Penn-Trafford boys soccer team battling for playoff spot
The Penn-Trafford boys soccer team treated Monday's Section 1-AAA matchup with Connellsville as a must-win game.
In a tight section race, that's been the case all season.
Penn-Trafford (8-4-1, 7-4) kept its grip on the third and final playoff spot in Section 1-AAA by beating the Falcons, 3-1, on Senior Night at Warrior Stadium.
“Senior Night helped us out a lot, but our boys knew the importance of this game,” coach Jeff Nese said. “Connellsville has a good team, and we were going to have to play one of our better games to get the result we were looking for. Our energy was high tonight. We were flying around the field. So (I'm) happy with it.”
The Warriors began the week fighting with Franklin Regional (6-5-1, 5-4-1) and Hempfield (6-4-3, 4-4-2) for third place in the section. Penn-Trafford also had a chance to move up to second or even first in the section, depending on how Norwin (7-6-1, 7-2) and Kiski (8-5-1, 6-2-1) finish out their seasons.
With stakes like that, the players know the importance of every game.
“It's always a must-win when you're competing with two other teams,” said junior Galen Kreutzberger, who scored two goals against Connellsville. “You need all the points you can get.”
Nese, who previously coached at Plum, said earlier this season he'd never seen a section race with as much parity as this season's. Each team has at least two section losses, and many of the games have been decided by one or two goals.
The players are keeping close tabs on how their section competitors are faring.
“The results, every time we (see) them, are like, ‘What just happened?'” senior Bryce Tramuta said. “Everything's not like it should be from the last three years.”
Making the playoffs remains a strong motivation for Penn-Trafford, which missed out on the WPIAL playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
“The last time we were in the playoffs, we were freshmen and a lot of us weren't even playing varsity,” said senior Cameron Breze, who scored a goal in Monday's win over Connellsville. “A lot of us never even saw time on the field. It'll be interesting to see if we make it. If we do, we'll play our hearts out.”
The Warriors looked to be in trouble of missing the postseason after a three-game losing streak in late September dropped them from first place to fourth in the section. But the team righted itself with a 2-1 victory over Franklin Regional on Sept. 28 and had won three straight games after Monday's results.
“I think we just kind of realized that we needed to step it up and get some more wins or else we would be out of contention,” Kreutzberger said. “All of us really kind of stepped up our game and competed.”
Penn-Trafford can clinch a spot in the playoffs outright with a victory Thursday night against Norwin. The Knights beat the Warriors, 2-0, earlier this season and have won nine straight games over their rivals.
“It just makes it even bigger since it's a rivalry,” Tramuta said. “Winning that, I can't even imagine how that would feel — especially since we've never gotten a result against Norwin.”
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.