West Mifflin girls soccer ready to make mark
The passion for a winning tradition easily can be detected in Sara Allas' voice.
Patting her hands together with each syllable for effect, Allas emphasizes her desire to help turn around a West Mifflin girls soccer program that hadn't won a WPIAL section game in four seasons before finally getting three of them in 2012.
“We have the potential,” Allas said. “Now is not the time to be discouraged.”
Second-year West Mifflin coach Greg Bourke said he believes he has a special group. He's certainly familiar with this bunch, having coached most of the girls from their early years as players in the West Mifflin Soccer Club.
Bourke, whose daughter was a player for him last season in his first year as high school coach and now is an assistant at West Mifflin, was able to coax as many overall victories from the 2012 squad as the program had produced in the four previous years, when the Titans were a combined 4-62.
West Mifflin, which was 4-11 overall and 3-9 in Section 4-AA in 2012, already is 2-3 and 2-2 this season, with a home game against Belle Vernon scheduled for Wednesday.
“It's just a lot of familiarity with these players that has created some stability,” Bourne said. “Maybe I can be a little tougher than someone else can be, and maybe they can handle it better than from someone else.”
Junior left forward Taylor Lapko leads West Mifflin in scoring with seven points on three goals and four assists, challenging the school's record of 11 points in a season, set by Bourke's daughter and current assistant Nichole Hammack in 2012.
Allas, one of eight seniors on the 2013 team, has added four points on one goal and three assists, while the defense has been sharp in victories the past two games over East Allegheny, 8-0, and McGuffey, 2-0.
Goalie Dani Hasson has posted the back-to-back shutouts with help from a defense led by team captain Krystal Ondike. Both players are seniors.
“We have some experience, we have some chemistry and we have a taste of winning now,” Bourke said. “Our goal, obviously, is to make the playoffs every year.
“If we could increase our win total by four every year until we have a winning record, that would be great. I think that nine wins in this section will make the playoffs.”
With the chance of extending the team's winning streak to three squarely in view, Allas expresses exhuberance over a potential breakout season for West Mifflin.
“We lost to a Class AAA team (Allderdice), 1-0, in the first game,” she said. “We've played well in these last couple of games and we're starting to understand what it takes to be successful.
“I try 100 percent to push my teammates. It's the best feeling to win a game. We're capable of that when we come to play together as a team.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.