Brentwood boys hope to build off strong defense in 2015
The Brentwood boys’ soccer team wrapped up the 2014 season with a 3-9-1 overall record.
Despite the final results, Brentwood head coach Ron DiNardo was proud of the team members and pleased with their efforts on the field.
“Our section is really stacked,” DiNardo said. “At one time or another, four teams in our section were ranked in the top 5.”
Brentwood is a member of Section 3-A, along with Avonworth, Bishop Canevin, Carlynton, Chartiers-Houston, Eden Christian and Seton-La Salle.
Despite the tough schedule and disappointing results, DiNardo can find positive aspects of the Spartans’ season.
“We gave up, on average, only 3.5 points per game,” he said. “We don’t tolerate high-scoring games. We do anything to keep those scores down.”
Senior Andrew Gazzam was in goal again this year and was one of the reasons Brentwood was able to keep its defensive average low. Gazzam was a first team all-section player in 2013.
Senior Austin Harmon led the Spartans’ offensive efforts with seven goals this season. Harman and Gazzam were co-captains on this year’s team, along with seniors Nick Gall and Travis Nolla and junior Sam Belenis.
All the athletes on the squad contributed to the Spartans’ efforts this season, according to DiNardo.
Nolla and Gall were effective defenders all season.
“Nolla played everywhere, and Gall was pretty much all over the field too,” DiNardo said.
Gazzam’s twin brother, Matt, started as a midfielder/defenseman.
Senior Natalie Andrews was a starter at the stopper position. Andrews, who played in every game, was one of four girls on the team.
Shelby Stockline, a junior left winger, provided solid minutes off the bench. Junior Sabrina Stockline, Shelby’s younger sister, contributed at winger, as did junior defender Leah Mattola.
Junior defenders Luke O’Shea and Belenis also started along with senior Justin Mondry, a defenseman/midfielder.
Sophomores Cam Moir and Michael Lucas, and freshman Ryan Kelly, were among the starting underclassmen for the Spartans.
“They’re the kids we’ll be counting on next year,” DiNardo said.
Other contributors off the bench included juniors Luke Benedik and Alex Hernandez, sophomores Gino Graffia and Rian Way, and freshman prospects Jake Benedik and Derek Festa.
Although eight seniors will be lost to graduation this year, DiNardo expects to be competitive in 2015.
“We didn’t have much offense this year, but we were good defensively,” he said. “We convert these kids into strong defenders.
“We’ll be starting pretty much from scratch next year. It will be tough, but these kids are great.”
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.