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Baldwin’s Vertullo has ‘knack’ for ringing up goals

Austin Vertullo led the Baldwin boys’ soccer team in scoring this year, and ranked among the WPIAL’s top offensive players.

Vertullo netted 19 goals and 9 assists, leading the Highlanders to a 10-7-1 overall record. The senior forward also led the team in scoring last year with 17 goals and 5 assists.

“Austin just has a knack for the goal,” Adam Obranovich, Baldwin’s head coach, said. “He scored a lot of goals for us in two years. His scoring is going to be very hard to replace.

“He didn’t have the best foot skills and he wasn’t the fastest kid on the field, he just always found a way to the goal. Other teams had to worry about him when he was on the ball.”

Two other leading scorers for Baldwin were senior forward Belmo Nurkic, with 10 goals and 9 assists, and sophomore forward Anoj Sharma, who added 9 goals and 8 assists.

Nurkic filled in for goalkeeper Brandon Thompson last season when Thompson was out with injuries.

“Belmo is what I call a soccer geek,” Obranovich said. “He lives for the game, plays at every chance he gets, and he watches the games from Europe on TV.

“He was a great leader for his teammates; someone they could look up to.”

Thompson, a senior, registered all 10 wins for the Highlanders this year, posting five shutouts in the process.

Baldwin ended up 6-6 in Section 4-AAA, tied for fourth place. The Highlanders started out slowly, going 1-3-1 before reeling off wins against Ringgold, Penn Hills and McKeesport.

Three losses in section play followed, until the Highlanders secured six victories in their final seven games.

“We got hot at the wrong time,” Obranovich said. “We were leading by a goal in five of the seven games we ended up losing this year.

“We’re disappointed, but the final stretch showed us promise for next year. We are only losing four senior starters. A lot of guys gained valuable experience that will help for next season.”

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or [email protected].


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