Loaded lineup makes Shady Aspect Academy the crew to beat in WPIAL Class 2A soccer


Saturday, September 18, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Though Shady Aspect Academy fell quick in final 12 months’s WPIAL Class 2A boys soccer title sport towards Deer Lakes, the Bulldogs are loaded and prepared for a return run.

Shady Aspect misplaced to Deer Lakes, 2-1, with the Lancers successful on penalty kicks, 3-2.

Ordinarily, a WPIAL runner-up end would put Shady Aspect within the PIAA event, however a diminished bracket brought on by the coronavirus pandemic ended the season at 14-3 total and solely Deer Lakes moved on.

However the Bulldogs are again, and with solely Gunnar Pipitone and the goalkeeping duo of Zach Conti and Bruce David graduating, optimism prevails.

“We deliver again so many gamers that continuity is a giant factor,” stated Shady Aspect coach Ed Ellsworth. “We are able to hit the bottom working, and that’s enormous for our development.”

And hit the bottom working they did, with a season-opening 11-1 rout over Derry.

Shady Aspect started the season atop the Trib HSSN Class 2A rankings.

Again within the Navy blue and gold is senior Sam Farner, one of many WPIAL’s prime gamers who has dedicated to Liberty College.

Huge issues are additionally anticipated from fellow senior midfielder Joey Anania.

Defenders Owen Martens and Eli Naughton are additionally again for his or her senior seasons together with sophomore midfielders Koven Johnson and Drew McKim.

Mentioned Ellsworth: “McKim obtained a penalty kick within the finals for us final 12 months as a freshman. That epic sport and others certain offers us loads of playoff expertise.”

Alternating two sterling goalkeepers labored for Shady Aspect final season, so there could be extra of the identical this 12 months with junior Parker Mendham and senior Will Badeer.

“The crew has confidence in them, they usually each have a fantastic work ethic,” Ellsworth stated.

The Bulldogs have made the WPIAL playoffs every of the final 10 seasons and have appeared in 4 WPIAL title video games within the final 5 seasons. Shady Aspect received all of it in 2017 and ‘18, each below Ellsworth, a former soccer participant at Pine-Richland and LaRoche College.

In keeping with Ellsworth, the key to the college’s excellent soccer success through the years is summed up in three phrases: dedication to excellence.

And it begins on the prime.

“I maintain myself to a excessive normal of championship soccer,” Ellsworth stated. “The gamers are pushed to dwell as much as the outcomes of earlier groups, and we’re all the time ready.”

Even with the No. 1 rating to begin the season, the Bulldogs are taking nothing with no consideration.

“We’ve got a brilliant rivalry with Deer Lakes the previous few seasons,” Ellsworth stated. “We consider they’re the champs till they’re crushed, similar if we had been the champs. We’ve got to get by means of our part in the beginning earlier than we begin worrying in regards to the Quaker Valleys and the South Parks.”

Ellsworth additionally believes part foes Burrell and Leechburg are up-and-coming packages.

Assistant coaches this 12 months will once more be Nate Verbanets, Jerry Hare and junior varsity coach Devon Renock. Joe Palmer additionally joins the employees this season.

One other key matchup is the Oct. 9 sport towards The Kiski Faculty, as a part of Shady Aspect’s homecoming weekend, the place plenty of sporting occasions happen concurrently.

The Bulldogs and Cougars return to the times when each had been members of the Interstate Prep League.

Tags: Shady Aspect Academy