After untimely end to last season, Quaker Valley boys soccer driven to reign again

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Sunday, September 12, 2021 | 10:01 AM


Quaker Valley boys soccer is synonymous with success.

As is second-year coach J.J. Veshio, a longtime assistant in the program.

Veshio guided then-defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 2A champ Quaker Valley to an 11-1-1 record last season, as the Quakers outscored the opposition 114-8 and had three double-digit scorers.

Unfortunately, QV became the biggest postseason omission in WPIAL boys soccer when the Panthers pulled out of the playoffs over coronavirus concerns.

Two school buildings were closed after a covid-19 outbreak in the district, and the decision was made before the start of the playoffs to shut down all QV athletic teams for two weeks.

“I’m very proud of how this team has responded to our early exit last year,” Veshio said.

“We are very focused and determined to be the best possible team we can be and hope to continue the rich legacy of this program.

“From our athletic director to our trainer to our parents and through our team’s players and coaches, we love this program and want to make it something very special this year.”

Veshio played soccer at QV from 1999-2002 for Hall of Fame coach Gene Klein and was a part of PIAA and WPIAL championship and PIAA runner-up squads.

Veshio returned to QV as an assistant in 2008, then was tapped to lead the program in 2020 when Andrew Marshall stepped down after five years at the helm.

“Our expectations and goals are the same every year,” Veshio said. “We want to open the season strongly with a solid preseason and perform well in the East-West Classic tournament. From there, we want to win the section, hopefully going undefeated, then qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.

“A WPIAL championship, PIAA berth and PIAA championship are always on our goal sheet and expected.”

Veshio welcomed nine starters back from last year’s squad, including the following seniors: forwards Rowan Kriebel and Kellen Auth, midfielders Keller Chamovitz, Ryan Edwards and Wil Dunda and defender Blaise Burns.

Isaac Waller is the returning starter at the goalkeeper position, as is Ben Henry on defense. Both are juniors. The ninth starter back is Nick Allan, a sophomore defender.

Kriebel, a third-year starter and fourth-year letterman, expects QV to have a strong showing in section play, especially defensively.

“My early expectations are that we win each game and improve with each game,” he said. “I think if our team keeps going in the direction we are, and we all stay healthy, we will have a good chance of winning states and WPIALs in 2A — making up for the unfortunate events of last year.”

Burns, Allan, senior Jhon-Fredy Krebs and junior Colin Wood will team up on defense in front of Waller in the early stages of this season.

“Those four have been fantastic in minimizing goal-scoring opportunities,” Veshio said, “and they are making things much easier for our goalkeeper.”

Five of top six scorers on last year’s squad have returned this fall.

“Our strength is always the commitment from the players to better themselves through hard work and dedication,” Veshio said, “which will in turn produce a positive result on the field for the team.”

Ranked second in Class 2A by TribLive HSSN — mirroring 2020’s preseason — the Quakers quickly made their presence known Sept. 3-4 in the East-West Classic, an event that matches up top teams from both halves of the state. QV blanked Fleetwood, 4-0, and ran past Exeter Township, 5-1.

Chamovitz netted a hat trick against Fleetwood while Kriebel contributed three assists. Sophomore forward Cameron Diggins also scored for QV, and Waller made five saves.

Kriebel had a hat trick against Exeter Township; Edwards tallied a goal and three assists.

“We traditionally do not do well in this tournament,” Veshio said, “but we schedule it to show us what we need to improve upon and what the standard is around the state. Considering we won 4-0 and 5-1, we are very satisfied with how things started. We can always improve, though, and know we could have performed even better. It’s a great start leading into section play.”

At Quaker Valley, success breeds success.

Sparked by offensive standouts Fritz Reiter, Franky Fernandez and Dom Reiter, QV captured its ninth WPIAL title and eighth PIAA crown in school history in 2019. The Quakers went 8-0 in the postseason to finish 24-2 overall.

Quaker Valley compiled a 94-21-4 composite record from 2015-19 and added a WPIAL championship in 2016 and a PIAA title in 2017. QV was a WPIAL runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and a PIAA runner-up in 2016.

The Quakers also were undefeated section champions — 44-0 — from 2016-2019.

This season, there are 40 players in the program, including 13 seniors, nine juniors, eight sophomores and 10 freshmen. And the numbers were high the five previous years with 41, 43, 39, 42 and 45 athletes in the program.

Along with the strong corps of returning starters this year, others hoping to help to create a buzz for QV early in the season include Diggins, freshman midfielder Carter Turk and sophomore forward Bennett Haas.

“Cameron Diggins has been getting minutes in the midfield,” Veshio said, “and Carter Turk is also getting playing time, as some of our players are hurt. Both of those players, along with Bennett Haas, have been really strong underclassmen who are the future of this program, and a part of the present.”

Veshio is the son of longtime Quaker Valley football and track coach Jerry Veshio, who also served as athletic director.

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