After guiding successful GCC program, Shasko hopes to find success at college level
It doesn't matter what age group you're coaching, possessing the ball is vital to experiencing success on the soccer field.
For Ashley Shasko, who has just started her first season as the women's soccer coach at St. Vincent College, that philosophy rings true.
“It doesn't matter whether you're coaching U5 or college, possession is the key,” Shasko said. “Soccer is soccer.”
The Bearcats opened their season with four straight shutout losses and have yet to score a goal on offense, but Shasko is hoping her team will use these early contests to gear up for the start of conference play next month.
Shasko, who came to St. Vincent after a successful run as the girls soccer coach at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, takes over a team that posted a 10-8-1 record and qualified for the Presidents' Athletic Conference tournament in 2013. Three-quarters of this year's roster is comprised of WPIAL players.
“There's so much talent in the WPIAL,” Shasko said. “Drawing from that is huge for St. Vincent. We have to continue to grow the relationships we have with WPIAL schools.”
Shasko posted an overall record of 81-9 during her time at Greensburg Central Catholic. She won two WPIAL and two PIAA championships.
The Bearcats have a deep and talented roster that she hopes will be in contention for the PAC title this season.
“We set a team goal of winning the PAC,” Shasko said. “There are a lot of great teams in this conference, but we want to go into the season with high expectations.”
“It's going to take teamwork to get it done.”
Despite moving from high school to collegiate athletics, Shasko is taking a business-as-usual approach to her new job.
“I can't really say there's a huge difference,” Shasko said. “It's a similar environment (to Greensburg Central Catholic).
“There are great people at both places.”
On the field, Shasko has a group of players that are willing to put in the work on the practice field that it takes to get better.
“We have some great upperclassmen leadership on this team,” Shasko said. “They're setting a great example and setting a great tone for this team.
“I'm looking forward to a great season.”
St. Vincent's first five games — and eight of its first nine — will be played at home. The team's first road contest of the year is scheduled for Sunday, at Penn State-Altoona. PAC play opens Oct. 4, when the Bearcats travel to Chatham.
Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.