DiNardo sees plenty of success in Brentwood boys' soccer campaign
On the surface it wasn't pretty, but the numbers behind the numbers tell a different story.
The Brentwood boys' varsity soccer team went 5-12-1 overall this season. After earning 13 wins in 2011, head coach Ron DiNardo had eyed another winning campaign in 2012.
And while the losses were disappointing, DiNardo explained that the Spartans were a far more competitive team than their record indicates.
“The record isn't a reflection of how they played,” said DiNardo, who is in his fifth season as the Spartans' head coach.
“We lost eight games by one goal this year. We were in every game except for one out of the 18 games we played.”
Another factor in the losing record is the fact the Spartans play in ultra-tough WPIAL Section 3-A, explained DiNardo.
“I had other coaches tell me, ‘In any other section, you would have been in the playoffs,'” he said. “It's a very difficult section, when you're playing Carlynton, Avonworth, Seton-La Salle and (Bishop) Canevin. In the section we're in, they did a remarkable job.”
Brentwood will lose eight seniors to graduation from this year's squad, including co-captains Connor Kelly, Dru McGranahan, Josh O'Neil and Jason Pilarski.
They were joined this season by fellow seniors Brandon Barone, Dan Faix, Taylor Quiring and leading scorer Kyle Simmons in what has been a very deep class.
The squad was an exceptionally tough defensive unit this year, with Kelly as the goalkeeper and Pilarski, Faix and O'Neil as defenders.
“They'll be a tough group to replace,” DiNardo said.
While that's true, the team does have a young core of players that it can build around next year — most notably junior Alexis Gaughan and sophomores Nick Gall, Steve Mattolla, Justin Mondry, Travis Nolla and Shelby Stockline.
“Next year will probably be a rebuilding year (at Brentwood), but the future looks good,” said the coach.
While DiNardo is in his fifth year as head coach, he also spent the three prior years as the team's assistant.
He said that he and assistant coach Roger Gaughan — the Spartans' former head coach — are pleased with the direction of the program.
“I have seen progress. It's definitely getting better, and Roger helps immensely with the program,” DiNardo said.
“We won 13 last year and five this year; 18 wins in two years is remarkable in our borough.”
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.