Lackluster start doesn't linger long for Seneca Valley boys soccer team
By Jason Mackey
Published: Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 10:54 p.m.
Colton Smith figured the Seneca Valley boys soccer team's own kickoff tournament would serve as a barometer for the season.
So much for that.
Despite a loss to Baldwin and a tie against Norwin later settled (unsuccessfully) in penalty kicks, the Raiders' eight new starters quickly improved, enough for an 11-1-1 record and a 9-0 mark to lead Section 2-AAA.
“When we tied and lost, it didn't look good,” said Smith, a senior goalkeeper. “Then we came back and kept winning and winning, the young guys started working together, and we picked it up.”
All that winning had Seneca Valley in position to clinch the outright section title going into last night's game against North Allegheny. It would be the fourth in the past six years for the Raiders and the first since 2011.
Baldwin, which scored the game-winner with about 90 seconds left, has been the only team to top the Raiders in regulation, and it proved pivotal.
“We learned a lot about not letting down,” Seneca Valley coach George Williams said. “I know it's cliché, but you can't take breaks. That really does ring true.”
Seneca Valley learned how to better defend through balls, Williams said. So far the message has been received: Smith has seven shutouts, and the Raiders haven't allowed more than one goal in a game since Norwin.
“After that tournament, I think we all realized that it wasn't going to be as easy as we might have thought,” senior forward Jared Myers said. “We buckled down and decided that we're not going to have that type of season.”
Myers has led the way with seven goals and nine assists for Seneca Valley, which lost Tribune-Review Player of the Year Ryan Vilella from last year's group.
Vilella helped the Raiders go 14-5-1 and reach the quarterfinals.
Matt Saluga, a sophomore midfielder, has five goals and six assists. Fellow sophomore midfielder T.J. Turley has three goals and four assists, and senior forward Brad Banks has contributed four goals. Sophomore midfielder Connor McCandless has added four goals off the bench.
Smith has been supported by the back line of Joe DeAugustino, senior Kalin DiPaolo, junior Danny Wallowicz and sophomore Adam Mascio.
“They're always in good position,” Smith said of his defense. “Say someone splits our defenders, we always have someone covering. They're all doing their jobs.”
Which didn't always happen last season — mostly because they weren't together all that much.
Williams estimated that because of injuries and performance, Seneca Valley started a different lineup every game.
Not so this time around.
“We've had the same starting lineup the majority of the season,” Smith said. “When you have the same lineup, you get other each other's tendencies down and play better as a unit.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.