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Moon senior soccer players don't want season to end without title

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Moon's Taylor Dornin moves the ball upfield against Quaker Valley during a Section 5-AA game at Moon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Moon's Taylor Dornin moves the ball upfield against Quaker Valley during a Section 5-AA game at Moon.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Peters Township's Olivia Roberson at practice Tuesday August 28, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Peters Township's Olivia Roberson at practice Tuesday August 28, 2012.
- Mt. Pleasant's Jordan Toohey. Jason Black/Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant's Jordan Toohey.  Jason Black/Daily Courier

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Players to watch

OLIVIA ROBERSONsenior, Peters Township Duquense recruit scored her 18th goal of the season Monday to help two-time defending PIAA champion Peters Township to a 3-0 win over Upper St. Clair.

OLIVIA BRANDY senior, Pine-Richland Tallied a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Shaler on Monday in Section 2-AAA play.

BRIE COOK junior, Penn Hills Scored four goals Monday to lead Penn Hills to a 6-0 win over Woodland Hills.

MARISSA HANSENsenior, Charleroi Notched her fifth shutout of the year, as Charleroi blanked Monessen, 10-0, on Monday.

JORDAN TOOHEY junior, Mt. Pleasant Scored three goals for the Vikings in a 4-0 Section 1-AA win over Uniontown on Monday.

LIA WINTERsenior, Shady Side Academy Her hat trick helped No. 2 Shady Side Academy to a 5-0 win over St. Joseph on Monday.

Tribune-Review rankings

Class AAA

Team Rec. Pre.

1. Peters Township 8-0-0 1

2. Bethel Park 9-0-0 3

3. Fox Chapel 10-0-0 5

4. Norwin 7-1-1 2

5. Upper St. Clair 6-2-0 4

Class AA

1. Mars 7-1-1 1

2. Central Valley 8-0-1 2

3. Moon 8-0-0 4

4. South Park 5-2-0 5

5. Belle Vernon 8-1-0 3

Class A

1. Greensburg C.C. 6-1-0 1

2. Shady Side Academy 6-2-1 2

3. Sewickley Academy 7-0-1 3

4. South Allegheny 9-0-0 4

5. Bishop Canevin 6-1-1 —

Out: Vincentian 7-3-0 5


Games to watch

SENECA VALLEY at HAMPTON 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Seneca Valley has won eight straight since falling to Hampton, 1-0, in the season opener. Hampton's only losses are to unbeaten Fox Chapel and Franklin Regional.NORWIN at UPPER ST. CLAIR 8 p.m. Wednesday

This may be a nonsection game but could tell a lot about both teams and how they stack up with a top-five squad. Both are coming off a loss —Norwin to Penn-Trafford and USC to Peters.SOUTH PARK at BELLE VERNON 10 a.m. Saturday

Belle Vernon dealt South Park its first section loss in almost six years with a 1-0 win on Sept. 10. The Eagles are 4-0 since, outscoring opponents 27-3.

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Just a few games into the season, the Moon girls soccer team's Chelsea Leipold already was getting emotional thinking about the team's Senior Night.

Part of one of the deepest and most talented graduating classes the school has ever had, Leipold doesn't want the decade-long ride she and 10 classmates have been on to end.

The best consolation for Moon's seniors? Extending their season about a month after Senior Night festivities. That would mean a lengthy postseason run — the final remaining feather in the cap of a remarkable group of 11 seniors.

“I'm really upset thinking about Senior Night,” said Leipold, a forward. “We've all been playing soccer together since we were 4. We've all really been close friends for so long, and that helps team chemistry on and off the field. We don't get into any huge fights; we win and lose together.”

Moon's seniors so embrace being identified as one that coach Bill Pfeifer is allowing all 11 to share the team captaincy (the duties are being rotated alphabetically throughout the season).

Virtually all of them see significant varsity playing time — nine start. Six of those nine have been starting since their freshman seasons. They were key parts of a 2009 team that went undefeated and allowed only one goal during the regular season.

“We have a lot of talent, and we've been together for a long time and it's been so great to be a part of,” midfielder Taylor Dornin said. “And this year we have high expectations and high hopes. We're really looking forward to finishing things in our last year.”

For all this group of Tigers has accomplished over the past four seasons — 65-8-1 regular-season record, two section titles (and counting) — the one success that has eluded the group is postseason honors. Moon, the Tribune-Review's third-ranked team now 8-0-0 overall and 7-0-0 in Section 5, has lost in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals each of the past three years.

“We had a great experience freshman year with the seniors on that team then, and we know how far we could have gone and how much it meant to them to get that far,” Dornin said. “We're experiencing it ourselves now. We do have a lot of high hopes and great expectations, and we know we can get there — we've just got to put in the effort. We know we can't take anything for granted in the playoffs; we'd definitely like to go real far.”

Other than Dornin and Leipold, Moon's seniors include defenders Kelsey Schoeneweis, Katie Valach, Jordan Olson and Alyssa Mazreku; midfielders Marissa Clough, Michaela Gutierrez and Christine Barthen; forward Antonia Grese and goalkeeper Nicole Falcione.

Clough will play at Slippery Rock, and Gutierrez, Dornin and Grese are among those who are being recruited by several schools for soccer.

Many also are coveted by colleges for their academics. Pfeifer, who is in his 12th season as the Tigers' coach, said the team had a cumulative 3.75 GPA.

Among the seniors, Grese, Gutierrez, Leipold, Dornin, Schoeneweis and Valach all were starters or significant contributors as freshmen, and Barthen would have played but was injured.

“It's a special group that's been there for each other since they were 10 or 11 — or longer,” Pfeifer said. “The other day I saw some pictures of the kids from when they were 8 years old playing on a travel team together. ... It's weird to see them like that — and all of a sudden, this is it.”

The story of the Moon seniors, however, is one that is far from finished.

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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