A-K Valley boys soccer notebook: Kiski Area filling the net after finding identity
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | 7:58 PM
At some point during the season, each winning team starts to hit a stride that carries it on a successful run.
Since Sept. 28, the Kiski Area Cavaliers (10-2-1, 10-2) have been on a midseason run that not many teams can match.
Since defeating Woodland Hills, 7-0, Sean Arnold and his squad have only suffered one loss, a 1-0 overtime defeat at the hands of No. 3 Plum, and they’ve outscored their opponents 36-4 in their past eight games. Their offense is starting to operate efficiently and at a level than Kiski Area isn’t normally known for.
“I can’t tell you the last time that our goals-for was out of the 20s,” Arnold said. “This is a good thing, a new thing, and being so young, it’s exciting to see these kids play and put the ball in the net. It’s a good thing to see and watch.”
Kiski Area’s goal differential was at plus-46, meaning they’ve been operating pretty efficiently on the defensive end as well. So efficiently, in fact, that in their last eight games, they’ve recorded five shutouts and also held Plum scoreless in regular time before AJ Koma scored the game-winner in the first few minutes of overtime.
Arnold said early on this season that the Cavaliers were trying to find their identity before settling into the style of play that they liked to implement. Ever since then, they’ve found a rhythm and they’ve stuck with it.
“We tried different things and just tried to find our capabilities and what we could do well and what we don’t,” Arnold said. “In the second half of the season, we’ve found that identity, solidified our system of play, and it started with Plum. We knew they were a good team, and we’ve just kind of been playing that system since then and finding different ways to attack out of it.”
With 10 section wins this season, the Cavaliers have also matched their best section win total since 2012, when they finished 10-1-1 in section and made a run to the WPIAL quarterfinals.
Goose egg gang
Back on Sept. 28, the Plum Mustangs allowed then-No. 1 Franklin Regional to score just one goal in their section 4-3A contest. Since then, the Mustangs have put together a streak of five straight games without allowing a goal, pushing their shutout total to eight on the season.
During the five games in which they’ve outscored opponents 24-0, the Mustangs have beaten Kiski Area, Obama Academy, Penn Hills, Woodland Hills and West Mifflin. They finish off their regular season schedule with games against Gateway on Wednesday and Kiski Area on Saturday.
Pulling double duty
Soccer players moonlighting as football kickers has become common in the A-K Valley on Friday nights. Through this past Friday, three teams in the A-K Valley have had soccer players kick for them.
Springdale’s Matt Haus plays defense for the Dynamos undefeated soccer team during the week, but on Fridays, he’s providing the 4-1 football team with a dynamic weapon every time it crosses the 35-yard line.
Haus has converted 25 of his 26 PAT attempts and has made all six of his field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards. He’s also scored a goal and tallied two assists for the soccer team.
Apollo-Ridge junior Gavin Cole, who plays soccer for Leechburg as a part of a co-op agreement and has scored 13 goals, has taken over kicking duties for the Vikings this season. He’s made 23 of his 27 PAT attempts and also made his only field goal attempt of the season from 35 yards.
Cole’s soccer teammate Ryan Shaw has been kicking for the Blue Devils as well. He hasn’t attempted any field goals, but he’s made 12 of his 15 PAT attempts.
Two years in a row
The Springdale Dynamos shared the Section 3-A crown with Carlynton last year. The Dynamos lost to Carlynton in both of their regular season matchups, but the Cougars dropped two section contests to Riverview and Avonworth.
This season, the Dynamos wanted the section title all to themselves.
With a 6-1 win over Carlynton on Monday, the Dynamos snatched up the section title with an undefeated record of 8-0. It was their first outright section title since 2012 when they went 9-1. It is also the first time they’ve gone undefeated in section since 2011 when they went 10-0-2.
Deer Lakes and Shady Side Academy have been two of the top teams in Section 2-2A the last two seasons. Last year, the teams split their regular season matchups, and the Lancers took home the section title for the second straight season after Shady Side lost to Burrell and tied Freeport.
Heading into their second matchup of the season on Wednesday, Shady Side currently holds the top spot in the section with an undefeated record of 9-0. With a Deer Lakes win, the teams could split the section heading into the postseason.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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