Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Canon-McMillan's James Hathaway, Mars' Karli Paracca
Claim to fame: Hathaway was stellar in net for the Big Macs in their 1-0 victory over Upper St. Clair in the WPIAL Class AAA championship on Saturday. Hathaway made a game-saving stop on Troye Kiernan's penalty kick eight minutes into the game. Hathaway was a key factor in Canon-McMillan's run to its first WPIAL soccer title, allowing just one goal in playoff wins against Central Catholic, Franklin Regional, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair.
How did it feel to help Canon-McMillan win its first WPIAL title?
It feels great. I knew we would have a good team this year. When we were having three-a-days, we said we really have a chance to go out and do it this year.
Does making a save on a penalty kick require luck, skill or some film study?
It is definitely a little bit of luck. But, honestly, I just waited for him to hit it, then I reacted. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on it.
Was that the biggest save you've ever made?
I would definitely put it top five. Toward the end of the first half, they had a corner kick and one of their players got free and headed it. I adjusted to my right and made the save.
Have you decided where you'll attend college?
No, I haven't. Right now, my top choices would be Allegheny, Washington & Jefferson and Baldwin-Wallace. Those three coaches have expressed the most interest in me so far.
Do you have a major in mind?
I'm leaning toward engineering.
Claim to fame: Paracca led the Planets with 34 goals this season, but none was more important than her tying goal in the 25th minute as Mars won its third consecutive WPIAL title with a 2-1 win over Moon on Saturday. A three-year starter, Paracca has been an integral part of three WPIAL title teams.
What did it mean to win your third WPIAL title?
It's such a great feeling. It means everything to us. We couldn't have done it without each other. The defense did a great job. The forwards did great. We just connected so well as a team.
What are the chances of a four-peat?
I think it's definitely possible, especially with our team. We practice so hard and give it our all. I think it's totally possible, and it'd be amazing if we did it.
What will you have to do to return to the title game?
I think we'll have to work a little bit harder. We'll have to overcome some of the weaknesses we saw this year and learn what we did wrong. We're losing some great players on defense too, so we'll have to work on our defense.
Do you play any other sports besides soccer?
I used to do track, but I didn't run last year. I'm going to run this year, though.
Are you on any travel soccer teams?
I play for Elite PTA Select and Northern Steel Cup. It's so much fun. There are so many great players and we get to travel a lot.