Kiski Area boys soccer eyes section title, playoff run
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Kiski Area boys soccer team, returning most of its starters from last season's section-winning squad, entered the season as the favorite to capture the Section 1-AAA title. With one game left,it remains in position to do that — but so does Franklin Regional.
The Cavaliers (12-2-2, 9-1-1) travel Monday night to face the Panthers (11-2-2, 9-1-1) in a match that will determine the section champion.
“We want to win this game. We want to establish ourselves again, for the third straight year, as section champion,” Kiski Area coach Bob Wright said.
On Sept. 18, the teams battled to a 1-1 tie at Kiski Area. Sophomore forward Dakota Lange, the Cavaliers' leading scorer, netted the only goal for Kiski Area in the draw. Should another tie occur in the rubber match, Franklin Regional and Kiski Area will split the section title.
“Franklin impressed by being able to finish a good chance they had and defending very well,” Wright said. “They are smart and disciplined at the back.”
Despite being pleased with how the Cavaliers have played, the one thing that gives Wright cause for concern entering the playoffs is the team's trouble finishing chances.
“Our potential is still so great to do so much, but we manage to really have difficulty with some little things sometimes,” Wright said. “Primarily, that's in the area of finishing.”
Along with leading scorer Lange and junior attacking midfielder Matt Dziadosz, who has eight goals and a team-high nine assists, Wright said a number of players have chipped in offensively as part of a fluid attack. With all of the chances the team has fashioned, Wright believes that the team's average of 2 1⁄2 goals per game could be even higher.
Heading into a finale against a Franklin Regional team that has surrendered 0.9 goals per game in section play, the Cavaliers may have to make the most of only a few chances. Wright thinks they can.
“We're going out to win. We're confident, and we think we can,” Wright said. “If we can just continue to get smarter and smarter on finishing and finding more and more goals to score, it will serve us really well in the playoffs.”
Other local story lines:
• After ending a 14-year playoff drought in 2011, the Highlands girls soccer team not only repeated the feat but also improved on it. Led by first-year coach Mark Duffield, the Rams are 13-3, 11-2 in Section 2-AA, significant improvements over records of 8-10, 7-7 last season.
Buoyed by the efforts of prolific senior forward Natalie Richards and emerging sophomore goalkeeper Sam Kovach, the Rams look to improve on their marks.
“If they believe in themselves as much as I and (assistant coach) Dave (Henderson) do, they can definitely make a good run,” Duffield said. “It's very rare that you meet a team that has talent and a big heart as well. They have both.”
• Despite rattling off 11 straight wins to open the season, the Fox Chapel girls soccer team (15-2, 10-2) came up short of the Section 3-AAA title after a pair of losses to champion Gateway. Still, after averaging 4.4 goals for and 0.5 goals against, the Foxes are one of only a few teams that boast a solid combination of offense and defense.
• Section 3-AA playoff qualifiers Plum (8-4-3, 6-3-3) and Fox Chapel (11-3-1, 9-2-1) could make noise in the boys playoffs. The Mustangs managed an eye-opening win over section champion Central Catholic earlier in the season, while the defensively imposing Foxes have pitched shutouts in 10 of their 11 wins.
Stephen Catanese 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.