Carlynton girls soccer getting serious
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Carlynton girls soccer isn't a laughing matter anymore.
After a five-season span in which the Cougars won eight games — and only two section contests — the team is on the prowl for wins in a turnaround season.
“I don't think teams take us as a joke anymore,” senior Jacqueline Roussos said. “They know we can compete.”
“And we don't take ourselves as a joke,” junior Pam Meighan added. “Not that we did before, but we now have something to fight for.”
The Cougars entered the week 5-5-2 and 4-4-1 in Section 3-A play. Carlynton is fourth in the section standings and in playoff contention for the first time since 2007 as the top three teams from each section earn a postseason berth.
Part of the change in the team's fortune can be credited to the coaching change at the beginning of the 2012 campaign.
Previous coach Jocelyn Rowe resigned from the position three practices into the season. David Zinski was supposed to coach the boys junior high program but jumped at the opportunity to coach the girls squad after hearing about their predicament.
“Before our new coaches, we would barely have enough girls to fill the field, and we didn't have subs,” senior Courtney Zofcin said. “We would be losing 9-0 by halftime. We just had a hard time scoring.”
The Cougars won only two games last year, but that is where their progress started. The team went to several indoor tournaments, and many of the girls played on a spring team together.
“They were together most of the summer,” Zinski said. “Alumni from the soccer teams came back, and the boys and girls teams all played together. Playing better competition does a lot.”
While Zinski wanted to challenge the team physically, he was just as concerned with the team's mindset. He came in knowing the program was struggling and wanted to change expectations from losing to winning.
“The first thing I tried to do was get rid of the losers' mentality that Carlynton girls soccer has had,” the second-year coach said. “We started to get rid of it last year, and they started to play hard. We expect the girls to win a lot of games.
“Instead of it being, ‘We only lost 2-0,' the girls are actually pretty upset now if they lose. That is a big change.”
The change in attitude hasn't come without its share of bumps. Carlynton had a rough start to last week with losses to Avonworth and Bishop Canevin but rebounded with a 9-0 win over Eden Christian.
Freshman Natalie Quinn got the scoring going just more than four minutes into the game. After that, Meighan scored four straight goals to put the Cougars up 5-0 early in the second half.
Cameron Bogats, Olivia Kalimon, Mackensie Ellis and Zofcin rounded out the scoring.
Things look bright for the program. The team has only two seniors on the roster — including Roussos, who is out for the season due to a dislocated knee — and 11 underclassmen. A lot of production comes from the team's six-play junior class.
But Carlynton isn't thinking about the future as it is in the hunt for a playoff berth this year. The Cougars entered the week two wins behind Bishop Canevin and Vincentian Academy, which are tied for second with six section wins.
Entering October still in the playoff chase is a new experience for the Cougars, and they have their minds set on making the most of it.
“We want to make playoffs,” Meighan said. “None of us have been to playoffs before. That is the goal.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- South Fayette boys soccer established among WPIAL’s best
- Shady Side Academy girls earn postseason soccer honors
- Thomas Jefferson’s top all-time soccer players recognized
- Mars girls soccer team has talented roster returning
- High school roundup: 2-time defending PIAA champion USC boys ousted in 1st round
- Two-time champ GCC girls soccer blanks Shady Side Academy to reach state semifinals
- Magruda loves coaching — in any language