Revamped roster producing for Penn-Trafford girls soccer team
By Chris Adamski
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
An almost entirely new lineup, same old positive results for the Penn-Trafford girls soccer team.
The Warriors replaced nine starters from last season's 17-5 team that advanced to the WPIAL semifinals. But they, in some ways, improved their standing. While Penn-Trafford shared the 2011 Section 1-AAA title with Norwin, this season they swept the Knights and finished a game ahead of them for first place in the section.
“We've had to use a lot of young players, but we've done just fine,” Warriors senior co-captain Alexa Williams said. “We knew they could fill in well, and they have. We've done what we've had to do to put our minds to it to get wins.”
Many of the departed graduates were replaced with younger players — the Warriors typically start six sophomores and a freshman.
That led to some growing pains at the beginning of the season. Penn-Trafford fell to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in section play after a 3-2 loss to Franklin Regional Sept. 12.
What followed, however, was an 11-game winning streak.
“It took us the early part of the season to figure out how we could put the best team on the field and who was going to play where,” coach Rick Nese said. “We used the early part of the season to answer those questions, and once we got people in the right positions, we won a bunch of games in a row.”
Despite a loss Monday to Class A No. 1-ranked Greensburg Central Catholic, Penn-Trafford (13-4, 11-1) still heads into the playoffs, which begin this weekend, with momentum.
Williams, a center midfielder, is in her first year as a full-time starter but was a significant contributor last season. Other “veteran” players include senior goalkeeper Kayla DiPaolo and senior forward Miranda Wallace.
Wallace is the team's goals leader, and DePaolo settled into a full-time starting role this season and was the final line of defense for a unit that allowed only eight goals during the 11-game winning streak.
But as strong as Penn-Trafford's defense has proven to be this season, it's the Warriors' offense that has, at times, overwhelmed opponents. They averaged four goals per game during their winning streak.
“We have some fast forwards, and we put a lot of pressure on other teams,” Williams said. “I think our midfield works really well together running down balls in the air. Defensively, we tried to find our niche, and it's worked.”
Steady senior Aubree Furrer was out briefly due to injury but has returned and provided leadership. Furrer, Williams and DiPaolo are team captains.
Nese said about sophomore center midfielder Casey Aunkst: “I think she's the best player in our section.”
Another young player who is developing into that type of impact player is freshman Maggie Mastrogiacomo. A forward, she is second on the team in goals.
“She and Miranda Wallace complement each other well,” Nese said. “Miranda's a strong, physical forward, and Maggie is just so fast — pure speed.”
Senior Ali Bosco is another dangerous forward.
“We're playing well right now, but honestly, I think the playoffs come down to matchups,” Nese said. “It all comes down to who you match up against.”
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.
- Ex Steelers WR Wallace: Working with Haley ‘a challenge’
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- NFL notebook: Arrowhead parking lot death ruled a homicide
- Blend of experience, new faces to lead Signal Item-area boys basketball teams
- Penguins notebook: Sill thrives on penalty kill
- Steelers notebook: Cotchery says Tomlin turmoil not a distraction
- 3 accomplices to plead guilty to murder, torture of mentally challenged Mt. Pleasant woman
- DVD reviews: ‘The Wolverine,’ ‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ and ‘Drinking Buddies’
- Fox Chapel girls team features only 1 senior, but squad has talent
- Signal Item-area girls teams ready for return to hardwood
- ‘Welcome Christmas’ at Casino Theatre embraces the reason for the season