Pittsburgh Trib athlete of the week: Baldwin's Austin Vertullo, Elizabeth Forward's Rachel Collage
Claim to fame: Vertullo netted a hat trick to help the Highlanders cruise to a 8-0 Section 4-AAA win over Albert Gallatin on Sept. 26 and had one goal in a 2-2 tie with Mt. Lebanon on Sept. 27. Vertullo — who has 14 goals this year — scored four times when Baldwin topped McKeesport, 6-1, on Sept. 3.
What do you attribute your success to this year?
I've just been training hard and working with the team. We play a lot of through balls over the top, which means we send the ball over the defense, and I just get under it and attack (the net).
How difficult was it to recover from breaking your leg at the end of last year?
It was hard, and I was pretty nervous. I just started playing through it.
Can Baldwin make a playoff push?
I hope so. We're going to give it our all. We had a players' meeting and we all just said it's all or nothing. It's now or never.
School: Elizabeth Forward
Claim to fame: Collage, a Fordham recruit and 2012 All-WPIAL selection, has scored 13 goals and dished out seven assists to help the Warriors to a 7-3-3 record overall and 4-2-2 in Section 4-AA. Collage scores when it counts, including netting the game-winner in a 1-0 overtime win over Penn-Trafford.
Why did you select Fordham?
I wanted an urban school in the city. It's right in the Bronx and I definitely like that. The campus is awesome.
Do you have a major in mind?
I'm thinking pre-engineering and physics. That obviously might change, but that's what I'm thinking now.
— Brian Graham