Trib Cup: Seneca Valley girls soccer had best playoff run in school history
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It was a bittersweet ending for the Seneca Valley girls soccer team, which made the best playoff run in school history.
The Raiders' season came to a close after dropping a 1-0 match against Spring-Ford in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals Tuesday. The program's first 20-win season and a five-game WPIAL and state playoff shutout streak were just a few of the momentous high notes for the young team.
“It still stings a little bit to talk about,” coach Dave Sylvester said. “But for what we lost after last season as far as seniors, this group really came in and what they did was just amazing.”
The Raiders are highlighted as this week's Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award feature team, and they are a primary reason why Seneca Valley is in fourth place in the Class AAAA standings.
Sylvester struggled to come to grips or find the words to commend the job his team did this season. He said he hopes he'll be able to put the season into words come the team's end of the year banquet Tuesday.
“I think what makes it so hard is that it really is over,” he said. “From day one they just had such a great chemistry. And to me that's the most important thing any team needs to have.
“It was never hard to come to practice or play in a game because the atmosphere around here was always great.”
Sylvester's sometimes 19-player rotation was at times nightmarish for opponents who struggled to match its speed and grit and, if it did, putting the ball in the net was near impossible.
Goalkeeper Jess Neill — a three-year starter — was in net for 13 of the Raiders' shutouts, including five consecutive in the playoffs. As commendable a feat as that is, Sylvester was quick to point out that a total team effort is what made the act possible.
“I think it goes back to the chemistry they have and everyone playing for each other,” he said. “Everyone, from Jess to the defense to the forwards and mids, everyone contributed each game to accomplish what we did.”
Leading the charge were seniors Alexis Pucci, Kayli Kumanchick and Maykate Zahorchak. The juniors that played key roles were Kelsey O'Connor, Emily Wagner, Alicia Hart and Kaylin Serman.
The Raiders will not have to rebuild much, as this year's crop of juniors and sophomores gained significant playing time throughout this playoff run. Sylvester hopes to harness their experience into another deep run.
“As disappointed as I am in that we lost,” he said, “I'm that much more excited for the talent we have coming back.”
Caroline Miller, Sarah Anderson and Megan Majeski are just a few of the sophomores that gained valuable experience this year.
With the bow all but put on the season, Sylvester has an interesting take on how to compliment what his group was able to accomplish.
“Some people take being called overachievers the wrong way,” he said. “This group was overachievers that no one knew they'd do what they did but them.
“That is meant as a compliment. They accomplished it. I was just glad to be on the ride.”
Brian Graham is a freelance writer.
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.
- Starkey: Steelers still knockin’ on Canton’s door
- Heyward-Bey looks to make impact on special teams with Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Spaeth on baby watch
- Philanthropist and one-time GOP powerhouse Elsie Hillman dies at 89
- Pitcher Arrieta, Cubs shut down Pirates in victory at PNC Park
- Former Lower Burrell couple to stand trial for animal cruelty
- Catching on: Jeannette grad Pryor making progress with transition to receiver
- Murrysville oncologist says he had necessary permits to hunt, kill lion
- Man dead in McKees Rocks shooting; he survived gunshot 10 days ago
- Pirates notebook: Liriano shrugs off rain-ruined start
- New Kensington man on trial on charges of molesting girl during 7-year period