BVA soccer teams together again Saturday
The last time Belle Vernon Area's boys' and girls' soccer teams played together in a playoff doubleheader, the results were painful as both teams dropped heart-breaking 2-1 losses to Mars in respective WPIAL Class AA semifinal games.
The Leps and Lady Leps will be together again as they try to gain access to the PIAA playoffs.
The two teams will play a consolation doubleheader Saturday at Chartiers Valley.
The Lady Leps (17-3-1) will play Central Valley (16-1-3) in a noon start while the Leps (14-4) battle South Fayette (14-5-1) at 2:15 p.m. The winners advance to the state playoffs and the losers are finished for the season.
Central Valley was undefeated before being knocked off by Moon, 2-1, in the semifinals.
The Lady Warriors have given up only 11 goals this season after winning Sec, 5 AA. They beat South Park, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
BVA defeated South Park, 1-0, and also played to a scoreless tie with the Sec. 4 AA rivals.
Lady Leps coach Paul Sasko says that CV is a talented team with a lot of younger players.
“I believe they start seven freshmen,” Sasko said of his opponent. “Their two top players are Katie Alexander and Ashley Mutkus.”
Alexander, a junior, is a midfielder and is the team's leading scorer while Mutkus was a top scorer a year ago before being moved back on defense, where she anchors that part of the field for the Lady Warriors.
Even though the Lady Leps lost a tough game against the defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Lady Planets, Sasko says his team isn't hanging their heads.,
“If anything, that game gave us confidence because we took the top seed to the limit and had our chances,” he said.
South Fayette was the third-place team in Sec. 5 and lost to section rival Quaker Valley, 1-0, in double-overtime in the semifinals.
The Lions upset South Park, 1-0, in the quarterfinals at Chartiers Valley. South Park was the champion in Sec. 3, where BVA played and beat the Leps twice by scores of 3-0.
South Fayette also had a season-opening 2-0 win over Elizabeth Forward, which BVA beat by scores of 3-1 and 3-2.
“They are a defense-first team in that they like to get a lot of guys back behind the ball and keep teams from scoring,” BVA coach John Kerekes said. “Obviously, they've done a good job of that in the playoffs, holding South Park scoreless.
“We've played a few teams who play that defensive style and, honestly, I like that because it gives us some options to move the ball around and see how we can beat it,” he said.
Kerekes is confident the Leps will respond from Wednesday's tough loss.
“The boys know you can't win them all and I expect us to bounce back in a big way,” he said. “It seems like when we lose a game, we come out and play very well and run off some wins after that, so we will see.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.