Fischetti's athletic prowess provides versatility for Pitt soccer team

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

It was quite a soccer season for Alex Fischetti. Next season looks to be even better.

The Baldwin native and Seton-La Salle grad completed his redshirt junior season at Pitt and, not surprisingly, the defender and midfielder was a key contributor for the Panthers.

The 5-foot-10, 168-pound Fischetti played in 14 games, starting 11, as Pitt went 6-9-2 overall, an improvement over last year's 4-13-1 mark.

Fischetti earned a defensive save in Pitt's 2-1 win over Duquesne on Sept. 16. He was also named to the Pitt/Nike Invitational all-tournament team.

“He's a very technical player, a skillful player,” Joe Luxbacher, Pitt's head coach, said. “He's not a real big guy; he's more of a technical guy, and has a head for the game. He comes every day, trains hard and is a good student. He's the kind of guy you like to represent the university.”

Fischetti saw significant time at midfield and on defense. Luxbacher said that versatility is perhaps his best attribute.

“That's always been a strength of mine, the ability to play wherever on the field,” Fischetti said. “That's one of the reasons Pitt recruited me, they saw I'm capable of that kind of thing.”

While he can play all over the field, Fischetti prefers the midfield.

“I think the midfield is easily my best position,” he said. “It's a more central role of trying to help dictate the play. But I've enjoyed my experience of playing everywhere on the field.”

Fischetti came to Pitt after a stellar high school career at Seton-LaSalle, where he was one of the top players in the WPIAL. He scored 53 goals and 88 assists during his four-year varsity career.

He was a two-time All-WPIAL selection and three-time all-section player, and was named twice to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's “All-Star 11.”

At Pitt, Fischetti saw significant action as a true freshman, playing in 12 games and starting three and scoring a goal. He started strong as a sophomore in 2010, but suffered a concussion eight games in and missed the rest of the year.

Last year, the local athlete began the season as a starter but tore a ligament in his ankle, ending his season in one game. It was early enough in the year, however, that Fischetti could earn a redshirt, preserving a year of eligibility.

This year, he was largely healthy, at least compared to the previous two seasons, though a mild concussion did cause him to miss some early action.

He helped Pitt jump out to a 6-0-2 record before the team dropped nine straight.

With the 2012 campaign in the books, Fischetti still has another season ahead. He will be a fifth-year senior in 2013, meaning he will have not only a key role on the field, but also as a leader.

“He's a good man, a good personality; he's an accountable guy,” Luxbacher said.

Fischetti said he is looking forward to that role.

“I think that's a natural transition,” he said. “I remember when I came in, I looked to the older guys to see what they were doing and what I had to do. Not just soccer, academics and social life, too.”

Fischetti expects the Panthers will be a talented squad in 2013, as just two seniors will graduate from this year's team.

“It's looking positive,” he said. “It will be a young team mixed with some older guys. We have a lot of guys coming back.”

Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.

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