Healthy and happy, Shady Side Academy girls are title contenders
By Chris Adamski
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 11:00 p.m.
For the first time in perhaps two calendar years, the Shady Side Academy girls soccer team is injury-free and playing at full strength.
The Indians were plagued by injury last season and didn't have their full lineup available for the first month of this campaign. But with the WPIAL playoffs about a week away, Shady Side Academy is, at last, completely healthy.
“It's great. We had a little trouble with a lot of (injuries) last year,” senior forward Lia Winter said. “Then a few people got injured at the beginning of the season again, but everyone's back now, and that's great to go into the playoffs with. Now, we get to play (Greensburg Central Catholic) and Springdale again with all our players. Hopefully, that will make the difference.”
At 10-3-1, there isn't much of a difference to be made for the Indians. Two of Shady Side Academy's losses have come to Greensburg Central Catholic, but the Indians did sweep two games from Springdale.
“It's been a big struggle for us the past couple years with injuries,” coach Caswell Nilsen said. “This is about the first time I've had my entire allotment of starters on the field at the same time.
“We're feeling pretty good about the season right now. My big concern is, will the WPIAL seed us appropriately?”
Shady Side Academy believes it can earn a No. 3 seed — something it might be able to do if it can beat undefeated Sewickley Academy on Thursday — to get onto the opposite side of the bracket as presumptive No. 1 Greensburg Central Catholic (10-1).
“We definitely want to make a run,” Winter said. “We hope to be in the WPIAL finals this year — so hopefully we'll see GCC there.”
The team's second-leading scorer, Winter is part of a four-member senior class that also features defender Felicia Tissenbaum, midfielder Holly Stewart and forward Mary McLaughlin. Winter, Tissenbaum and Stewart are captains.
Winter knows about the Shady Side Academy injury bug as well as anybody. She missed all but two games last season.
This season, it's been the Indians other big scorer who's had injury issues. Junior forward Maggie Scott missed two weeks but still leads SSA in goals.
Other juniors who start are Olivia Cochran and midfielder Zoe Schoen. Schoen was one of the players who was injured last season.
“We're just beginning to get our chemistry back,” Nilsen said. “We've had to move people around to make up for some gaps. I think a lot of the girls are really beginning to mature as players, which is great as we're coming into the home stretch here.”
Finally at full strength, Shady Side Academy believes it is peaking — both in health and as players — at the perfect time.
“You look at the girls, and you can see the excitement in their eyes,” Nilsen said. “That's really fun as a coach, when you know they're looking forward to the next game and to the rest of the season. It is a fun time of the year.”
Especially when everyone's healthy.
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.