Alle-Kiski Valley high school notebook: Zolnierczyk named player of year

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 | 10:30 PM

Mike Zolnierczyk shut down most of what came his way from Springdale’s opponents this fall, and opposing coaches apparently took notice.

WPIAL coaches recently voted Zolnierczyk, Springdale’s star senior goalkeeper, Class A boys soccer player of the year after he backstopped the Dynamos to the WPIAL semifinals.

“It feels great that all the time and work is paying off here,” Zolnierczyk said. “I wouldn’t have been able to get there without my teammates or the guys in front of me. It’s not an individual title for a goalie to get. That’s a whole team accomplishment there.”

Springdale’s stinginess propelled the Dynamos much of the season: They allowed eight goals in 20 games, finishing second in Section 3-A and finishing within one victory of a second straight PIAA tournament appearance.

The 6-foot-4 Zolnierczyk, a four-year starter, finished the season with 14 shutouts. Only twice did Springdale (15-4-1) allow more than one goal in a game.

“(The award) does mean a lot being from coaches instead of some other avenue,” said Zolnierczyk, who also was named the section’s player of the year and made the all-WPIAL team. “It really validates it. They voted for you, they believed in you, and they kind of saw what kind of player and person you are. They thought I deserved it. I put a lot of time and work into it, and my teammates really helped me out this season in the back and the midfield.”

Zolnierczyk, who holds scholarship offers from Harvard and Robert Morris, played for the Class A team in last weekend’s Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All-Star Game at Fox Chapel.

Deer Lakes goalkeeper Jesse Greyshock played for the Class AA team in the games, which recognize standout senior soccer players in the WPIAL.

Heaven sent

Valley’s girls soccer program remains young compared to some of the others in the Alle-Kiski Valley, but senior Heaven Butler made history for the Vikings this fall.

Butler, a forward and Valley’s leading scorer, was named an all-section player in Section 2-AA. It was her third all-section selection, making her the first player in Valley history to earn that distinction.

Coffman building

Burrell senior softball player Lea Coffman recently made her college decision, committing to Gannon.

The Bucs’ starting catcher and cleanup hitter last season, Coffman batted .500, leading the Bucs with five home runs and adding 22 RBIs to help the team reach the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals for a second consecutive season. She was named a first-team Valley News Dispatch All-Star.

Apollo mission

Apollo-Ridge will host “Rally at the Ridge” for its boys and girls basketball teams at 7 p.m. Friday in the high school gymnasium.

The community pep rally will include introduction of the Vikings’ players and coaches, plus shooting contests, games, cheerleader performances, selfies with players, prizes and more. There is no cost to attend.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at [email protected] or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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