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Soccer a release for Sewickley Academy grad Civitarese

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, November 26, 2014 12:01 a.m

When Albert Civitarese got to Washington and Lee University in the fall of 2011, he learned very quickly the importance of time management.

As a biology pre-med major, the 2011 graduate of Sewickley Academy knew that much of his time would be devoted to his studies, but he also had a large time commitment as a member of the men’s soccer team.

Luckily, the faculty at Washington and Lee — an NCAA Division III school — were understanding of the demands that in-season athletes face, especially for freshmen, Civitarese said.

“They really made the transition bearable and easy to overcome,” he said. “But as I say that, there were times where the night would end at 2 a.m. and I’d be up at 8 a.m. to meet with a professor at office hours.”

Now in his senior year, Civitarese said he credits his time at Sewickley Academy for giving him a leg up on some of his teammates when it came to learning how to balance his time between academics and athletics.

While the time-share was difficult to manage at first, having soccer in his schedule became an important aspect of balancing his life, he said.

“Some of the people I talked to have described college as a time for academics, athletics and social life.” Civitarese said. “I always knew that when I needed a release, I could find it in soccer, whether it was for practice or training. I always looked at is as a release to get away from the academics for a few hours.”

On the field, he took full advantage of that release and started in goal for the Generals from his sophomore year on after serving in a backup role as a freshman.

During Civitarese’s three seasons as a starter, the Generals had a record of 32-12-10 with 27 shutouts and reached the semifinals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament each year.

It took some time for Civitarese to adjust to playing his position on the collegiate level, but once he learned to trust his 6-foot-3 frame, his confidence in challenging shots and controlling play in the box blossomed, along with his play.

He was forced to make adjustments as a senior as well when first-year coach Michael Singleton implemented a new attacking offense, transitioning away from the pack it in style of play the Generals had been playing in recent years.

“The biggest thing was to be on the same page as my defenders, and they made my life pretty easy,” Civitarese said. “Although there weren’t a higher number of shots, the quality of chances I faced was much higher. It wasn’t necessarily an adjustment, but every game I went into I had to keep that in mind. The goals that were scored on me were very rarely a defensive breakdown, but rather the ball fell their way.”

In Civitarese’s final season, the Generals were eliminated in the ODAC semifinals in a 5-1 loss to Roanoke College.

As he transitions into a season of applying to grad schools, he carries with him much more than just the memories of his time as a collegiate athlete.

“Playing a sport in both high school and college teaches you a lot of values that you may not appreciate until it comes to interviewing and things like that,” Civitarese said. “It’s invaluable for not only professional but personal life. It’s been something that I look forward to each and every day. To have something that can distract you from the academic difficulties and other challenges you may face is something that I’ve come to really appreciate.”

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at ghorvath@tribweb.com or via Twitter @GHorvath_Trib.

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