Rings, Baleno to play in WPSCA Class AAA all-star game
The Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association's ninth annual all-star games will be Saturday at Moon High School, and Plum senior forwards Shane Rings and Matt Baleno and Gateway senior goalkeeper Nate Kleya will take part in the contest for Class AAA/all-state players.
The AAA/all-state game is at 2 p.m. and caps off a tripleheader of soccer action involving 90 top WPIAL senior players from each of the three classifications.
The Class A game will be at 10 a.m., and the AA game will follow at noon.
Kleya, Baleno and Rings earned recognition on the Finest 17 All-Section 3 team released a couple of weeks ago.
Baleno and Rings then were voted to the All-WPIAL squad.
“(The all-star game) is a great honor for any player,” Gateway head coach Chris Duda said.
“It's some of the best players in all of western Pennsylvania, so the soccer is going to be great.”
Kleya was the full-time starter in goal for the Gators this season after splitting time in 2011.
He helped Gateway go 6-11-1 overall and 4-8 in Section 3-AAA play, a two-game win improvement in both categories from 2011.
The Gators produced five shutouts this fall, including a 1-0 triumph over North Hills in the season finale.
Baleno and Rings will play on the same team in the AAA all-star game, but players from the same section could find themselves on opposite teams, Plum head coach Mike Baleno said.
“I think they try to divide the players into teams as evenly as possible,” he said.
Rings and Baleno helped lead the Mustangs to a second straight WPIAL playoff appearance in 2012.
Plum finished 9-5-3 overall and was 6-3-3 in Section 3, including a 2-0-2 mark down the stretch in section play.
“This game is a great thing for Matt and Shane,” coach Baleno said.
“I've seen them continue to develop into great players the past four years. This is a great finish to their high school careers to be able to play with the best. It says a lot to what they've done to get to where they are today.”
A number of the participating players already have made their college choices final, but others in the three games who still are undecided on where or if to play at the next level will have a chance to impress a number of college coaches who will attend.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.