Plum duo earn all-state soccer honors
Plum center midfielders Paul Paradise and Michael McDade recently made a name for themselves by earning all-state honors from the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association.
Paradise and McDade finished second and sixth, respectively, among WPIAL players by a coaches' vote.
Now, the outstanding duo have the Mustangs aiming at a state title.
WPIAL champion Plum (21-1-1) will take on District 10 winner Erie Cathedral Prep (21-2) in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Saturday at Karns City.
"Paul and Michael give us the ability to push an extra guy forward because they are so good in the center of the field," Plum coach Jeff Nese said.
For evidence of Plum's success at midfielder, look at the fact the Mustangs have outscored opponents, 89-13, this season.
Paradise, a junior, has collected 23 goals and 12 assists while repeating as an all-state selection. McDade, a senior, has piled up 18 goals and 16 assists while being named all-state for the first time.
"I think Paul and I complement each other well," McDade said. "If one of us is lacking something during a game, the other picks it up. I think that's helped us have a successful season so far."
Last season, McDade was disappointed because he did not make the all-section team, although he had 16 goals and nine assists.
"He's been the team MVP," Nese said of McDade. "Offensively, he produces goals and assists, and defensively he's been clogging up the middle. Paul will be Paul. Mike was the question mark heading into the season, and he's been phenomenal."
Before important games, Paradise is often mentioned by name by opposing coaches. His physical abilities and knowledge of the game make him a special player, Nese said.
Paradise's brother, Matt, played at Long Island before transferring to Robert Morris. Both are Division I schools.
"I watched my brother when he was in college and high school," said Paradise, who is attracting interest from West Virginia among other schools. "I learned a lot from him. Also, I've learned from my own experiences, going to camps and playing at a high level."
The all-state team includes 13 WPIAL players. Kiski Area midfielder Stefan Lundberg and Penn Hills forward Steve Nese, Jeff's brother, also earned enough votes to make the cut.