Share This Page

Experienced senior group paces Hempfield boys to impressive start

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Hempfield Area stricker Scott Fox sneaks between Penn-Trafford defenders Cameron Breze (2) and Jake Beretta during their September 5, 2013 contest in Harrison City.

Tim Turner knows what a successful soccer program looks like. Before taking the coaching job at Hempfield two years ago, he spent 10 seasons as an assistant at Norwin.

“I try to implement what I learned from Norwin to here,” Turner said. “Beating different defenses, playing a position style. The kids have been pretty receptive to it.”

Through the first part of the season, the Spartans are 4-2-1 overall and 3-2-0 in a tough Section 1-AAA, including a 1-0 victory over Turner's old school Sept. 10.

“When you can play with them, you can play with pretty much anyone in the WPIAL,” Turner said of the win.

Forward Ryan Leonard scored the winning goal against the Knights, and Turner believes Leonard is a big reason why Hempfield has started the year so strong.

“He's been dynamic for four years,” Turner said. “His speed is his strength. It really gives him an advantage on the attack.”

Leonard is one of 12 seniors, including center midfielder Nolan Beresford and defenders Chris Wise, Alex Linardi and Ben George, who return from last year's 10-7-1 (6-6-0 in Section 1) squad that missed the playoffs, something that hasn't been forgotten.

“We had a really good, strong group of juniors last year,” Turner said. “They're driven after missing out (on the playoffs) last year. I think that really provides some motivation for them. They're all seniors now.”

Turner doesn't like to define his team in one way but feels up and down the field the Spartans are strong and can adapt in different situations.

“I can't really say we play just possession. We play direct also,” Turner said. “I think it really says something about the kids that they can really play anything I ask them to.”

With so many upperclassmen Turner takes pride in the fact that practically everyone can play anywhere and isn't tied to just one spot on the pitch.

“We switch around a lot,” Turner said. “All the kids fit in to different places, and they do the job. So far we've been successful.”

He will admit, though, that the defense of Wise, Linardi and George paired with the solid play of junior goalie A.J. Bove makes him confident, especially behind the speedy attack of Leonard & Co.

“We have a good senior core on defense back there,” Tuner said. “It's nice to have a good group of experienced defenders that you can trust and work well together.”

Justin Criado is a freelance writer.

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.