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Monessen hopes for return to soccer playoffs

Jim Ference/The Valley Independent
Josh Kucmeroski (center) is one of several returning players who hope to lead Monessen's soccer team, back into the playoffs.

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Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 6:38 p.m.

Ninth-year Monessen boys' soccer coach Sam Perry is looking forward to the upcoming season, and he feels that the team has something to prove after last year.

After all, it was only the second time in Perry's tenure with the team that it did not make the playoffs.

“Our goal is to get back to the playoffs,” he said. “It has always been a team goal to make the playoffs.”

With only 15 players on the roster, Perry says a major key for the Hounds to have a successful season is to stay healthy, something that did not happen last year.

“We struggled last year with a lot of injuries to key players,” Perry said of his squad that went 4-11. “If we can stay healthy, I feel that we can compete for the section title and the playoffs.”

Perry also quickly pointed out another key.

“We have to develop the younger kids,” he said. “Fortunately we have our middle school program back so kids are getting experience in middle school.

“It will help us down the road just like it has helped us in the past.”

Despite the low numbers, Perry has several experienced and talented players back and he quickly pointed several out.

After taking a year off, senior Luke Doptis returns at striker and was a two-year contributor before his hiatus.

“I am looking for good things out of Luke,” Perry said. “He is a leader.”

Several other Hounds return starting experience, including senior center defender Christian Sciacca, junior outside left winger Josh Kucmeroski, junior center offensive midfielder Zach Picciarelli.

Perry pointed out all three, including the fact that Sciacca returns from an injury that caused him to miss last season.

“It is good to have Christian back and he is also a leader,” Perry said. “And both Josh and Alex are very skilled.”

A trio of seniors also return game experience in Blake Madison and Mallory Harrell who will both play multiple positions and left defender Mario Shenouda.

Other starters include junior goalkeeper Blake Carmello, junior defensive midfielder Noah Yartin, sophomore defensive midfielder Adam Pesi, and freshman striker Justice Rice, who has impressed Perry.

“Justice has a lot of speed and ball skills,” Perry said.

Seeing time as key subs will be sophomores Cameron Deyell and Marcus McGee and freshmen Dale Kozar and Levi Henry.

Perry said his team is in good position to score some goals.

“We have five guys who I feel can put the ball in the net,” he said. “We know that we have to score because we are in a tough section.”

Monessen is in Section 4 A along with Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Chartiers-Houston, Geibel, and Washington.

The Greyhounds open the season Saturday when they host Charleroi.

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.

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