Pittsburgh Trib athletes of the week: Serra Catholic's Anthony Koval, Moon's Sydney Schipani
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School: Serra Catholic
Claim to fame: Koval registered his eighth shutout of the season as the Eagles defeated Geibel, 3-0, in a WPIAL Class A first-round matchup Monday night at Laurel Highlands. The junior stopped eight shots. Serra will face OLSH on Thursday evening at Elizabeth Forward in the quarterfinals.
“This is Anthony's third year as a starter. He's always been good, but this year he's become a leader,” coach Don Sabol said. “As a keeper, he has to be more vocal than everyone else. He keeps getting bigger and stronger and now has a powerful punt. He's made some really key saves for us this year. If he sees something that our defenders don't see, our communication starts at the back with him and goes forward.”
What was your game plan heading into Monday's game?
Our game plan never really changes for the opponent. We try to figure out what they do best and try to exploit their weaknesses. It's the playoffs and it doesn't matter if it's the first round or the WPIAL finals, you have to take it seriously. We just went out there and gave 100 percent.
How does it feel to record a shutout?
It's a great feeling. It's one of the best feelings ever. I can't take all the credit though. Our defense played great and the offense possess the ball so well up there, they deserve a lot of credit as well.
What does the team have to do to keep winning?
We just have to keep playing our game. We face OLSH next. We lost to them but we know we are capable of winning. We can beat anyone in my opinion. We just need to stay focused and not change our mindset on how we play.
What did you learn from the game against OLSH earlier this season?
They're a great team. They really are. But anybody can beat anybody, especially in the playoffs. They're a big team and a very good one, but we have something to prove.
How do you stay focused when you aren't seeing a lot of shots?
I just keep communicating with my team. I have to be talking to my defense at all times. I even try to talk to the offense because I can see the whole field. I stay focused by talking. Communication is a big key to our game.
— Robert Stinner
Claim to fame: Schipani — a 2012 all-section player for the defending PIAA Class AA champion Tigers — scored three goals in Moon's 6-0 win over Beaver in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. An Akron recruit, Schipani has scored 20 goals this season. Schipani and the Tigers will play Yough at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Baldwin in the quarterfinals.
Are the Tigers going to repeat as state champions again this year?
I do think we have a great chance. I think we have a shot to win our next game and just win every one from here on out.
Who is the best player you've played against in the WPIAL?
I would say Jane Lichter from Montour. She's really good at taking people on. She finds ways to score for her team.
Why did you pick Akron?
It was just an all-around good fit for me. I love the coach and the campus. I want to study engineering, so they offer that program.
What aspect of your game do you hope to improve heading into college?
I definitely want to start lifting more, getting more strength and working on my speed so I can compete with some of the bigger forwards in the MAC conference. I'm just going to work on my ball skills and getting cleaner touches.
— Brian Graham
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