Led by scoring sensation Toohey, Mt. Pleasant girls soccer team's offense evolving
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Jordan Toohey has been on the fast track to soccer success at Mt. Pleasant since she scored with four seconds left in her first varsity game to down Latrobe, 2-1.
A sprinter on the Vikings' track and field team, Toohey has used her speed to score 104 career goals, a total that netted her a scholarship to Saint Francis University.
“You have girls who are fast on the soccer field, then you have girls who are ‘track fast,' ” Mt. Pleasant coach Josh Pajak said of Toohey, whose fastest 100-meter dash time is 12.6 seconds. “There's a big difference.”
Toohey's speed and foot skills have helped Mt. Pleasant post a 68-26-2 record the past five years. But in order to take the next step — the Vikings are 1-5 in the postseason during that span — Pajak needs the offense to evolve.
To, essentially, include more than just Toohey.
“I think we're ready to take the next step toward being more balanced,” Pajak said. “I think there's room for her to score 40 goals, but I think there's room for other kids to score 20.”
Toohey finished with 36 goals and 11 assists last season, though only one other Mt. Pleasant player reached double digits; Rachel Salai, a returning all-section midfielder, had 11 goals and 10 assists.
“I feel like, at any given time, anyone can score,” said Toohey, a senior who also plays basketball at Mt. Pleasant. “We have a lot of younger girls who are still getting used to the game, but once they get into it, they can be just as big of a threat.”
There are also some veterans to watch. Midfielder Kasey Brown is a three-year starter, contributing three goals and 13 assists in 2012, as Mt. Pleasant finished 11-8 and lost to South Park in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Center back Eileen Brady is another three-year starter and anchors the Vikings' defense. Senior goalkeeper Anna Riddle, an all-section player as a sophomore, appears recovered from the torn ACL that wiped out her junior season.
“I think we have really good ball skills and pass the ball well,” Salai said. “As long as we can incorporate that into our games, we'll be good.”
Even if Mt. Pleasant has enough support around Toohey, there's no denying she's one of the WPIAL's best.
The top returning scorer with Yough's Mikayla Mance (44 in 2012) not playing high school soccer, Toohey scored four goals during a 7-4 win over Laurel Highlands on Sept. 3. She had the lone tally to top Greensburg Salem on Sept. 4.
Toohey, a sprinter in track, attributes her success to being able to play the ball with either foot. Her awareness in space and ability to get open also help, Pajak said.
“She's a true goal scorer,” Pajak said. “She's very explosive and has a knack for finding the goal. She can turn the tide of a game in a minute, not only by scoring but by scoring in bunches.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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