Last year's long-awaited trip to postseason motivating West Mifflin boys this season
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A trip to the WPIAL playoffs in 2012 — the first in 26 years — has given the West Mifflin boys soccer team a boost that second-year coach Chad Perry hopes is padding his players' confidence level.
Even with an untested varsity player in goal for most of the Titans' early games, West Mifflin has experienced some success.
Freshman Tyler Beck, subbing for the injured Kyle Buettner, produced a victory and a tie in West Mifflin's past two games, but Buettner is expected back in the lineup Tuesday for the Titans' scheduled Section 3-AA home game against Belle Vernon.
“Tyler gave us some really good minutes. He gave us a good lift, made some key saves and earned some respect from the other players on the team,” Perry said.
Buettner, the team's regular goalie in 2012, was injured in West Mifflin's 2013 opener against Ringgold, suffering from a bruised left shoulder that limited his motion.
The junior was back on the practice field Monday, wearing a brace and some extra padding.
“I have full range of motion now, but it does feel a little stiff from not using it,” said Buettner, who missed three games.
West Mifflin was 1-1-1 with Beck in goal, including a 2-2 tie with Yough in the section opener Sept. 3.
“He did well,” Buettner said. “It's very tough for a freshman to step into the flow at a position like goalie, which is one of the toughest things to do. One thing I've been emphasizing from training camp, as a captain, is to pick up each other's play.
“There was competition in camp, but I told Tyler that whoever the varsity goalie was going to be that the other guy needed to be ready at any moment. I told him that very thing on the day I got hurt, too, and look what happened. He was in there for the next game.”
Perry likes the leadership qualities he's seeing in his players, particularly guys like Buettner, senior midfielder Chris Demeri and sophomore midfielder Chad Wright. Demeri leads the team with three goals, and Wright has contributed a goal and two assists.
“Kyle was an outstanding goalie all last season, and Chris and Chad have really played well for us,” Perry said.
“Our expectations have not changed. Not having Kyle in goal was a little bit of a setback, but we're developing some good chemistry with this team. We're optimistic that we can hopefully surpass last season's accomplishments.”
West Mifflin qualified for the 2012 playoffs with a 7-7-2 record before losing to Laurel Highlands, 1-0, in a preliminary-round game.
“Everything has to be kept simple. Don't try to do too much. I believe that we have a playoff-caliber team,” Buettner said.
“We've got six of 11 starters back from last year. We definitely have that playoff feeling from the experience we had. It seems like everyone is understanding what it takes to make the playoffs.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Kiski Area’s Lange, Springdale’s Hughes named Valley News Dispatch Players of the Year
- Peters Township’s Mastrangelo twins, Canon-Mac’s Murphy named Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Soccer Players of the Year