ShareThis Page

BVA's Kovalchuk adds to Division I tradition

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Belle Vernon Area soccer standout Lauren Kovalchuk, seated left, signs her commitment to Stony Brook University under the watchful eyes of her mother, Lara, and (standing from the left) her coach, Paul Sasko, and her father, Chris Kovalchuk. Courtesy photo

In his eight years as Belle Vernon Area's girls' soccer coach, not only has Paul Sasko built a solid program, but he has begun something he hopes is a tradition.

That's sending players to NCAA Division I schools.

In his first seven season, Sasko sent two Lady leps on to D-I, Cory Stark (Youngstown State) and Ashley Magruda (West Virginia and since transferred to California University).

Make that three.

Lauren Kovalchuk signed Wednesday with Stony Brook University in Long Island N.Y., a NCAA Division I school for women's soccer.

A four-year letterman and three-year starter at BVA, Kovalchuk also spot started games as a freshman on a very strong Lady Lep team that won a section championship.

Selected “Newcomer of the Year” her freshman season with nine goals and six assists, Kovalchuk finished her career at BVA with 56 goals and 35 assists, including 17 goals and 13 assists her senior season. She served as captain of the team both her junior and senior years and was selected as an All-Section All-Star in her sophomore and junior years.

“She's just a great all-around soccer player,” Sasko said of Kovalchuk. “She can play any position; she has nice size; and she can score and control the field.”

Sasko said Kovalchuk was primarily a center mid-fielder for the Lady Leps, “However there were times we asked to move to the back and she played really great defense.”

“I don't know if she will play mid-field or defense in college, but whatever she does she will do well,” Sasko said.

This past season she was selected as an All-WPIAL and All-State All-Star by the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association while leading BVA to a Section 4 AA championship, WPIAL semifinals and school's first PIAA state playoff appearance.

Sasko gave his departing the senior the ultimate praise by saying, “She's such a hard worker, especially in practice. When you have a talented kid who is willing to work hard in practice, that makes that player easy to coach.”

Outside of soccer she has been a member of the Olympic Development Program for five years and was a member of the 2012 ODP Region 1 Tournament champion team.

Kovalchuk is the daughter of Chris and Lara Kovalchuk of Rostraver Township.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

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.