Carlynton boys soccer headed to playoffs for first time since 2009
By Nathan Smith
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
In its season finale, the Carlynton boys soccer team finished the game against Brentwood in the most important way: winning.
The Spartans gave the playoff-bound Cougars a scare, though, in a 2-1 loss.
The Cougars scored on a throw-in during regulation as Grant Schuler threw the ball to Emanual Burton and got a second throw-in goal when Mason Herlihy threw it to Logan Schuler to defeat Brentwood (4-11-1).
“In the end we got the win,” Carlynton coach Charlie Dagnal said. “That's what matters.”
The victory improved the Cougars' record to 8-2-2 in Section 3-A action and 12-3-2 overall as the team enters its first postseason since 2009. Dagnal made the postseason a goal for this team entering his first season leading the squad.
Now that the Cougars have reached that goal, their coach wants them to take it further.
“Just making the playoffs is not going to be enough,” Dagnal said. “We need to strive for playoff victories. It is what we should expect.”
Carlynton enters the postseason playing its best soccer of the season. Over its final eight section games of the season, the Cougars went 7-0-1. The wins included a 2-0 upset of Seton-La Salle and four other shutouts. The Cougars did not allow an opponents to score more than a single goal during the stretch.
“We are clearly improved from the beginning of the season,” Dagnal said. “Other coaches have told me they have noticed the improvement. We have put players in position to be successful.
“The team is believing they can win. It is a mental thing. They had what it takes physically and had the ability. Now they have the mental aspect.”
After a 6-7-1 mark in 2010 and a 1-14 season in 2011, the Cougars have clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2009. While limited playoff experience may be a concern — the squad has only the six seniors with postseason experience, and that was a single game their freshman season — Dagnal has confidence they will be ready for whatever they face.
“I don't think Class A soccer is what it once was with elite scorers everywhere,” Dagnal said. “It has really picked up. It gives us a chance. Our defense has played well this year. We have the threat of shutting out the opponent in every game.”
Entering the playoffs, Dagnal said Sewickley Academy will be the No. 1 squad. The Panthers enter the tournament with a 15-0-1 record, the lone tie being a 0-0 stalemate against Quaker Valley, a top Class AA team.
Outside of Sewickley Academy, everything is up for grabs.
“Sewickley is the team to beat,” Dagnal said. “Other than that, I think the rest of us are on the same level.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.