Baldwin boys soccer takes it step by step

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Friday, September 6, 2019 | 8:04 PM


Success for the Baldwin boys soccer team appears to be a step-by-step process.

“We have a very talented but inexperienced team,” second-year coach Dave Zinski said. “We are replacing six starters from last year due to graduation. While many of the players who have stepped into starting roles played some varsity last year, this will be their first experience as starters.

“Last year’s expectation was to make every game competitive, which I believe we did. Now this year, our expectation is that we will take the next step to not only be competitive but win more of those close games.”

Baldwin, which finished 6-10-1 last season, has not had a winning record since 2014 and has not advanced to the WPIAL playoffs since 2011.

Two key players for the Highlanders this season are returning starters Pasi Oswald and Ray Thomas, both senior midfielders.

“They have stepped up as leaders,” Zinski said. “Both are really hard workers who are not necessarily vocal leaders, but they lead by example with their play and work ethic.”

Zinski hopes Oswald and Thomas will be complemented by junior forward Joey Moeller and junior defender Kurt Schemm.

“They have stepped into the more vocal leading role,” Zinski said. “Joey was the team’s leading goal scorer last season. Kurt has had a steady presence on defense and is someone we can always count on to make the right play in the back.”

Moeller scored five goals in a section game last season against Brashear, leading the Highlanders to an 8-1 victory.

Other players for Baldwin include seniors Adam Goldsboro, Thar Hsern and Michael Rector, juniors Ricky Bandola, Tai Guzzi, Joey Kosslow, Bibas Rai and Zack Stewart, and sophomores Niraj Thapa and Cole Thomas.

Also hoping to make an impact are seniors Chiyanzu Dilamonu, Sujan Dangal, Jay Mwete and Tyler Zeman, and juniors Fletcher Hindman, John Mainarich, George Makhoul, Michael Sabo and Anthony Williams.

Top freshmen include Jeffrey Jatto, Josh Knight, Bobby Kosslow and Aziz Yumouh.

To be successful this year, Zinski said the Highlanders need to focus on tasks and outwork their opponents.

“Our team philosophy is that we need to win the little battles throughout every game, the 50-50 balls, the one-on-one battles,” he said, “and we have to constantly outwork the other team. We are always preaching that soccer is not that complicated of a sport, and that we need to play simple. There is no reason to overcomplicate the game.”

Baldwin was in playoff contention heading into the second half of last season only to lose its final five games. The Highlanders went scoreless in four of those games and were shut out eight times overall.

Baldwin registered two shutouts last season but allowed only 28 goals. The Highlanders scored 26 goals.

Baldwin is a member of Section 2-4A with Bethel Park, Brashear, Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair.

USC is the defending section champion, finishing 10-1-1, just ahead of Canon-McMillan at 10-2.

Baldwin, which opened its season Aug. 30 in the annual Intersection Tournament at Chartiers Valley, will play all games in September on the road.

The schedule was set up accordingly in case of delays in the stadium turf project.

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