Carlynton soccer coach wants to return team to WPIAL postseason
First-year Carlynton boys soccer coach Charlie Dagnal wants to return the program to what he remembers as a player.
As a senior in 2006, the Cougars went 18-1-1 and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals. It was the second appearance in the WPIAL playoffs during his time with the team.
The Cougars program he has returned to guide is much different than the one he played for.
After a 15-1-2 mark in 2009, the Cougars went 6-7-1 in 2010 and coach Larry Fingers left to take a coaching position at Canon-McMillan. Bob Tokrski coached the Cougars for one season in 2011 and led the team to a 1-14 mark.
Now with its third coach in as many seasons, Dagnal wants the program to return to its winning past.
“The main thing I want to do is change the mentality,” Dagnal said. “I want to make it a winning program again. I say we can be a playoff contender. I expect it.
“I am putting it out there to the players. If we play our style, we will come out and contend with anyone.”
Dagnal said the transition from what the players expected from past coaches into what he wants has been fairly smooth. He said the players' abilities and drive helped the process.
“There was some growing pains,” Dagnal said. “I told them the harder they work, the easier it will be. They accepted that.”
The offense will have several athletes who can find the net. Dagnal said the team will look to seniors Grant Schuler, Mason Herlihy and Peter Muszalski as well as underclassmen such as sophomore Logan Schuler and Emmanuell Burton.
“I feel we have six or seven guys who could finish with eight, nine, even 10 goals,” Dagnal said.
The defense also will feature a mix of returning players and talented youngsters. Dagnal said sophomore defender Ted Ford has made great improvements so far this season. Senior Alex Dzadovsky, sophomore Brock Hoffman and senior Jeff Hanky also will boost the defense.
Senior Phil Meighan will play in front of the net.
“He is the kind of player who can keep us in games,” Dagnal said. “He is good in goal. He can bail us out and keep us out of trouble.”
The Cougars opened up with a 1-1-1 mark. Carlynton defeated Chartiers-Houston, 6-1, in nonsection action; tied Avonworth, 0-0; and fell to Bishop Canevin, 2-1, in Section 3-A play.
Dagnal said he has been happy with the effort put out early in the 2012 campaign but wants to see his team become more aggressive.
Dagnal feels that if the Cougars can do that, it will help them reach their goal of the postseason.
“That is something we want to install in this team,” Dagnal said. “We want them to be more aggressive on the field. We feel that if we get the players to be more aggressive, it will take us were we want to go.”
The Cougars play at 4 p.m. Thursday, traveling to Eden Christian in Section 3-A action.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.