Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: USC's Joe Conlon, Moon's Antonia Grese
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School: Upper St. Clair
Claim to fame: Conlon was stellar in net for the Panthers, helping them edge West Lawn, 1-0, in the PIAA Class AAA soccer championship Saturday in Hershey. Conlon made four tremendous saves late in the second half, including an impromptu save off a header with under a minute left in the game. Conlon was the goalkeeper of record for 18 shutout victories this season and helped Upper St. Clair to the third state championship in school history.
What does it mean to end your high school soccer career by winning a state title?
For my soccer career it means everything. It's nice to end the season on the winning note. It's what we've been trying to do ever since we started kicking the ball around in preseason. To reach this goal and make it a reality means everything to us.
How do you explain posting 18 shutouts in one season given the size of the nets in soccer?
I feel like it's just instincts from all the years of playing goalie. I've been playing goalie full-time since fifth grade. I've had a lot of experience watching tendencies and being able to react at a certain time to get my hand on the ball.
Have you decided where you want to attend college?
As of yet, I have not decided. Right now, my top school is Johns Hopkins University. Case Western and Johns Hopkins have reached out to me for baseball. I've looked at Pitt, Ohio State and the University of Illinois for academics.
Why baseball over soccer?
The main reason would be because I've been paying it longer and I've been more deeply involved. I've been playing both since I was a young age, but I'm more into baseball.
How good can the Upper St. Clair baseball team be this year?
This year, I think we have a chance to be a factor going into the playoffs. We'll be a solid all-around team. If we have a tight-knit group like we did last year, I think we have a chance to do some damage again.
Claim to fame: Grese scored the game-winning goal at the 24-minute mark for the Tigers in their 1-0 win over Archbishop Wood in the PIAA Class AA championship game on Saturday. Grese also recorded a hat trick for Moon in its 6-1 rout of District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep in the PIAA semifinals at Franklin on Nov. 13.
How special was it for you to end your high school career with a state championship win?
This is everything that we've been working for. It's the greatest win in high school. All the hard work, it was so worth it. I wouldn't have typed a different ending.
Have you decided where you want to attend college?
No, I have not yet. I'm probably going to end up waiting ‘til the last minute. I haven't gotten to go out and look at many colleges. Once I get that chance, I'll decide.
What schools are on your radar?
I am looking Capital University. It's a small school in Ohio. I've visited Robert Morris. Those are really the biggest two.
Is soccer going to be a part of your future in college?
Yes, most definitely. I don't know if I'll go any further from there. I just love the game and want to keep playing.
Is there a moment from your career that will stand out?
The state championship game. This is it. Just running across the field with the trophy. I'll never forget that.
What are you going to do now that the soccer season is over?
I'm going to look at colleges and really focus on my grades. It was hard to keep the “A's” with soccer. I'll still play soccer because it really never ends.
— Brian Graham
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