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Mt. Pleasant boys ready for 1st taste of playoff action

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Manny Burton

Carlynton, sophomore, midfield

Burton scored three times to lead Carlynton to a 7-1 win over Brentwood.

Dakota Lange

Kiski Area, junior, forward

Lange's hat trick was the catalyst for the Cavaliers in a 9-1 victory over Connellsville on Thursday.

Scott Carson

Beaver County Christian, senior, midfield

Carson scored the game-winner in overtime, as BCC defeated OLSH, 2-1.

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Hall scored the game-winning goal Thursday as Greensburg Salem edged Mt. Pleasant, 2-1.

Top 5 rankings

Class AAA

1. Upper St. Clair 15-0-1

2. Bethel Park 13-3-1

3. Peters Township 12-3-1

4. Canon-McMillan 13-2-2

5. Fox Chapel 14-1-0

Class AA

1. West Allegheny 13-0-3

2. South Park 16-1-0

3. Blackhawk 14-1-1

4. South Fayette 14-1-2

5. Shady Side Academy 12-3-0

Class A

1. Sewickley Academy 12-3-0

2. Seton-La Salle 13-2-1

3. Vincentian 13-2-3

4. Beaver County Christian 11-4-0

5. OLSH 9-4-1

­— Not including Monday's results

best of the week

Bishop Canevin at Indiana 6 p.m. Tuesday

This nonsection contest will prepare both teams for the upcoming WPIAL playoffs. Bishop Canevin competes in Class A, while Indiana is in Class AA.

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Mt. Pleasant coach Floyd Snyder has watched his playoff-bound team grow up before his eyes.

Although they missed out on their main goal of a section title, the Vikings (10-5-1, 7-4-1) have clinched a playoff spot for the first time in four years after placing third in Section 1-AA.

None of the players on the current roster has any playoff experience. Not surprisingly, Mt. Pleasant will face challenges in the first playoff game, its coach said, no matter what team it draws.

“Trying to overcome the nerves is the biggest thing,” Snyder said, “but once we overcome that, it's just soccer.”

Operating under the assumption that his squad will continue to do the unexpected, Snyder has high hopes that the Vikings will be able to compete.

“I think we definitely can win the play-in game, and depending on our first-round matchup, I really like our chances,” he said. “But there are a lot of teams in Class AA with a lot of skill and senior leadership.”

Mt. Pleasant hasn't had the same abundance of upperclassmen leadership, with Bruno Anys, William Groft, Gabriel Hartzler and Tyler Kolar being the only seniors on the roster. But this hasn't been a cause for doubt for Snyder.

“We're a younger team. We really have only two senior starters,” Snyder said. “We knew they were young, and sometimes younger players are inconsistent. But we knew if they played to their ability we'd be fine.”

The Vikings have been able to build around a core of reliable scorers. Between juniors Zackery Bednar, Zachary D'Amico and Alex Temple and sophomore Brandon Leeder, teams have had their work cut out for them, Snyder said. In their 4-0 win over Derry a week ago — their largest shutout win of the season — the four scorers netted a goal apiece.

“It's nice because you can't really focus on one player,” Snyder said, “because if you focus on one guy, the others step up and score.”

The team has basically flipped its record from last year, when it went 5-11 overall and 4-8 in Section 1-AA. The growth that happened last year paid dividends for the Vikings this season.

“Last season was a lot of figuring out how to play varsity soccer, and this season was just about being consistent,” Snyder said.

Consistency has certainly been a big reason for the Vikings' turnaround this year. Only one of their losses came by more than one goal — a 5-1 defeat to Section 1 champ Burrell on Sept. 17.

That loss was particularly costly as it ended up being the difference in the race for a section title. But that loss also served as a turning point. Mt. Pleasant is on a 7-2-1 run after Monday night's 3-2 nonsection win in the season finale at Hempfield.

“Our goal is to improve every match,” Snyder said, “and every time we step on the field to be a little bit better.”

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at ghorvath@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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