ShareThis Page

Kittanning notches 1st win since reviving girls soccer program

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 10:54 p.m.
Matt Grubba | Leader Times
Kittanning freshman midfielder Natalie Kriess (18) gets a pass away as a Riverview defender closes in during their match Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, at Lenape Tech. The Wildcats collected their first win, 6-1.
Matt Grubba | Leader Times
Kittanning junior forward Kayly Lazaroff dribbles up the field against Riverview on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, at Lenape Tech. Lazaroff scored two goals for the Wildcats in a 6-1 win, the first for Kittanning's recently revived program.
Matt Grubba | Leader Times
Kittanning sophomore defender Gina Roncher clears the ball during the first win for the Wildcats program, 6-1 over Riverview, on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, at Lenape Tech.
Matt Grubba | Leader Times
Kittanning junior defender Erica Petras (21) pushes through a crowd to leap for a corner kick in the Wildcats' 6-1 win over Riverview on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, at Lenape Tech. The win was the first for Kittanning's recently revived program.

Chalk up the first “official” win for Kittanning girls soccer.

Junior Kayly Lazaroff scored twice, and the Wildcats scored four times in the first half on their way to their first victory since the program restarted last season, a 6-1 win over Riverview on Thursday at Lenape Tech.

Emily Knepshield, Kylie Hagofsky, Natalie Kreiss and Sydney Dunmire also scored for Kittanning (1-1-0), while Erin Joyce scored for Riverview (0-3-0) early in the second half.

The reason the word “official” was thrown around in the mostly muted postgame celebration was that the Wildcats already had won two preseason scrimmages this year — against Redbank Valley and Valley — and the feeling after those games was that it wouldn't be long before a regular-season win followed.

“We played well in our two scrimmages and beat both of those teams, but now we can actually say we have a win, and I couldn't be more proud of them,” coach Crystal Heder said. “They've worked hard.”

The Wildcats, who pull players from all three Armstrong School District high schools, had a pair of tie games but no wins last year in their first season of play since 1999.

It took only until the second game of this season to get that first win, and a big reason is the year of experience working together.

“It feels real great to get a win,” said sophomore defender Gina Roncher, a Kittanning student and one of the team's captains. “We're a district team, so everybody thinks we have a rivalry with each other, but it's nice the way we can work together and come out with a great game.”

“They've come together so much (from last year). The chemistry is there,” Heder said. “Last year was frustrating because everybody came from playing somewhere else. But this year we've had time to train together and really learn what everybody's strengths and weaknesses are.”

Many of Kittanning's players are juniors and sophomores who played on the team last year, but two new additions — Knepshield and Kreiss — have played a big part. Both had two assists against Riverview.

Knepshield is the team's only senior, and the multisport athlete has become a key figure in the center of the Wildcats' midfield in her first year. Kreiss, a freshman, recently moved to the area and has stepped right in to a midfield role on the wing, but Heder said those are just two key parts of a puzzle.

“Those two have helped, but the credit doesn't just go to them, it goes to everyone,” Heder said. “I see so much more from them. They strive for more, and they've really meshed because of good leadership.”

The team is again playing an independent schedule, and no decision has been made if the team will join a WPIAL section in next year's realignment or wait until the opening of the new Armstrong High School. This year's schedule has more games than last year's, and Kittanning has lined up some tough opponents, including Kiski Area and Shady Side Academy.

With the win, the Wildcats have their sights set on many more.

“A lot of us grew up playing together, and it's nice to see us all making it work out there,” Roncher said.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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.