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Young lineup flourishing for Yough girls soccer

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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 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 Parl 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.

It might be one of the youngest starting lineups in WPIAL girls soccer this season.

Its coach believes it also might be one of the best.

Yough won nine of its first 10 games and is 6-0 in Section 1-AA after a 5-0 win over Southmoreland on Monday.

The Cougars typically start seven sophomores and three freshmen. As the early-season results have shown, though, a lack of prior varsity experience is not holding them back.

“Even though Yough has never won a girls section title, that was our expectation at the beginning of the year,” first-year Yough coach Dann Appolonia said. “And quite honestly, I think the expectations are higher than that, and we can compete with anyone in Double-A.”

Yough has outscoring its opponents, 63-5 — not bad for a team that starts one senior and no juniors, has a freshman leading scorer and a sophomore goalkeeper.

Following a five-year stretch in which they averaged four wins per season, the Cougars have been gradually building their way back from also-ran to respectability to, now, powerhouse.

Three years ago, Yough had its first non-losing season since 2003. The following year came its first playoff berth in an even longer time, and last season featured tying for second place in the section at 10-4.

The lone senior starter, Taylor Hampshire, has seen that transformation first hand. A midfielder, she rests easy knowing that it's not a mere aberration because of the heavy underclassman influence.

“Honestly, it feels really good to know that we have so many more years of girls that can play and just keep making Yough soccer get stronger and stronger each year,” Hampshire said. “Knowing that, it feels so great to play with girls that love soccer — and that know how to play, too.”

Junior defender Samantha Maughan is ecovering from a knee injury she sustained last season but contributes and serves as a co-captain along with Hampshire.

After that, it's mostly a heavy dose of youth — talented youth.

Freshman Mikayla Mance had 25 goals, according to Appolonia, through eight games.

“It's her tenacity on the ball,” Appolonia said. “She's just a player who never gives up on a play, and she has overall strength and quickness. Even though she's a freshman, you wouldn't think that if you looked at her. She has strength on the ball and is very quick and has a very hard, solid shot.”

Mance isn't Yough's only freshman scorer, however. Shawna Zaken was second on the team in goals through three weeks of the season.

Some of the Cougars' top sophomores include goalies Leigh Appolonia and Kristin Capenos (each plays “out” when the other is in net), central defender Alexandria O'Brien and midfelder Natalie Luppold.

“The past few years, I've been really looking forward to playing with them even though they're two or three years younger than I am,” Hampshire said. “I've known who they've been since middle school. I watched them play and I've seen them pretty much grow up as a team together. To have them playing with me now is just such a great feeling.”

Dann Appolonia lamented the fact that, despite the strong start, his team wasn't yet getting the recognition it deserved. He vowed Yough would change that in time.

“By the end of the year,” said Dann Appolonia, “we'll have opened some eyes.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.




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