ShareThis Page

Valley News Dispatch Soccer All-Stars

| Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, 10:58 p.m.
Olivia Sharbaugh
Deer Lakes soccer player Danielle Kearns photographed Friday October 5, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Deer Lakes soccer player Nichole Kearns photographed Friday October 5, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
2012 Springdale senior girls soccer player Marissa Sarsfield. File photo
Riverview's Cole Quinio (No. 8) and Saint Joseph's Peter Sturtevant (No. 8) battle for possession during the soccer game at Harrison Hills Park in Harrison on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Highlands' Natalie Richards runs the ball against Freeport's #18 during the soccer game at Freeport High School on October 3, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Highlands' Natalie Richards traps the ball during a soccer game against Freeport at Freeport High School on October 3, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
2012 Springdale soccer player Joe Wysocki. Submitted
Jared Cole, Springdale
Jesse Thiessen, Fox Chapel
Alex Slomer, Knoch, BoysSoccer; Shadyside Academy Varsity
Zach Urbanek, Deer Lakes
Cody Schrecongost, Valley
Nikki Polens, Riverview
Brandon Smail, Kiski Area
Brandon Smail, Kiski Area
Matt Dziadosz, Kiski Area
Samantha Kovach, Highlands
Plum Advance Leader
Plum seniors Shane Rings, left, and Matt Baleno joined other Class AAA seniors and senior all-state players from AA schools at the Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association AAA/All-State all-star game at Moon High School on Nov. 24, 2012. The Mustangs duo played on Team Blue, and the squad played to a 3-3 tie against Team Gray. Submitted Photo
Sydney Smajda, Springdale
Pete Spagnolo, Burrell
Lauren Kelly, Fox Chapel
Shane Rings, Plum


Gifted with high-level technical skills and vision, unselfish nearly to a fault and possessing an overwhelming love of soccer, Riverview's Cole Quinio emerged as that rare type of playmaker, one who is able to orchestrate passing sequences like a conductor while boasting an accurate shot from long distance. Standing 6 feet tall, he also possesses size uncommon in a skilled midfielder.

Quinio was named the Section 2-A player of the year and to the All-WPIAL team for the second straight year after scoring 10 goals and assisting on 29 more, involving him in 74 percent of the Raiders' scoring. That comes on the heels of an eight-goal, 30-assist performance last season.

Quinio was instrumental in the Raiders' late-season, seven-game winning streak and upset of Vincentian.

After a strong performance at the WPSCA All-Star game, the four-year letterman has received a renewed surge of collegiate interest from Division III schools such as La Roche and Geneva, among others.

How important has soccer been in your life?

I just grew up with it. I don't know what it would be like without it. I've always had it in my life. My aunt used to coach and had me going when I was really little. I can't tell you what I'd be like without it. It's a part of me.

What do you think makes you unique from other players?

My vision. When everyone else is running like their heads are cut off after every ball, I'm trying to keep my head calm and read the situation.

David Beckham is your favorite soccer player. How do you feel about him leaving Major League Soccer?

I'm bummed about it, but he had a great six years. I saw him play five times; four times in Columbus and one time in (Washington) D.C.

Do any of those games stand out in your memories?

The D.C. game was insane. It was the first game he played after being hurt to start his MLS career. He was put in around the 60th minute, and the place went crazy. I was about 11 or 12 years old then.

How much time do you spend playing soccer?

At least five days a week. With the high school season over, I'm either at PISA (Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena) or at cup soccer (with Arsenal FC of PA).

Over the last two seasons you were able to compile 59 assists. How much credit do you share with your teammates for reaching such a high number?

I give them all the credit for finishing the plays. They help me get the assists, and I help them get the goals. Cole Wilson did a great job this year, last year it was Zach Lear. It felt like we could score on every corner kick.

2012 VND BOYS soccer all-stars

matt baleno

Plum, senior

Technically gifted midfielder recorded 15 assists and scored five goals for the Mustangs. … Earned All-WPIAL and All-Section 3-AAA honors.

jared cole

Springdale, senior

All-Section 2-A and All-WPIAL pick proved a vital addition after transferring from Central Catholic. … Led the WPIAL Class A quarterfinalists' attack with 20 goals and nine assists.

matt dziadosz

Kiski Area, junior

Talented playmaker named to All-Section 1-AAA and All-WPIAL teams. … Scored eight goals and assisted on 10 more for Section 1-AAA champions.

shane rings

Plum, senior

His 12 goals were good enough to lead the Mustangs in scoring for the second straight season. … All-WPIAL and All-Section 3-AAA selection also logged eight assists.

cody schrecongost

Valley, junior

Sweeper instrumental in securing Vikings' first playoff appearance. … All-Section 1-AA pick led a defense that surrendered only eight goals in 12 section games.

alex slomer

Knoch, senior

Few defenders were as strong offensively as Slomer, who scored nine goals and set up another six. … Earned All-WPIAL and All-Section 2-AA honors.

brandon smail

Kiski Area, junior

Goalkeeper earned nine shutouts and garnered All-Section 1-AAA and All-WPIAL nods. … Stood tall in playoffs, stopping all 26 shots he faced over two games in regulation and overtime.

pete spagnolo

Burrell, senior

Was a vital source of leadership and all-around offense for the Bucs. … Finished with 10 goals and 12 assists. … Named to All-WPIAL and All-Section 1-AA teams.

zach urbanek

Deer Lakes, senior

Strong goal scorer led the Lancers with 18 goals. … Earned an All-Section 2-AA nod for his efforts and was named as an All-WPIAL reserve.

joey wysocki

Springdale, senior

Two-time All-VND selection recorded 10 shutouts and a lofty .914 save percentage for Section 2-A champions. … All-WPIAL and All-Section 2-A selection also scored two goals.


In 2011, Highlands turned heads when it broke a 14-year playoff drought. Not satisfied with simply being adequate, the team excelled this season, finishing 15-4 overall and 12-2 in Section 2-AA, an improvement on its 8-10, 7-7 mark last season.

No player exemplified Highlands' resurgence quite like dynamic midfielder Natalie Richards.

Possessing a potent long-range shot and a nose for the goal, Richards lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 19 goals and 12 assists in her senior campaign, bringing her career totals to 40 goals and 30 assists — a gaudy stat line from any position, but especially poignant when it's generated from the center of the field.

While Richards' goal-scoring was impressive, she quietly grew into a complete player as a senior. Increasingly proficient as a passer and assertive physically, she continually drew rave reports from first-year Rams coach Mark Duffield for her all-around play.

Next fall, she'll put her skills on display at Point Park, where she plans to sign next month. Richards took some time to talk about her scholastic career:

When do you feel Highlands turned the corner and became a strong team?

I think we've been growing ever since I came up as a freshman. Making the playoffs last year made us even better this season.

Was there a big win that really stood out to you this season?

Both games against Knoch, especially the one on the road. We could never beat them last year, but this year we were able to beat them twice.

What kind of support did you get from your classmates?

We had a huge student section this year; we never had such a big one before. They'd come dressed as different themes, like neon night and stuff like that.

Did it affect the team at all?

It motivated us to do better. We never got nervous about it, just pumped up. The huge student section was just awesome to have.

Did you or the team have any unique pregame rituals?

We'd all get together and pray before every game on the field. Personally, I'd go through this taping routine. I don't know why I do it. I only do it for high school, not my cup team.

Your coach, Mark Duffield, is from England. What were some memorable things he said in his English accent?

He'd say “cheers” a lot, or call people “mate.” Mark would really motivate us all season.

2012 VND girls soccer all-stars

danielle kearns

Deer Lakes, senior

A constant threat from midfield. … Led the Lancers with 19 goals this season. … Division II California (Pa.) recruit was also named to All-WPIAL and All-Section 2-AA teams.

nichole kearns

Deer Lakes, senior

All-around threat at forward figured in 32 of the Lancers' 53 goals, finishing with 17 goals and 15 assists. … Named to the All-Section 2-AA team.

lauren kelly

Fox Chapel, junior

Defensive-minded midfielder made her presence felt on the scoreboard with nine goals and 11 assists. … All-WPIAL and All-Section 3-AAA selection highlighted a defense that recorded 11 shutouts.

samantha kovach

Highlands, soph.

Emerging goalkeeper recorded nine shutouts despite missing time due to injury. … Major growth and impressive play in second year as starter for Rams.

aaliyah odom

Plum, junior

Speedy All-WPIAL and All-Section 3-AAA forward was a constant threat for the Mustangs. ... Led team with 16 goals while also logging six assists.

nikki polens

Riverview, freshman

Two-way midfielder made her presence quickly felt as a key contributor for the resurgent Raiders. … Scored 11 goals and added five assists.

marissa sarsfield

Springdale, senior

Though naturally a center back, was often deployed in midfield. … Division I Cleveland State recruit earned All-WPIAL and All-Section 4-A honors while recovering from major knee surgery.

olivia sharbaugh

Knoch, junior

Excelled through injury-riddled campaign to record 13 goals and nine assists for the Knights. … All-WPIAL and All-Section 2-AA selection.

sydney smajda

Springdale, senior

Versatile midfielder was deployed in a variety of roles for the WPIAL quarterfinalists. … Earned All-WPIAL and All-Section 2-A nods.

jessie thiessen

Fox Chapel, senior

All-WPIAL and All-Section 3-AAA forward led the Foxes in scoring the past four seasons. … Finished the season with an eye-opening 19 goals.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.