BP’s Ruzzini named Almanac MVP
Bethel Park scoring whiz named MVP
Fast and determined define Tatiana Ruzzini, and those two attributes proved valuable assets for the Bethel Park girls’ soccer team.
“Tatiana changes the entire complexion of a match,” said Lady Hawks’ skipper Jonathan Gentile. “She increased the value of our team more than any other player (in the area).”
With Ruzzini on the front line of the assault, BP mowed down most of the competition in the WPIAL. The senior used her speed and single-mindedness to produce goals at a pace that few opponents could stop. She exploded for 26 goals and supplied nine assists as she led the Lady Hawks to the Final Four in the WPIAL for the second season in a row. BP finished 18-4-1 overall after falling in double-overtime to Seneca Valley, 1-0, in the PIAA tournament.
“Tatiana has been a workhorse for us and she created opportunities out of nothing,” Gentile said. “She made amazing runs all season.”
Run is what Ruzzini does best, and she has her father to thank for that, as well as her ‘can-do’ attitude.
Renato Ruzzini was born in Germany and moved to the United States as a youth. He played soccer at Bethel Park. He, too, was a speedy forward. However, during his junior year, he suffered an injury and lost vision in one eye.
“I get my speed from my dad,” said the 17-year-old daughter of Robin Ruzzini. “He was my first coach, too. So, I’ve learned everything I know from him.
“But,” she added that when she sees how he copes with his personal challenges, “that motivates me.”
Since she started playing for the Bethel Park Recreation Soccer Association some 13 years ago, Ruzzini has honed her shooting. She continued to sharpen her skills by playing for the Steel Town Magic, her club team.
“My strength is my speed but I need to improve my shot,” she said candidly. “At times it can be good but you can always improve.”
It’s difficult, however, for Ruzzini to improve her uncanny creativity on offense.
“Tatiana has a knack for finding the ball and creating chances,” Gentile said. “She has been a workhorse for us and created opportunities out of nothing.”
Ruzzini’s playmaking skills have enabled BP to capture bronze medals in back-to-back WPIAL tournaments, rack up 90 goals while holding the opposition to only eight tallies. Plus, the Lady Hawks recorded some signature wins for the program, including this year’s 3-2 victory against Peters Township. During that regular season triumph against the three-time PIAA state champion, Ruzzini scored twice, including the game-winning goal.
“Beating Peters Township was the highlight,” admitted Ruzzini. “They are always good competition.”
Even in defeat, Ruzzini added, it’s good to play the Lady Indians, who finished as WPIAL runner-up this season, falling both times to Seneca Valley. In the district semifinals, PT avenged its earlier loss to BP, scoring a victory via a shootout.
“It was disappointing not getting to the WPIAL finals,” said Ruzzini, who did not participate in the penalty kicks portion of that overtime loss. “(Peters Township) wanted the game to go into PKs because they were better at them. Plus, their goalkeeper (Megan Parker) made phenomenal plays for them, too.”
Ruzzini never second-guessed her coach’s decision not to list her as one of the shooters during the penalty kicks. “Coach picked who he thought would make them,” she said. She added, “she hoped” she would have made her shot had she been selected. “You don’t think that way. You don’t think of not making it when you step to the line.”
Although she and her teammates have no medals or trophies to show for their successes this season as well as last year, Ruzzini nonetheless believes 18-4-1 was a good year.
“We were successful even though we did not win a WPIAL championship to prove it,” she said. “We were in both games (with Peters and Seneca Valley). Even,” she added, noting how each outcome was decided in overtime.
On the track, as well as on the pitch, nobody runs even with Ruzzini. In addition to soccer, the diminutive forward participates in track for Bethel Park. In addition to being at the core of the Lady Hawks’ relay action, she long jumps and hurdles. As in soccer, she’s a four-year letterwinner in track and a WPIAL qualifier.
In the classroom, Ruzzini also zooms past the competition. She maintains a 4.2 GPA. She will major in business while playing soccer at Washington and Jefferson College next fall.
“I like taking hard classes,” Ruzzini explained of her courses such as Calculus. “I like to push myself.”
That motivation, not to mention that speed, enabled Ruzzini to take this year’s top soccer honor. She has been named 2013 Almanac Most Valuable Player for girls’ soccer.
“This definitely caps my season,” she said. “It’s exciting but definitely unexpected. Other people who I played against are just as deserving.
“Other people could represent the honor as well,” she continued. “But since I have the distinction, it’s exciting. I am proud to represent soccer in this area.”
Tatiana Ruzzini File
Parents: Renato & Robin
Siblings: Renato, 20; Sergio, 19
School: Bethel Park
Favorite class: Calculus
Best teacher: Donald Howard. He was a former football and wrestling coach as well as science teacher. “Science wasn’t one of my favorite classes but Mr. Howard did a great job explaining it to his students. He was also able to relate to the students the best.”
College choice: Washington and Jefferson College
Major: Business. “Since I like math, then maybe accounting.”
Favorite food: Homemade spaghetti noodles.
Best Pizza: Fiore’s. Of course nothing is better than what you get in Italy. Nothing compares to that.
Pump-up Music: Eminen.
Movie: Crazy Stupid Love
TV show: Full House
Best book: The Great Gatsby
People might be surprised to know this about you? When they see my size and find out I long jump and hurdle.
On the bucket list: Learn Italian. “So when I can go back to Italy, then I can talk to my relatives in their own language.”
Who you would like to meet in history? George Washington. In person today? Alex Morgan.
What’s on your Christmas list? Shoes. I love shoes and boots.
Holiday tradition: Celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.