Burrell girls soccer in top form heading into tough stretch of games
Thursday, September 29, 2022 | 8:29 PM
The Bucs haven’t lost since.
They are 5-0-1 over their past six games. They have bolstered their playoff resume and also put themselves in strong standing for one of the section’s four automatic WPIAL berths.
“These next couple of games are definitely what we need right now as we look down the road and into the playoffs,” said sophomore midfielder Miley Kariotis, who leads the team with eight goals and is second to fellow sophomore midfielder Maggie Nesko with seven assists.
“We are so focused on our practices. We came out (Thursday) to practice with a lot of energy. We have high hopes for the next couple of weeks.”
Nesko owns a team-best eight helpers for the Bucs, who improved to 7-2-2 overall and 5-2-1 in section play with Wednesday’s 5-2 victory over Highlands. Nestled in the six-game unbeaten streak is a 1-0 nonsection win over a South Park team which is 9-3 overall and undefeated in Section 4-2A at 6-0.
“They are kind of the monkey on our backs,” Burrell coach Frank Nesko said. “We’ve never beaten them.”
The Bucs can clinch no worse than fourth place in the section and a spot in the WPIAL playoffs for the seventh year in a row with a win against Freeport (9-0, 6-0).
The Yellowjackets shut out Burrell, 2-0, when the teams met at Freeport on Sept. 7.
“I don’t think we have to change anything schematically from the first game,” coach Nesko said. “We just have to be ready to play.”
“Miley has really raised her game this season,” coach Nesko said. “We try to run a lot through her and have asked her to do a ton, and she’s held up so far.”
Coach Nesko said senior Ali Hughes has played at a high level all season as she splits time between her duties in goal and in the midfield.
“Last year was a season where Ali was asked to do so much in goal just to keep us in games,” he said. “Going into this year, I was hoping that if we could be stout from forward to the back line and not give up so many quality chances to the other team, we were going to roll the dice with Ali in the field.
“And we’ve seen a lot of improvement from our backup goalie, (sophomore) Dana (Barczykowski). She’s young still, but I don’t think there is anyone who is Ali Hughes in goal.”
Coach Nesko pointed to a save made by Hughes in net against Knoch in Monday’s 0-0 tie that went a long way to helping Burrell earn a valuable point in the section standings.
“That save she made on a rocket shot from Macrina Robb she had no business making, but she made it,” coach Nesko said. “It was pure athleticism. She came out of nowhere, got a hand on it and punched it out. She is such an irreplaceable player. I keep telling her that I wish I had two of her.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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