Kiski Area turns to youth for success
Kiski Area’s girls soccer team has been drinking from a fountain of youth this season.
The Lady Cavaliers’ health — and their record — are much improved.
Coming off an injury-ravaged season, Kiski Area has revitalized itself with a starting lineup of mostly freshmen and sophomores.
The Lady Cavaliers are 6-4 in Section 3-AAA and 7-4-1 overall.
Last season, they limped to marks of 3-11, 7-11.
Staying healthy has been a key to the team’s success, Kiski Area head coach Tim Sharek said.
At times in 2002, the Lady Cavaliers were missing more than half of their starting lineup because of injuries.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Sharek said. “We’ve been a lot luckier staying away from injuries this year.”
By coincidence, Kiski Area also is using a much younger lineup. Only one senior and two juniors are starters.
The team’s top four scorers Emily Mann (10 goals), Viann Heder (7), Krista Jones (5) and Lindsay Plowman (4) are freshmen or sophomores. Goalkeeper Kristen Jeffries, who recorded her first shutout on Monday, also is a freshman.
Jeffries is small for a goalkeeper, being about five feet in height, according to Sharek. However, he has no doubts she is the right player for the role.
“She doesn’t blink when the ball comes at her,” Sharek said. “She will challenge teams on breakaways. She’s won an awful lot of them. We wouldn’t have the record we have without her.”
Kiski Area still is within striking distance of the WPIAL playoffs, but the youngsters face a grueling schedule to close the season. Their final four section games are against the teams they lost to the first time around.
“We’re hoping for a couple of wins,” Sharek said. “That would be a step in the right direction.”
And another boost for a promising young team.
VND Fab 5 rankings
For Alle-Kiski Valley teams
1. Fox Chapel (6-2-3).
2. Freeport (8-2-1).
3. Plum (8-6-1).
4. Kiski Area (7-4-1).
5. Knoch (5-5-3).
Top local scorers
As reported by local head coaches
Player School Goals
Lacey Cochran, Freeport 13
P.J. Abels, Knoch 10
Emily Mann, Kiski Area 10
Davena Monstrola, Riverview 10
Maurielle Blake, Freeport 8
Molly Linhart, Fox Chapel 8
Viann Heder, Kiski Area 7
Jennifer Kalkstein, Burrell 7
Rachel Yuhas, Riverview 7
Olivia Hess, Freeport 6
Candice Snyder, Highlands 6
Lauren Hatfield, Deer Lakes 5
Krista Jones, Kiski Area 5
Amy Kanzic, Highlands 5
Erin Pettit, Knoch 5
Abby Stein, Riverview 5
Mia Yannotti, Plum 5
11 tied with four goals.