Peters Township's Latsko, Seneca Valley's Vilella named Pittsburgh Tribune-Review soccer players of the year
2012 BOYS SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ryan Vilella was in pain this season. He suffered a bone contusion on his fibula in the fourth game, a 2-0 win over North Hills, and the stinging sensation just wouldn't go away.
As a reigning all-state selection, Vilella knew his teammates needed him to forge on and produce and, after missing a few games, he did, scoring 11 goals and adding six assists for the Raiders (14-5-1), who advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals before falling to Peters Township, 2-1, in overtime.
“I got to watch the team do what they do best — work hard and win games,” he said about his time on the sideline. “When I got back, I just tried to continue doing what they were doing and help us get to the playoffs. Unfortunately, we just couldn't put in a full 80 minutes in the Peters game. We reached our expectations with making the playoffs and doing well.”
Vilella estimated he was playing at about half-strength which, apparently, wasn't too bad. For his efforts, he was selected the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association player of the year and again named to the All-WPIAL and all-state teams.
The Xavier recruit adds another honor to that list: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review player of the year.
What was the feeling like after the overtime loss to Peters in the quarterfinals?
It was very disappointing. It could have been worse if we would have lost on PKs. It was just a great shot the kid from Peters had. We could have won that game just as they did. It happens. You have to get over it.
How did it feel to be named all-state for a second time?
It's a great feeling. I have to thank all the coaches who have helped me. It's great to be on there two times, knowing the coaches voted me to be there. It's a great honor.
How much are you looking forward to heading to Xavier?
I can't wait to go. Xavier has a great team, great coaches. It's a great school. This year they were in the top 25 all year and lost to the national champions (Indiana) in the second round. I can't wait to help out.
Why did you decide to play there?
It was a combination of it being a great school academically, and the coaches were extremely great. They know what they want and they expect 100 percent every day. It was the nicest school I visited. My final five schools were Temple, Duquesne, Wright State, Bowling Green and Xavier.
What are your strengths on the field?
I'm good going forward with the ball and taking players on, and making sure everyone is doing their job, being a leader on the field. That's something I always wanted to be — a captain and leader on the field.
What will you miss most about high school soccer?
Probably just playing under the lights at my home school in front of the student section and the fans, the parents, my coaches. It's going to be a different feeling (leaving Seneca Valley).
How did you get involved with soccer?
I've been involved since I was 4. It's just one of those sports I stuck with until now. It helped me get a scholarship for college. I'm more than happy.
2012 boys soccer all-stars
Upper St. Clair, Sr.
A team captain and three-year starter, he scored three goals and had five assists. He also was named Section 5's player of the year and was picked to the all-state team.
With his 25 goals and 21 assists, he became just the second Ringgold player to be selected to the all-state soccer team.
Upper St. Clair, Sr.
A two-time Tribune-Review all-star, he posted 16 shutouts and allowed just nine goals this season for the PIAA champion Panthers.
The Northwestern recruit is a two-time all-state defender. He also was the kicker for the Spartans football team.
West Allegheny, Jr.
An all-state selection, he is considered one of the top defenders in the area for his ability to control play from the back. He also was the kicker for the football team.
An All-WPIAL selection, Hathaway led Canon-McMillan to the WPIAL championship. He posted 12 shutouts, including four in the postseason.
A team captain who scored six goals and had four assists, he is considering playing professionally overseas. He was an All-WPIAL and all-state selection.
Sewickley Acad., Jr.
An All-WPIAL and all-state honoree, he scored nine goals and added 23 assists in leading Sewickley Academy to the PIAA playoffs.
South Park, Sr.
After scoring 22 goals and posting 13 assists this year, he was selected to the NSCAA All-Region team in addition to being all-state the past two seasons.
Quaker Valley, Sr.
The Lafayette recruit is a two-time all-state selection who scored 17 goals this season and led the Quakers to the WPIAL championship.
2012 girls soccer player of the year
Veronica Latsko's postseason just keeps getting better. First came the WPIAL Class AAA championship, her second with the Peters Township girls. Then came the team's third straight PIAA championship. Along the way, she was named to the all-section, all-WPIAL and all-state teams.
And last week, the Virginia recruit was recognized as one of the girls soccer players in the country by being named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America High School All-America team.
“It's amazing,” she said. “I wouldn't have been able to do it without my team. I'm just the one who finishes. They do all the work to get the ball to me.”
Last year's Pennsylvania player of the year, Latsko continued her torrid scoring pace this season with 36 goals and 11 assists. She will enter her senior year with a school-record 107 goals and 33 assists.
In recognition of her accomplishments, Latsko has been named the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review player of the year for the second straight season.
Now that you've had some time to reflect on the season, what can you say about what this team accomplished?
It's incredible. People expected us to really show up this year. It's incredible that we were able to meet those expectations and accomplish our own personal goals. We couldn't have done any better.
What was the key to all the success?
Team chemistry. We were so connected. Everyone knew how to play with each other. We were comfortable on and off the field. It helped us predict where to place the ball and where people would make runs.
To what do you attribute the talent level at Peters Township?
The coaching is a huge part of it. Pat Vereb is an amazing coach. I've been with him for years, through Century and (Olympic Development Program). A lot of our girls play club, and all the coaches have so much knowledge.
What will it take to finish off your high school career with a fourth state title?
I have a feeling it's going to be similar to the year where we lost all those seniors, my sophomore year. People doubted us that year, and if they want to doubt us next year, they can go ahead, but they will pay the price. We have a lot of young players ready to step up.”
How do you think you will be remembered at Peters Township, given yours and the team's soccer success the past three years?
I hope that we'll be a team that will be looked up to. We're just a school that has a lot of soccer enthusiasm. We'll be looked at as a team that made history.”
Who do you see as your soccer role models?
Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger. Alex Morgan worked her way to get to the 2011 World Cup and did well there and started every 2012 Olympics game. Ali Krieger because she went through so many injuries the past year. This past year before the Olympics, she tore her ACL and is coming back.
How much are you looking forward to getting to Virginia, even with another year of high school remaining?
I'm so excited. I cannot wait to be a Cavalier. Watching them play against the rest of the ACC and NCAA teams is amazing.
2012 GIRLS SOCCER ALL-STARS
Bethel Park, Sr.
A Duquesne recruit, Baroffio scored 35 goals and added 13 assists in an all-state campaign. She scored 71 goals since her sophomore season.
Upper St. Clair, Sr.
A two-time Tribune-Review all-star and two-time all-state selection, the four-year starter had 22 goals and 20 assists in 2011 and followed that with 13 goals and 22 assists this season.
Greensburg C.C., Jr.
The Penn State recruit scored 55 goals and had 21 assists this season to give her 142 career goals and 70 career assists.
Greensburg C.C., Jr.
The Pitt recruit and all-state honoree scored 36 goals and had 32 assists for the PIAA champs and has 106 goals and 87 assists in her career.
Grese scored 12 goals in the postseason, including the winning goal in the PIAA title game. The two-time all-state selection had 29 goals and 38 assists.
South Fayette, Sr.
A two-time all-state honoree, the four-year starter scored 34 goals this year and had 112 goals and 34 assists in her career.
The two-time Tribune-Review all-star scored 38 goals and had 27 assists for the WPIAL champion Planets. She also was named All-WPIAL.
An all-state selection, the four-year starter scored 20 goals and had 24 assists for the WPIAL champion Planets.
Peters Twp., Sr.
A Duquesne recruit named to the NSCAA All-Region team, she scored 81 career goals, including 37 this year, for the PIAA champs.
The Pitt recruit was a four-year starter for the Gators. She scored 23 goals this season and was named All-WPIAL and all-state for the second straight season.