Latrobe girls soccer trying to play unpredictable in quest for return trip to postseason
TribLIVE Sports Videos
That's the challenge put forth by Latrobe girls soccer coach Vincent Pimpinella to his players as the 2014 regular season approaches.
“One thing we've stressed is not to have a set pattern of play,” Pimpinella said. “It's still a traditional system, but we don't want to follow the same path to the goal every time.”
No matter what routes the Wildcats choose on their way to the goal, there will be some new players charged with the task of putting the ball in the back of the net.
Latrobe lost three of its top four scorers from last year's team that qualified for the WPIAL playoffs for the first time in two decades.
The Wildcats finished last season with an 11-7-1 record and a 6-5-1 mark in Section 1-AAA play. They lost to eventual WPIAL runner-up Peters Township, 3-0, in the first round of the Class AAA tournament.
Sisters Abby and Allison LaDuke combined with Emma Kate Womack to score 32 of Latrobe's 56 goals last season.
Womack and Allison LaDuke graduated last spring, and sophomore striker Abby LaDuke — who netted a team-high 13 markers as a freshman in 2013 — will miss the entire season with an ACL injury.
“We have a couple of big shoes to fill,” Pimpinella said. “The core of players we have coming back is doing a decent job.
“With Abby injured, somebody else is going to have to step up.”
The two players who figure to shoulder much of the load in terms of offensive production are seniors Rachel Campbell and Madison Mueseler.
Campbell scored nine goals last season, while Mueseler added four tallies and dished out a team-leading 10 assists.
The Wildcats' defense will be anchored by senior Ava Petrosky, an all-section performer in 2013, along with juniors Brooke Baughman, Hannah Mears and Reilly McCracken. Baughman put together a strong 2013 campaign from her center back position.
“With a year under her belt, we'll definitely benefit from her coming back,” Pimpinella said.
In addition to the more experienced players on the roster, Latrobe also has 14 sophomores who figure to earn some playing time this season.
“We have a big sophomore class,” Pimpinella said. “They've been competitive in practice, and they're getting more confident as they get more experience.”
The last line of defense for the Wildcats is senior goalkeeper Stephanie Kubus, another all-section player in 2013. She's been honing her skills by attending camps during the offseason.
“She's been working very hard,” Pimpinella said. “As a senior and a captain of this team, she's taking a step forward.”
Pimpinella sees Penn-Trafford and Norwin as the teams to beat in Section 1-AAA again this season. He was encouraged by the way his team played against those squads last season.
“I feel like we've closed the gap on Norwin and Penn-Trafford a little bit,” Pimpinella said. “We took them to overtime and played one-goal games against them last year versus earlier in my career when we were not competitive.
WPIAL realignment shuffled Franklin Regional and Kiski Area out of Section 1-AAA for the next two years. Albert Gallatin and Laurel Highlands were added to the section.
“This section is difficult,” Pimpinella said. “The teams are strong and fast.
“It's going to be an uphill battle.”
Latrobe posted a 2-1 victory over Plum in a scrimmage Saturday, the team's first game action of the preseason.
The Wildcats are scheduled to open the regular season Aug. 30, with a nonsection home game against Altoona. Latrobe's section slate begins Sept. 2, at home against Norwin.
Kevin Ritchart 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.
- WPIAL playoff soccer capsules
- Penn-Trafford girls soccer gets first playoff win since 2011
- Yough soccer coaches hold WPIAL title aspirations
- High school roundup: Quaker Valley boys upset No. 2 Mars
- 3 area teams eliminated
- Girls’ soccer sites set
- Mt. Pleasant boys soccer season ends on penalty kicks
- Roundup: S. Allegheny stuns Carlynton in girls soccer playoffs
- Cohen siblings continue to pile up goals for Fox Chapel
- Geibel goalie saves game during shootout, beats Carlynton
- Connellsville falls to Seneca Valley in first-round soccer playoff game