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Thomas Jefferson's boys' soccer season hampered by injuries

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Injuries played a major role in the outcome of the Thomas Jefferson boys' soccer season.

Three key defensive players suffered serious injuries for the Jaguars.

Michael Redmond, a senior defender and co-captain, sat out most of the season due to a preseason injury, while freshman Andrew Oriss and sophomore Jake Stock suffered season-ending injuries midway through the year.

“These three players were key components to our starting defense,” Michael “Doc” Kulish, TJ's head coach, said. “Redmond was able to return for the final three games of the regular season.”

The Jaguars ended up 5-6-1 in Section 3-AA, and 6-10-1 overall.

South Park won the section title with a 12-0 record, while West Mifflin (7-4-1), Yough (6-5-1), Belle Vernon (6-6) and Thomas Jefferson (5-6-1) battled for second and third place in league play.

“This was an extremely young team with only two seniors,” Kulish said. “If our returning players work hard in the offseason, we should be a strong contender for a playoff position next season.”

The leading goal-scorers for the Jaguars were junior co-captain Mahesh Dhaudbhadel and sophomore Conor O'Leary, who netted seven goals apiece. Dhaudbhadel also was credited with five assists.

Junior Nick Burkett led the team in assists with nine, to go along with five goals.

Other leading offensive players included sophomore Falcon Meden, with four goals and one assist; senior co-captain Luke Good and sophomore Matt Prezioso, both with two goals and four assists; sophomore Owen Haythorn, with two goals and two assists; along with Oriss and junior co-captain Matthew Wardlaw, who finished with one goal apiece.

Good received the Senior Excellence Award sponsored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

This award is presented to an individual for exceptional contributions to the team, while exemplifying the finest attributes of a high school student-athlete.

“Luke played a significant role as a leader and role model for our team. He played every minute of every game,” Kulish said.

Several others also contributed to varsity team's play and will be key players to watch for next year.

They include sophomore defenders Dom Devine, Jake McCormick and David Crane, sophomore defender/midfielder Jack Rose, and sophomore goaltender/forward Lou Scataglia.

Freshman Colin Bucsock was the Jaguars' starting goalkeeper.

“He started every regular-season game,” Kulish said. “He received valuable experience this year.”

Other top freshman prospects include defender Ty Antonelli, midfielder Tom Conley, midfielder/forward Sean Polick, midfielder/forward Cole Lutz and midfielder/defender Matt O'Brien.

“Antonelli was the starting right defender the entire season,” Kulish said.

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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