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Sports

Gators making most of small roster

| Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010

The Geibel girls soccer team is making the most of a difficult situation.

The Gators feature a roster with just 14 players, and several of those are involved in other sports and/or activities, meaning the team rarely is together as a complete unit.

In many instances, there are fewer than 10 players at a practice.

"It's tough mainly for practice purposes," first-year coach Rob Miele said. "But a lot of the girls get playing time, which takes some pressure off me as a coach."

And though the Gators are small in number, they have talent. Already Geibel has scored a pair of shutout victories during the early part of the 2010 season, blanking Albert Gallatin and Jeannette.

"So far we've done well," Miele said. "They've done everything we've asked them to do."

Junior Brittany Rulli was in goal for both of Geibel's shutouts.

"Brittany is a returning player, but this is her first year in goal," Miele said. "She came to me and said she wanted to play there and she has made tremendous strides."

Defensively, Rulli is assisted by senior sweeper Lyric Pieri and junior fullback Sierra Stark. Up front, senior striker Hannah Lazuka and senior midfielder Brittany Core are expected to do a lot of scoring for the Gators. Freshmen midfielders Courtney Yocabet and Julia Alvarez are also being counted on for some offense.

Last season, the Gators competed in Section 6-AA and earned a spot in the WPIAL playoffs. Geibel lost in the first round to Deer Lakes. This year, Geibel is in Section 4-A, but despite the drop in class, the competition is still very strong.

Geibel will compete against Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Riverview, Shady Side Academy, Springdale and St. Joseph, which the team next plays Wednesday.

Miele said Greensburg Central Catholic, Springdale and Shady Side Academy will be especially tough opponents to beat. But don't expect the Gators to be pushovers.

"We expect to be competitive in every game," Miele said. "The biggest thing for us is to get better from Day 1 until the end of the season."

Additional Information:

Quick facts

» Geibel first-year coach Rob Miele is replacing Matt Stark.

» Assistant coaches for the 2010 team are Don Pieri and Tom Miele.

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