Coaching change not slowing down Bishop Canevin girls soccer
When a coach takes over a program, it may take a couple of games to get on the same page.
If the Bishop Canevin girls soccer team and first-year coach Jared Steigerwald are going through a transition period, the rest of Class A in the WPIAL had better watch out.
The Crusaders have opened the season with a 6-0 mark — including three wins in Section 3-A.
“I knew we would be a younger team with talent,” Steigerwald said. “So expectations were high when we started the year. All the girls are goal driven. They have high expectations for themselves and their teammates.
“They expect to win and will do whatever it takes.”
The team had its stiffest challenge of the year so far last week as it defeated South Allegheny, 2-1, in double overtime. The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead in the first half off a goal from senior Julianne Hart with an assist from senior Carrie Bunevich.
The Gladiators pulled even when a Gladiators corner kick was relayed past the hands of goalkeeper Caroline Clarke.
“I think giving up a goal in the 72nd minute after four 80-minute games and a 90-minute game is pretty good,” Steigerwald said. “She had five straight shutouts. Our defenders are pretty good, but when (Clarke) has seen shots, she has made big saves.”
Bishop Canevin was able to pull out the win late in the second overtime period when Amy Calabrese found the goal off an assist from junior Bailey Burgess.
“It was a little disappointing when they scored,” Hart said. “But we're happy we were able to come back in the second overtime.”
The win over South Allegheny was a measuring stick for the Crusaders. The Gladiators made the WPIAL playoffs last season and entered this week tied atop Section 2-A with Bentworth.
“It proves to the rest of the league we are a team to watch out for,” senior Becca Vanek said.
While the seniors of the team admitted they were skeptical of a coaching change entering their final year, the five veterans have embraced Steigerwald and his style of play.
“(Steigerwald) has been great,” senior Alaina McGuire said. “He has gotten us more focused. Our focus is much better than it was last year. We want to win.”
Steigerwald's biggest gripe about his team is that it doesn't make the most of its opportunities. The offense has been effective, scoring 17 goals, but the first-year coach thinks it should be more.
“Through the first five games, we outshot our opponents, 134-11,” he said. “I wouldn't say I am disappointed, but we need to make more of our opportunities. Sometimes we let games be closer than it should be.”
But a 6-0 record isn't anything to scoff at. The Crusaders said they have room to get better as they seek to defend their Section 3-A title.
“The section is pretty good, so that will be a challenge,” Hart said. “It is always good to play good teams.”
“We plan on winning the section again,” McGuire said. “After that, we want to go somewhere in playoffs.”