BP ends successful soccer season
BP soccer a success
Though Bethel Park garnered no trophies, the Lady Hawks would define their soccer season a success.
Despite ending the year with a 1-0 loss to Seneca Valley in the first round of the PIAA tournament, the Lady Hawks posted an 18-4-1 record. While the defeat came at the hands of the WPIAL champions, who are one game away from competing in the state finals, the outcome left the Lady Hawks with upbeat statistics.
BP appeared in two straight state tournaments. The Lady Hawks have a pair of third-place finishes in the district to their credit. They scored 90 goals and allowed only eight. They recorded 15 shutouts, including against Peters Township, a three-time state champion and two-time WPIAL winner; Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon, Gateway and Pine-Trafford.
“We don’t have any ‘hardware’ to prove that our season was a success, but I’d say when you look at our accomplishments, I’d say we had a successful season,” said head coach Jonathan Gentile.
Gentile reminded his Lady Hawks of those feats, particularly after a bitter loss to the Raiders. Kelsey O’Connor scored the only goal in the game with 11 minutes to play and Jess Neill limited the BP attack.
“After the game, I told the girls that I was very proud of their achievements the past few years,” Gentile said. “They’ve helped create a class program that nobody wants to play because we are in every game. We consistently played with passion and a healthy desire to win.”
Of BP’s four defeats, Gentile says, the Lady Hawks could have won them all. Additionally, the senior class raised the bar of expectations for the program.
Alexis Machi, Jessica Horgan, Rachel Gaddis, Lindsay Boss and Laura Page, until an ACL injury, anchored the BP defense for two years, while Tatiana Ruzzini anchored the front line, scoring 26 goals and providing nine assists.
Seniors Taylor Tamburo, Sarah Buczkowski, Chelsea Conway and Holly Tamburo bolstered the midfield while Nicole Bock and Hayley Hulbert also contributed on defense.
“This senior class is the best I’ve seen at Bethel Park,” said Gentile. “I could go on for days about how much they have meant to the program. Their work ethic, dedication and leadership is unmatched.
“They all came into training with the mindset of becoming better players. They have laid down a solid foundation. Now we just have to build off of it.
“Bethel Park will be, is and will continue to be in the conversation as one of the best teams in western Pennsylvania because of the work of these girls.”
Halle Hammer, who totaled 20 goals and collected 11 assists, headlines the future of BP soccer. Tara Nath will return to the nets. BP looks for leadership next season from its junior class, which includes: Emily Kukan, Alexa and Athena Kalogeris, Megan Barr, Lauren Toth and Sely Patrizio. Sophomores Karissa Coffield, Kelsey Tischler, Mia Wohlgemuth and Molly Gorges along with freshman Maria Winzek are expected to carry on the tradition of success.
“The future looks good,” said Gentile. “We have a nice young crop of players that are hardworking and dedicated to becoming better players. That’s all we can ask for as a coaching staff.”
In other PIAA first-round soccer playoff action:
• Laurel Carpenter’s two goals paced Peters Township to victory, 2-0, over State College. Megan Parker earned the shutout in the nets, the Indians’ 15th of the season.
• Nicco Mastrangelo, off an assist from his brother, Mario, scored the decisive goal with 58 seconds to play, as Peters Township edged Canon-McMillan, 2-1. The tally came seven minutes after the Big Macs knotted the contest, 1-1, on a header by Ivan Viveros. Corey McCurdy assisted. Rylen Faloni registered the first goal for PT in the 60th minute. Ryan Ponchione initiated the play with a corner kick.
• Although Zach Hutchinson and Matthew Wilke scored goals, they were not enough as Seton-La Salle dropped a 3-2 decision to Mercyhurst Prep, 3-2. Tyler Shumaker scored the decisive goal for the Lakers in the last 30 seconds of play. With the loss, the Rebels ended their season at 17-4-1 overall.
• South Fayette’s season ended with a 4-2 loss to Bedford. The Lions finished 17-4-2 overall and as WPIAL Class AA runners-up. Brian Coyne and Hunter White scored the goals in the defeat.
• Troye Kiernan’s hat trick vaulted Upper St. Clair to victory, 9-0, against McDowell at Veterans Stadium in Erie. Doug Hapeman, Joe Hart, Shane Sibley, Joe Bell, Daniel Quiroga had the other tallies.