Share This Page

Norwin boys soccer hoping to get off to good start, continue overall success

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the Norwin Star
Norwin midfielder Zac Lakenan controls the ball during a game against Seneca Valley during the 2012 season.

Norwin boys soccer coach Scott Schuchert isn't thinking about long-term goals at the moment.

His concern lies solely with the Intersection Kickoff Tournament, which begins Friday at Seneca Valley.

“We just want to get off to a good start,” Schuchert said. “Last year, we kind of got off on the wrong foot. We lost a couple of close games early, and it kind of set the tone for our season. We played with our backs against the wall pretty much all season, and then we got some confidence later in the season.

“We want to try and get that confidence from the start. I'm not going to (talk about) down-the-road expectations, but we'd like to win the first tournament. Then we can just build confidence from there.”

After a 2012 season that saw Norwin qualify for the WPIAL playoffs for the 33rd time in the past 34 seasons, the Knights will begin the season with two games at the Intersection Kickoff Tournament. The team will play Chartiers Valley on Friday and either Seneca Valley or Baldwin on Saturday.

Stability alone could allow Norwin to get off to a better start in 2013, Schuchert's second season as coach.

The Norwin graduate didn't take over the job until August last season, shortly before fall practice began. The Knights began the season 5-6 before a four-game winning streak allowed them to keep their postseason run going. The season ended with a 4-0 loss to Pine-Richland in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

This offseason went much differently for the Knights, as the team worked extensively on conditioning before reporting to camp earlier this month.

“We were well-conditioned coming into camp,” Schuchert said. “That way, we could concentrate a little more on the soccer aspect of it instead of wasting a lot of time conditioning and running.”

Schuchert said the extra work paid off — so far, at least.

“The only way to gauge is to play a game, but as of right now, the coaches and I are real excited about where we stand this year,” he said. “ ... Our practices are very competitive.”

As Norwin attempts to continue its success in 2013, Schuchert will look to several experienced players to lead the way.

The team's headliners include senior forward Tyler Livingston and senior midfielder Zac Lakenan.

“They've been up since freshman, and they're really maturing,” Schuchert said. “Now that they're seniors, they're really taking on a leadership role. I think both of them are going to be really potent in our attack.”

At center midfield, Schuchert expects big things from junior Bobby Svec, who played extensively last season.

The back line will be anchored mostly by seniors, Schuchert said, while seniors Will Kerr and Steve Phipps will compete for the starting job in goal.

“They're going to be battling for (the starting job) through the scrimmages,” Schuchert said. “I'd like to say (if) we could use one through the whole season, that'd be great, but it's kind of good to have two seniors that could play pretty much on any other team.”

After this weekend's tournament, Norwin will begin section play Sept. 5 with a home game against 2012 section champion Kiski Area.

With the team anchored by seniors, Schuchert — a former all-WPIAL soccer player at Norwin — believes the team should continue its tradition of success this season.

“It seems like every year, we have great leadership,” he said. “It's neat to see the kids mature and take on that role. There's always kids that never get a chance to shine until they're seniors because they're a year away, or the depth of our team doesn't allow it. But as seniors, then they really take on the leadership role and thrive. Being seniors, I'm hoping that can help us in the season.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.