Road still tough for Mt. Pleasant girls squad
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mt. Pleasant's girls soccer team returns seven starters from last year's playoff squad, but coach Josh Pajak is taking nothing for granted.
“We have a lot of kids back, but we still have a lot of underclassmen,” he said. “To get the kids to keep improving is the main thing. If the kids can continue to improve with experience, we will be in the thick of it.”
Pajak's squad again will compete in always-competitive Section 1-AA along with Derry, Greensburg Salem, Southmoreland, Uniontown, Waynesburg and Yough. Last season, eight of Mt. Pleasant's section games were decided by two goals or fewer.
“We're in a very tough, balanced section,” Pajak said. “Southmoreland has three really talented seniors back, and Yough returns nine or 10 starters. Greensburg Salem has improved, and Waynesburg is always tough. I really think the section will help prepare us for the playoffs if we make it.”
Leading the way for Mt. Pleasant is one of the WPIAL's most prolific scorers: junior Jordan Toohey. She has scored 60 goals in the past two seasons and was named to the all-section and all-WPIAL teams last year.
“She's expected to produce goals,” Pajak said. “She's a very difficult player to defend. She creates a lot of problems.”
Seniors Ellen Brady and Brittany Ruggeri, juniors Claudia Garrity and Rachel Salai and sophomores Eileen Brady and Kasey Brown are the other returning starters. Junior goaltender Anna Riddle tore an ACL, so her return this season remains undecided.
“Claudia Garrity is an excellent defender — one of the best in the conference,” Pajak said. “She's had a great preseason, and I expect her to emerge and come into her own. Rachel Salai had a great offseason from winter through spring, and I think she can become one of the better players in the conference.”
Mt. Pleasant finished fourth in Section 1-AA last season, which was Pajak's first as coach. The Vikings wound up 11-8 after dropping a first-round playoff game to South Park.
Pajak said last year was a good learning experience.
“This preseason has been much more structured to meet our team's needs instead of just going through a feeling-out process,” he said.
“I think it's essential that everybody's on the same page this season. Everybody knows what to expect from each other. I know how the kids play, their strengths and weaknesses.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70
- Starkey: Flashback Friday for Pitt
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami
- Republicans roll dice as Trump headlines Pennsylvania Society event
- Puppy, pals come to rescue of Lower Burrell firefighters