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Norwin boys soccer team looks to bounce back after close losses

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
Norwin senior Tyler Livingston chases down the ball while being pursued by two Gateway players during a scrimmage on Aug. 27, 2013, at Norwin High School.

Close games are becoming a common theme for the Norwin boys soccer team early this season.

Unfortunately for the Knights, they haven't been winning many of them.

Norwin (1-5-1) dropped three one-goal decisions last week, falling, 1-0, to Hempfield on Sept. 10; 4-3 in double overtime to Franklin Regional on Thursday; and 2-1 to Pine-Richland on Saturday.

The one-goal losses were nothing new: All five of the Knights' losses this season have come by that margin.

“I think we're outplaying a lot of the teams — I think that's what's most frustrating,” Norwin coach Scott Schuchert said. “As a coach, I put that all on my shoulders. We're eager to get back out there and get things straightened out and get some confidence going, really.”

The loss to Franklin Regional was an especially frustrating one for Norwin, which led, 3-1, at halftime after goals by Tyler Livingston, Jake Hannahs and Bobby Svec. Franklin Regional tied the score on a goal with 1:09 remaining in regulation then won it with 1:37 left in double overtime on a goal by Jake Roberge.

“There's no doubt that was a tough one,” Schuchert said of the loss. “Honestly, every game has a moment where we need to grab it or there's a few unfortunate plays that really made it unfortunate for us. We're hoping in any way possible we can iron those things out.”

While the losses have been frustrating, Schuchert said the team is banding together to improve its fortunes.

He said the players held a meeting to discuss the season after Saturday's loss to Pine-Richland.

“You've got to lose to be a great winner,” Schuchert said. “There's only one thing to do, is to play together at this point. They had the talk, and it can only bring them closer. It can only help them in the long run. Obviously, nobody likes the losing, especially (because) we need to win some games to make a run to the playoffs.”

While the losses last week dropped Norwin to a tie for fifth place in Section 1-AAA, the Knights can climb out of that spot with a strong week. Norwin played at Latrobe on Tuesday and will host Connellsville at 7:30 p.m. Thursday before a game at section leader Penn-Trafford on Saturday.

Schuchert said this is a key slate of games for the Knights.

“This is a huge week for the whole section, I think,” he said. “We started out the season exactly how we wanted to against Kiski, and we haven't found that since.

“My goal as a coach and a team is to find that again, and we want to find it before the second rotation through (the section). If we can finish off these three games with wins — and not just wins but (also) playing well — I think that could set us up for a strong second half.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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