Pittsburgh Trib athletes of the week: Thomas Jefferson's Mahesh Dhaubhabel, Peters Township's Maddi Santo
School: Thomas Jefferson
Claim to fame: Dhaubhabel scored four goals in the Jaguars' Section 3-AA win over Yough on Sept. 18. His five goals this season match his total as a sophomore.
Coach Mike Kulish switched you from midfield to forward and your numbers have improved. How comfortable are you in the new position?
Midfield is my primary position because I like controlling the game, but I also like scoring. So I can be put anywhere. I'm basically fine doing whatever the team needs.
Are you feeling like you've become more acclimated to the program this year?
I feel a lot more settled in, and I like it a lot here now.
With Thomas Jefferson being such a young team, what is your role as one of the upperclassmen?
I serve as a leader to them. I hope that I can help them become better at the game as they grow.
You played with the Chicago Fire Junior Academy in Illinois before coming to Pittsburgh. What was that experience like?
I feel like the skill level was pretty high over there. Then transitioning to here was a jump for me.
What goals do you have for the next year plus at Thomas Jefferson?
My first goal is to get into the playoffs. We're really striving to accomplish that. Other than that, like I said, helping all the younger kids get better.
School: Peters Township
Claim to fame: Santo scored a career-high four goals for the Indians in their 9-0 win over Laurel Highlands in Section 5-AAA on Sept. 18. Santo has stepped up this season to fill the void left by Veronica Latsko, who suffered an ACL injury. Santo has scored 10 goals this season, surpassing her total of four last year.
What are you doing differently this year to have better numbers?
I'm playing a different position because Veronica Latsko is hurt. I'm playing forward more. I'm getting into more space and just getting the ball and going to the net.
What were you hoping to do to fill in for Veronica?
I just wanted to play her position and score as much as I could and play for her. We really want to get to states again, so I want to do whatever to help my team win.
What did you work on this offseason?
I definitely worked on shooting. I also worked on my technical side of the game with dribbling.
Does Peters Township have a legit shot at getting back to states?
Yes. With our coach and how he talks to us and just tells us how we have to be determined, I definitely can see us winning states.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Follow your dreams.