Moving to WPIAL an adjustment for Allderdice boys soccer
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Bring it on.
So says the Allderdice boys soccer team.
The Dragons are competing in the WPIAL for the first time after decades of dominating the City League. Over the past nine seasons, Allderdice lost only one regular-season City League game and one league playoff game. The team is coming off an undefeated regular season.
This season, things won't be nearly so easy in Section 3-AAA. But instead of shying away from the challenge, the Dragons are facing it head-on.
“We know that, sometimes, we've been viewed as a product of (the competition),” coach Sam Bellin said. “We totally disagree with that.
“We do feel this is an opportunity for us to show exactly how good we are. ... We still feel like we're one of the top teams by any measure in any league or section. To be fair, we have to go out and prove it.”
The early results haven't been overly encouraging. Allderdice is 1-2-1 playing against all WPIAL teams heading into a game Tuesday at Woodland Hills.
The Dragons lost 15 of their top 18 players from last season, so comparing this start to their 20-0 run before losing in the 2011 PIAA playoffs isn't fair.
Still, Allderdice embraces the question of how would a City League power stack up against WPIAL teams over the course of a full season?
“I think we're playing with a chip on our shoulder,” midfielder Xaver Kandler said. “We want to represent the City, and we want to show other teams that just because we were playing these bad teams doesn't mean we're not able to beat good teams now.”
Allderdice has shown it can compete in the WPIAL. Last season, the Dragons were 6-0 against WPIAL teams during the regular season before losing to WPIAL and eventual PIAA Class AAA champion Upper St. Clair in their second PIAA tournament match.
In past seasons, the Dragons often faced one or two respectable league opponents. The others? Not so much.
“Before, it was like you knew that, like, every four games you'd have a challenge,” Kandler said. “Now, it's like every game is a real game and it's a tough opponent. It's so much more exciting because every week is another challenge.”
Kandler, a defensive specialist, joins fellow seniors Aeden Marty and Jonas Portillo as Allderdice's captains this season. Portillo, a sweeper, and center-midfielder Marty were all-City League last season along with fellow returnee Jon Muniain, who had a team-high 29 goals last season.
First-year starters such as senior midfielder Lucas Johnson, freshman fullback Harrison Smith, sophomore fullback Jakob Wells, junior stopper Cameron Fells and senior goalkeeper Alex Kent have stepped up into prominent roles for the Dragons.
“Last year really was a dream season, and it's harder this year,” Bellin said. “We don't have the same experience, but we trying to develop some of these real good young players.”
Chris Adamski 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.
- Hurdle takes responsibility for mistakes that ended Pirates’ 7-game win streak
- Chesney fans flood the North Shore
- MLB notebook: Suspension appeal hearing for Brewers’ Smith set for Monday
- Graham poised to enter presidential race
- Mars doubles partners want more after getting PIAA bronze
- ‘Two-party stranglehold’ on debates in group’s sights
- Steelers sign 7th-rounder Holliman
- Steelers nose tackle McCullers finds performance, fitness go hand in hand
- Fagerbakke happy to keep playing Patrick on ‘SpongeBob’
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Gorman: WPIAL trio triumphs over tragedy