholic, went to Point Park to play soccer on a recommendation from his former Penns Forest traveling team coach Lucky Russel.
“If not for him,” Dziak said of Russel, “I probably wouldn't have gone here. I've played for him for a lot of different teams through the years.”
While he's done well on the field, Dziak was turning his attention to the future.
“I'm retiring from soccer,” he said. “Once I graduate, I'm going to try to attend the police academy and maybe get into local law enforcement.”
Dziak wasn't always comfortable with his college choice. He said he didn't adapt well to Point Park's city setting in Pittsburgh.
“When I got here, I was miserable,” he said. “But I stuck with it. I'm glad I did. Once I got to know where I was in the downtown areas, I loved the scene. I love doing things like getting pizza at 3 o'clock in the morning. The school has grown so much just since I've been here. You can see them trying to build a campus environment. Honestly, I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else.”
Dziak was part of an infusion of players to come into Walstra's program and reform Point Park into a conference competitor.
The Pioneers went from a 1-15-1 record in 2009, when they competed in the defunct American Mideast Conference, to a team that has won 35 games over the past three seasons while transitioning into the KIAC.
“The fact that we've begun to play at the Riverhounds (Highmark) stadium will help us in the future,” Walstra said. “It was great that guys like Matt was willing to sit through the process of us growing. It wasn't easy, but it has clearly helped us. As a result, we've been able to draw a lot of players from other countries, as well as attracting other quality players from America.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
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.
- Rossi: Fitting in will be Kang’s biggest hurdle
- Sales, income taxes increases expected in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- Penguins notebook: Pouliot dazzles in victory over Blue Jackets
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Los Angeles police kill man in struggle captured on video
- Pirates starting pitcher Worley is in right place, right time with team
- Pitt’s NCAA Tournament hopes take a hit with loss to Wake Forest
- ALICE program aims to protect students from active shooter in school
- Duquesne University football player died by suicide
- Icy roads causing multiple accidents Sunday evening