P-T seniors want go out in style this season
For many of Penn-Trafford's girls soccer players, this season represents a last chance in a P-T uniform.
So far, the Warriors are making the most of it.
Five straight wins have elevated Penn-Trafford to No. 3 in the Tribune-Review Class AAA girls soccer rankings, but with a roster loaded with 14 seniors, the team's biggest goals lie ahead.
After a 1-0 season-opening loss to unbeaten Mt. Lebanon, the Warriors (5-1-0, 3-0-0) have run off five straight wins — including victories over State College and Seneca Valley — while allowing only one goal in those five games.
"Only giving up two goals so far is in part due to our defense, but also because we've tried to keep possession of the ball as much as possible, and we've done a good job of that, even in our loss," first-year Penn-Trafford coach Rick Nese said.
The way the senior players have stuck together has been the driving force for Penn-Trafford, as many of the players have been teammates since their youth soccer days.
"We really can work well together, and we know where each other is going to be before anything actually happens," senior Lauren Miller said.
Added senior Bre Novosel: "We've played with each other since fifth grade, so we know how each of us plays. We've really been connecting as a team."
The Warriors start nine seniors on the field and sometimes a 10th in goal, where senior Malory Feidner and sophomore Kayla DiPaolo have split time.
"They're both doing very well," Nese said. "If one outshines the other, we'll have to go with the one the team is most comfortable with, but right now, they'll continue to split time 50/50."
Penn-Trafford, which has outscored opponents 22-2, hasn't been all defense, with seniors Jaime Beretta (six goals) and Kara Novotny (five) leading all scorers. Collette Biondi, Novosel and a freshman off the bench, Kristen Swope, have also found the net more than once, giving the Warriors a balanced attack.
That balance will be important if the team is to reach the WPIAL final for the first time since Penn-Trafford won it in 2003, a goal their coach has set for them from the start.
"Our two goals are to win the section and get to the WPIAL championship game," Nese said.
The 14 seniors are on board with their new coach about aiming for big things, knowing that this is their last chance.
"We want to make it far this year. It is our senior year, so we want to win the section," Miller said, barely finishing before Novosel chimed in:
Penn-Trafford will face its toughest Section 1-AAA test to date Monday when it hosts rival Norwin (4-2, 3-0), a 2010 WPIAL runner-up and PIAA semifinalist, at 7:30 p.m. at Warrior Stadium.