ShareThis Page

Lineup changes haven't knocked Yough from top of Section 1 standings

| Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 10:42 p.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Yough's Shawna Zaken breaks out in front of Mt. Pleasant's Rachel Anthony during a game at Yough on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Jordan Toohey (left) and Yough's Danica Pils collide while battling for the ball during a game at Yough on Monday, September 30, 2013.

Any roster plans that Yough coach Dann Appolonia had coming into the season have been abandoned.

Appolonia had his work cut out for him after losing his top two scorers from last year's undefeated team. Mikayla Mance — the top scorer in the WPIAL — left to play for the Riverhounds Training Academy, and Hannah Ponitz — the top returning scorer — tore her ACL in the spring.

“Having to replace (Ponitz) was certainly difficult,” Appolonia said. “Shawna Zaken had 17 goals last year, so by no means was she unfamiliar with putting the ball in the goal. The adjustment was finding someone to go with her.”

The Cougars have risen to the challenge and are 9-3 overall and 7-1 in Section 1-AA as a result.

“We've been shuffling through some kids, but we've only lost one game in our section so far and we've been scoring,” senior captain Samantha Maughan said.

Appolonia's first answer was to move fullback Danica Pils to striker to play with Zaken, but that plan didn't come together.

“It was an adjustment for a few weeks, and just when things started to mesh up there with her, she got injured and was out a little over two weeks,” Appolonia said. “It was kind of a hard hit there because we went from just getting settled in with a few players up there to getting readjusted to her being back in.”

The front-line injuries have led to shuffling elsewhere for the Cougars.

“Obviously, you're taking players out of where they've been and having to backfill them with other players,” Appolonia said. “It's hurt our consistency, having to move around girls, but that's not a problem that other teams don't have to face.”

Since Pils' injury, former midfielder Natalie Luppold has solidified the other forward spot, so Pils has stepped into the midfield. Counting Monday's 4-0 win over section rival Mt. Pleasant, Luppold has 13 goals to complement Vaken's team-leading 16.

The win was the eighth shutout of the season for junior captain Leigh Appolonia. The defense — consisting of Maughan, Ellie Balko, Alex O'Brien and Tayler Powell — has felt the pressure to help the team succeed this year, she said.

“Definitely (Monday) night,” Leigh Appolonia said. “We had to step up. Since we lost a couple players, we definitely have to play a more defensively sound game. We've always said, ‘If they can't score, they can't win.' ”

Amid the chaos, it seems the only plan not changing is for Yough to repeat as Section 1-AA champ. It is leading the section, with their only loss coming against Southmoreland, 2-1.

“We do expect to win, but we have four more games and two are pretty big,” Leigh Appolonia said. “We definitely have to step it up against Southmoreland, but I think we're ready for them this time.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.