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Shady Side Academy boys soccer team looks to repeat success

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Herald
Evan Brazinski scored one of the 2 goals for Shady Side Academy as they beat Fox Chapel 2-1 on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. Submitted
The Herald
Chinedu Okoroafor of Shady Side Academy looks on as his winning shot scores. Evan Brazinski from SSA looks on in background. Submitted

The 2013 Shady Side Academy boys soccer team is looking to have another strong season.

The team lost only one starting senior from last year's squad and will be looking to push for a section title this year.

“We are very lucky to have so many starters coming back this year,” said third-year coach James Meara. “The pressure will be turned up on us because of this and I am hoping the players will rise to the challenge.”

There is a new face in goal with Phil King replacing Brendan Leech, who is pursuing a college career with swimming as his sport of choice.

King has seen varsity time before and is expected to be a solid force behind the SSA defense.

The defensive unit will remain unchanged this year with Chris Zhang, senior captain Dan Marous, Berk Alper and Conan Smith looking to keep out opposing strikers.

Gray Pipitone is also pushing for a starting position on defense after impressing the coaching staff in the pre-season.

Other players pushing for time this year will be Liam Fontes and Josh Tobin, both seniors.

At midfield, SSA has the returning solid four of Grey Gerrard, Matt Rytel and senior captains Evan Brazinski and Chinedu Okoroafor.

Assistant coach Graeme Dunlap said of the midfield, “On their day, the midfield can compete with anything in Western PA soccer. We have a great blend of flair and strength.”

Completing the midfield starting positions is Brendan Brazinski, a freshman and the brother of senior captain Evan.

Another player in line for game time will be senior Jason Weis.

On the strikers front, Mike Concordia will lead the line.

The coaches say Concordia is a hard-working player with an explosive pace who will keep opposing defenders on their toes.

Complementing Concordia will be Russ Hunt and senior Peter McDonagh, who is playing his first year of soccer.

“Pete brings power and a great attitude to the team,” Meara said.

“Our captains this year are amazing soccer players, leaders and young men,” Meara said. “We are very excited about the season and our coaching staff is looking forward to watching some great soccer this year.”

A highlight of the season will come on Oct. 10, at 8 p.m., when the Indians will be playing Deer Lakes at the new Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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