Share This Page

South Allegheny boys soccer turning heads

| Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, 12:06 a.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News
Ronald Vezzani Jr./ for the Daily News

South Allegheny had reason to believe its boys soccer team would be improved this year.

The Gladiators were beneficiaries of the WPIAL's biennial realignment and were dropping down a classification, out of Section 3-AA and away from perennial title contender South Park along with postseason regulars Southmoreland, Thomas Jefferson and Steel Valley. A move to Section 1-A, with defending champion Greensburg Central Catholic and several middling programs, appeared to be reason to believe South Allegheny would show improvement over a dismal 2011 campaign in which it finished 1-16-0.

But arguably no one expected this.

The Gladiators, who have not qualified for the WPIAL playoffs since 2001, are 4-0-0 with wins against teams in all three classifications and are readying themselves for their section opener at home at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Winchester-Thurston.

“I took (the team) to Camp Soles to bond for a week, which was a plus, and we picked up some players this year,” said South Allegheny sixth-year coach Dean Vickers.

“Some of them played spring soccer before they played high school soccer, so that helped, and they're finally starting to understand the game.”

South Allegheny picked up junior forward Jake Thieret, who lives in Liberty and transferred from Serra Catholic — a team that is now in the Gladiators' section — and the forward has been a solid addition, leading the team with five goals. Another fresh face, junior center-midfielder Anthony Lewis, has scored three times, meaning two of the new additions have accounted for eight of the team's 12 goals.

South Allegheny has scored 12 goals; the team netted just 16 in 17 games last season and was held to one goal or fewer 14 times while allowing 78 goals.

“I had 14 first-year players last year, and these kids are better now with a full year under their belts,” Vickers said. “The move into Class A (helped) because that section we were in last year was a tough section. But we're beating Double-A teams … and I'm extremely proud and extremely pleased with how we've done and the work the kids have put in.”

Still, the real litmus test will come this week, when South Allegheny opens section play. Not only will the Gladiators host Winchester-Thurston on Wednesday, they also travel to Greensburg Central Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a showdown with the Centurions, the No. 4 team in the Trib Total Media preseason rankings.

“It's really nice to have the nonsection games that we did to get the kids ready and to have them come together before we play in the section,” Vickers said. “With Winchester-Thurston and Greensburg Central Catholic, who is really good, I'll see how far we have come.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.

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.