ShareThis Page

Former assistant Hritz new head coach of Baldwin girls' soccer team

| Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

Anyone watching a girls' soccer practice at Baldwin Stadium recently might not have noticed there's a new coach at the helm.

Vicki Hritz was hired as the Lady Highlanders' new head coach in June.

But Hritz is not new to Baldwin girls' soccer, having served as assistant to former head coach Liz Allemang the past three seasons.

Hritz, 29, of Greenfield, graduated from South Park in 2001, then played soccer at Allegheny College in Meadville.

She earned a master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and works for UPMC as a database administrator in the finance department.

Even though Allemang resigned earlier this year to spend more time with her newborn daughter, she is volunteering with the team when she is available.

Hritz is thrilled to have Allemang's help this season.

“I couldn't believe it when she showed up for the first 7 a.m. practice. She's been great,” Hritz said.

According to Hritz, the pair always has had a collaborative coaching relationship, and their role reversal has been a win-win situation for all involved.

Bringing a fresh perspective to the coaching staff are new assistant coaches Beth Diederich and Caley Troutman.

“They're forcing me to think outside the box and try some different looks,” Hritz said.

The local team finished last season with a 9-9 overall record and a 5-7 section slate, just missing a trip to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

This year, the WPIAL's realignment of Section 4AAA may bode well for the Lady Highlanders.

McKeesport, Albert Gallatin and Trinity have joined the section, and perennial WPIAL powerhouse Peters Township has departed.

“We're not going to miss Peters,” Hritz said. “The changes make me a little more confident about what we can do in the section.”

With 10 seniors and 10 juniors on the varsity roster, Hritz is hopeful Baldwin's experience pays off this season.

“Last season, seven games were decided by one goal,” the rookie head coach said. “We need to win those close games this year. I think we have the experience and confidence to do it.

“We are no longer a team that other teams are walking all over. This team knows they can play. I think we're a team to be reckoned with this season.”

Junior Alicia Mastroianni was the Lady Highlanders' leading scorer last season with 13 goals.

Alexa Stahl, a senior, was the second-leading scorer with five goals.

Defensively, the Lady Highlanders will be led by the likes of seniors Nicole Venturino and Miranda Kuzman, along with sophomore Kelsie Balsam.

Junior Sam Yule will help out on defense and at the midfield area.

Midfielders Stephanie Mizla, a senior, and Amanda Grmusa, a junior, are expected to continue their leadership in the assists department.

Mizla and Grmusa combined for 12 assisted last season.

Senior midfielder Tori Scott also is a key player this season

“She is a catch-all player,” Hritz said of Scott.”She's been a (varsity) starter all four years, so she'll be an important player for us.”

Junior Liz Spegar and freshman Emily Jurzyk are two position players who are being considered for a switch to goalkeeper.

“Hopefully one of them will commit to playing in goal,” Hritz said. “But I want them to make that decision.

“I tried to explain that sometimes you have to do what the team needs.”

At this early point of the season, Khori Weaver is the lone freshman to secure a starting varsity spot. Hritz expects her to be one of the players to watch this year.

“She's been pretty impressive in scrimmages,” Hritz said, “so hopefully she can contribute in terms of scoring goals for the team.”

Other varsity players include seniors Lucia Cencia, Caitlin Dee, Lizzie Geis, Miranda Schneider and Jackie Sirc; juniors Carly Baumann, Lydia Fennell, Elissa Flavin, Carla Nicole, Katy Pearson and Sarah Pender; sophomore Mara Meyer; and freshman Gwen Schemm.

The Lady Highlanders open the season with back-to-back home games next week against McKeesport and Norwin.

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.