Quaker Valley soccer teams compete in WPIAL playoffs
The Quaker Valley boys soccer team will be disappointed if it does not advance farther in the WPIAL playoffs than it has the last four years, when it was eliminated early.
Seeded fourth, the Quakers (14-3-1 overall, 11-2 in Section 5-AA) played host to Valley in a first-round game on Monday, after deadline for this week's edition. The winner advanced to the quarterfinals, where to meet either Hopewell or Burrell on Thursday.
“Going farther — that's the goal,” senior captain Dante Piccolo said. “I'm tired of losing in the first or quarterfinal round every year I've been here.” Piccolo was the Quakers' top scorer in the regular season with 17 goals and 15 assists.
Sophomore Adam Richert had 10 goals and two assists.
Senior Levi Bowers scored nine goals, including one in an overtime victory over Montour this month.
Senior Matt Regueiro chipped in four goals and 10 assists.
Seniors Seba Pereira (three goals, nine assists) and Nelson Westwood (six goals, two assists) were other top scorers.
Defensively, the Quakers had 14 shutouts and allowed only nine goals.
“We want to work on improving so we can be the best we can be during the playoffs,” coach Gene Klein said.
“Coach Klein has been preaching not to look too far ahead,” said Piccolo, 17, who will play at Lafayette College next season. “He wants us to take it one game at a time.”
Quaker Valley was eliminated in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs the last two years. Last season, it lost to Shady Side Academy at home.
Competing in Class A, it lost in the quarterfinals in 2009.
In 2007 and 2005, it reached the semifinal round in Class A.
A six-time WPIAL champion, Quaker Valley last won the title in 1999, when it competed in Class AA.
Entering the WPIAL playoffs, the Quaker Valley girls team was healthy after an injury-plagued regular season.
The Quakers (16-2-1 overall, 11-2 in Section 5-AA) met Highlands in a first-round game Saturday and scored a 3-0 victory.
Laura Stinson, Megan Amoroso and Katie Hughes scored goals for Quaker Valley (16-2-1), and goalie Morgan Felt collected five saves.
Quaker Valley shut out Highlands, 3-0, in the Avonworth Tournament early last month.
“At one point (this season), half of the team was in the athletic trainers' room receiving some sort of treatment,” said senior captain Morgan Felt, who has recovered from a calf strain.
Coach Mike Pastor considered his team stronger because of the injuries.
“We were able to develop several of our younger players during the absence of our starters, which should give us more depth in the playoffs,” he said.
Junior Greer Monahan (23 goals), freshman Moriah Wigley (17) and sophomore Megan Amoroso (8) led Quaker Valley in scoring.
Wigley, 14, was nervous going into the playoffs.
“But I felt the same way before the season and everything turned out OK,” she said. “I'm trying to get good sleep and take care of myself.”
Quaker Valley advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinal, where it was to face No. 1 Mars Wednesday, after deadline for this edition.
“It's been a total team effort this season,” said senior midfielder Katie Hughes, who scored five goals. “We feel like we have grown a lot and are starting to play our best soccer at the right time. Playing teams like Moon and Montour in the regular season have prepared us to play against other very good teams in the playoffs.”
Junior right back Allegra Menniti agreed the Quakers have been tested.
“There are a lot of good teams this year,” she said. “Hopefully, we can be among the best.”
Last year, Quaker Valley lost in the WPIAL quarterfinals to eventual champion Mars. The Quakers have been eliminated in the quarterfinals nine times in 15 seasons.
The last time Quaker Valley won a WPIAL title was in 1992, when it was Class AAA champion.
Quaker Valley was Class AA runner-up to Sewickley Academy in 2003.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.