Vault to Class AAA doesn't hinder Ringgold boys soccer
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Ringgold enjoyed a breakout season in boys soccer last year.
Even with a step up in class, the Rams are proving it was no fluke.
Ringgold is 9-1 and unbeaten in five Section 4-AAA games heading into a big game at Bethel Park Tuesday.
“Considering the transition we had to make from Double-A to Triple-A, all parties involved were a little concerned with how we could compete,” new Rams head coach Frank Perez said. “With that said, I couldn't be happier at this point.”
Ringgold swept 12 Section 6-AA games last season, going 15-0-1 in the regular season and advancing to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals. Remarkably, the Rams allowed five goals all season.
They've matched that number through 10 games this season; offensively, Ringgold is averaging that many goals for each game it plays.
It's enough to lead Ringgold to believe it can more than just merely compete in Class AAA.
“We've always wanted to win the section,” senior striker Nick Cichon said. “I think the goals might be a little higher now that we're doing so well.”
Perez, a Ringgold alum, formerly was an assistant under Ron Fransko and also coached at other levels within the program. He has two sons on the team.
Midfielder Jeremy Perez is the lone junior among a group of five captains who were the primary returnees from last season's strong season.
The other four are seniors: Cichon, defensive midfielder Troy Dolanch and defenders George Chettle and Jesse Pry.
“We have really good leaders on this team,” Cichon said. “Everything is good when it comes to chemistry. We all play well together as a team.”
Cichon is the Rams' leading scorer; he had more than 10 goals through their first nine games.
“He has got to be up there with some of the best finishers in the WPIAL,” Frank Perez said. “He's just uncanny around the net. Some guys have it, some don't — and Nick has it. He's good with both feet.”
Jeremy Perez and junior striker Connor Dudas also are serious offensive threats, as well as senior outside midfielder Hunter Homa.
Dolanch is a returning all-section player who is versatile and talented enough that he can help the Rams at virtually any position.
“You can't say enough about Troy,” Frank Perez said. “Just a great player.”
The final line of defense is another experienced senior, goalkeeper Jeremy Reiland.
The credit goes to many, Perez said, for the ascension of the Ringgold program from solid-but-unspectactular to powerhouse. The bottom line is that the younger levels of the program are producing more Cup-level players than in the past.
With experienced, groomed talent entering ninth grade ready for the varsity team, the results have shown.
“I would say that one of the biggest attributes of this year's team is that the players have been taught by so many coaches over the years so they're technically sound,” Perez said. “We don't have to work on techniques and basic elements of the game. We can focus on more tactical types of things — and that is big.”
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.
- Jerome Bettis to be enshrined in hall of fame
- Familiar Downtown Pittsburgh presence lost arm, leg to train
- Tennessee quarterback Peterman considers transfer to Pitt
- Starkey: Pitt needs this version of James Robinson
- Snow, freezing rain, bitter cold coming to Western Pa.
- Pittsburgh-set ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ sweeps Sundance
- Gulls fleeing frozen Great Lakes fill skies over Pittsburgh’s Point
- Moderate Dem Manchin has decision to make
- Suggestions are aplenty on what Penguins need to break through
- Military academy members hone hacking skills at Pittsburgh competition
- Rossi: History beckons for Seattle’s Seahawks