Gators boys soccer finishes strong
The Gateway varsity boys soccer team didn't qualify for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, but head coach Chris Duda said he was impressed with the way his team battled down the stretch and finished its season strong.
The Gators went 2-0-1 in their final three games.
They upended Section 3 rival Plum, 1-0, last Thursday; tied Penn-Trafford, 2-2, on Saturday; and routed playoff-bound Class A power Monessen, 7-1, in the season finale on Monday.
“We really ended the season on a positive note,” Duda said.
“The seniors got nice ovations when they left the field (Monday). It was nice to be able to sub (senior) Nick (Contestabile) for his brother (sophomore) Dom. They play the same position (defense). We were able to get a lot of players into the game. It worked out for Monessen, too. They were able to get another good game under their belts before they begin the playoffs.”
When the Pine-Richland Tournament fell through for Gateway, Duda said, the Gators went looking for games to make up the ones lost from the tournament.
Monessen was one of the teams to stepped up.
Seniors Gaurav Pandey and Rob English scored two goals in Monday's game, while fellow senior Matt Davis, junior Jared Jenkins and sophomore Dan Snyder each tallied a goal.
Senior goalkeeper Matt Shapiro played the first half in net and moved to the field in the second half and recorded an assist.
Jenkins assisted on two Gateway goals.
Jenkins and juniors Joe Klonicki, Kevin Fitchwell and Chris Conti each finished the season with a team-best four goals.
Junior Sam Seroky, who missed close to three weeks of action with a concussion, returned for Gateway's game against Penn Hills on Sept. 25 and scored his first goal of the season in the Gators' 6-2 romp.
Seroky tallied his second and third of the season Saturday in the tie with Penn-Trafford.
The Warriors were smarting after a 3-0 loss to Norwin two days earlier eliminated them from playoff contention.
“Penn-Trafford came out strong and solid,” Duda said. “We played well.”
Klonicki scored the lone Gateway goal in the senior-night win against Plum.
The victory avenged an earlier 1-0 loss to the Mustangs and put Gateway's final section record at 3-9.
Shapiro, Davis, English, Pandey, Nick Contestabile, Taylor Nemanic and Sam Passalinqua were honored in a ceremony before the start of the varsity contest.
“The whole team came out and played hard against Plum,” Duda said.
“They wanted to win it for the seniors.”
Gateway finished 4-12-1 overall. Six section losses and eight setbacks overall came by one goal.
“Our record was not justice to how hard we played all season,” Duda said.
“We faced stiff competition all year. We came out of games with some unlucky bounces. Things could've been different. The returning guys are excited and already talking about goals for next year.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.