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Mt. Lebanon’s Batteer finishes his dominant WPIAL career

Pittsburgh boys soccer player of the year

Zach Batteer, Mt. Lebanon: Senior, Forward

He never got to play in Hershey — the site of the PIAA soccer championships — but there was very little about the career of Mt. Lebanon’s Zach Batteer that wasn’t sweet.

In his four seasons, Batteer was among the most dominant players in the WPIAL. He saved his best year for last, finishing this past season with a personal-best 28 goals and 12 assists.

That individual success didn’t translate into team success this year — Mt. Lebanon was upset in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA playoffs — but he still won a WPIAL title with the Blue Devils in 2009.

Leaving high school with 72 career goals, Batteer has a bright future, too. He’ll be heading west next fall to play Division I soccer at Stanford.

Q: Pittsburgh and the West Coast are pretty different from each other. Are you looking forward to the change of scenery and culture?

A: I grew up in California until I was 12, but I think it was really good coming out here. You get to experience the best of both worlds and the East Coast for what it is. But I’m really excited to go back out there.

Q: If you could grade the career you had at Mt. Lebanon, what would you give it?

A: I’d still give it an A. Individually, I did everything I set out for, I had a really good time and enjoyed my teammates, and I guess that’s what it’s about.

Q: What is the most memorable game you played in the past four years?

A: The WPIAL championship last year … the way we won in overtime was pretty memorable.

Q: Were you surprised by your success in your high school career?

A: I don’t know if you can ever expect this kind of success. I always expect myself to do well, whether it’s school or athletics. But if I can put in the effort that’s necessary for me to succeed, I know I’d be able to do these things.

Q: What are some of your favorite sports outside of soccer?

A: Until freshman year, I played basketball and baseball. I wish I could still play some of them, but it is what it is.

Q: When you’re not playing soccer, you are…

A: This year, I’m hanging out with my friends. If you’d have caught me last year, it was probably doing schoolwork.

Q: With no state title this season, have you been able to put the playoff loss behind you?

A: I’ve gotten over it. It was tough the first couple of days because you know you’re so close, and you don’t get anything out of it. … You can’t look back with regrets.

greensburg boys soccer player of the year

Jordan Redfield, Belle Vernon: Senior, Forward

Because he’s home-schooled, Jordan Redfield doesn’t have the typical daily routine of a student. After class every day, though, he’s at Belle Vernon High School practicing with the soccer team.

What he did on the field was extraordinary. He led the Leopards to their first-ever appearance in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals. He also helped Belle Vernon defeat perennial contender South Park for a spot in the state playoffs, where the Leopards earned their first-ever PIAA victory.

He was named to the all-WPIAL team and is receiving attention from several small college programs in the area, including St. Vincent and La Roche.

Q: Being home-schooled, is it difficult to get recruited?

A: I don’t think so because most of that comes from playing on the club teams and how you sell yourself to coaches. It’s all about how you promote yourself because it’s not like the school does anything for you. You can cite your high school stats and stuff, but, beyond that, I don’t think the school has anything to do with it.

Q: What has it been like being home-schooled, especially socially•

A: My older brother went up to Belle Vernon for his senior year, and I was real close to doing that because I’m real close to a lot of guys on the soccer team. They wanted me to do it, and I was real close. Socially, it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me. I don’t know everyone at the school, but I have a lot of friends from the school, and we hang out. I don’t think it affects me as to how I am socially — it’s more like the soccer players and their friends that I’m close to.

Q: What was it like to be a part of the first Belle Vernon team to go to the WPIAL semifinals and state playoffs?

A: It was amazing. The goal for my class was to leave as the best Belle Vernon class ever, and I feel like, not only did we do it, we set the bar at a whole ‘nother level because no one else has ever made it past the second round of the WPIAL, let alone states. It was definitely a huge achievement, and it was special to be part of that team.

Q: What was the one moment that stood out for you?

A: It’s hard because there were a lot of defining moments, but I would have to say beating South Park in the consolation game to go to states. We knew we had to do that to keep our season going, and we knew they were the favorites because they’ve gone to states for the last five years.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not playing soccer?

A: I play piano. I’m a pretty avid pianist, and I’m better at piano than soccer.

Q: What’s tougher, playing a sonata or scoring a goal?

A: For me, scoring a goal is harder because piano has always come easy to me. I’m into soccer, and if I put as much time into piano as I have into soccer, I’d be ridiculous. Soccer is tougher, but I enjoy them both immensely.

Q: Do you want to go into music as a career?

A: That would be a dream come true, and it’s tough to make that decision to go all-out for music, but it is a bit of an out-there field and an investment for college for sure. But I enjoy music, and I could definitely see me doing that for the rest of my life.

Boys soccer all-stars

Jim Belack, Upper St. Clair: Senior, Forward

Notable: Scored 11 goals and six assists. Helped the Panthers to a 15-victory season and WPIAL quarterfinal appearance. Earned all-WPIAL and all-state honors.

Ryan Byers, Southmoreland: Senior, Midfielder

Notable: Finished the regular season with 16 goals before earning all-WPIAL and all-state honors. Led a talented Scotties team to a Section 3-AA title and a 15-victory season.

Justin Carter, Hampton: Sophomore, Forward

Notable: A rising star with great speed and a big future. Scored seven goals in the WPIAL playoffs, aiding the Talbots’ drive to the Class AA title. Had two scores in the championship game against Mars.

Brandon Peck, Central Catholic: Senior, Defender

Notable: Took all-state honors this season, along with becoming a two-time all-section and all-WPIAL pick. Scored seven goals and 15 assists for the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up.

Alex Perri, Mars: Senior, Midfielder

Notable: Excellent two-way player for the Planets and an all-WPIAL selection. A 10-goal scorer who had 15 assists for the WPIAL Class AA runner-up.

Dan Szekely, Greensburg Central Catholic: Senior, Forward

Notable: WPIAL’s second-leading scorer in the regular season, with 41 goals, and had four scores in the postseason. Led Centurions to Section 1-A title and WPIAL runner-up finish.

Parker Ulrich, Peters Township: Senior, Goalkeeper

Notable: One of the best goaltenders in the region with a potential Division I future. Recorded 14 shutouts, including one in the WPIAL Class AAA championship.

Stefano Wach, Hampton: Senior, Defender

Notable: All-WPIAL selection was a leader on a defense that gave up an average of less than a goal per game. Helped Hampton win Section 2-AA and its first WPIAL championship since 1990, and reach the state title game.

Matt Walbert, South Park: Senior, Midfielder

Notable: A Pitt recruit who was named all-WPIAL four times and all-state twice, including this season. Had 13 goals and 15 assists this fall to bring his career totals to 41 goals and 56 assists.


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