Deer Lakes’ Michael Sullivan chosen Valley News Dispatch Boys Soccer Player of the Year

Saturday, November 28, 2020 | 6:36 PM

Valley News Dispatch Boys Soccer Player of the Year

Michael Sullivan

Sr., F, Deer Lakes

When Deer Lakes senior Mike Sullivan stepped onto a soccer field, he typically drew the attention of two or three defenders.

Anytime an opposing coach revealed a gameplan, either going into a game or afterward, it usually focused on Sullivan, whether they were trying to stop him or just slow him down.

That was the reputation the fleet-footed striker created over the past three years as he led the Lancers to their first PIAA and WPIAL championship appearances.

His senior year was different though.

The two-time Valley News Dispatch Boys Soccer Player of the Year was on a mission. He, along with his teammates, wanted to leave their mark on the Deer Lakes program, a goal they had been shooting for since eighth grade.

“We went and watched the boys team play in the playoffs that year, and they lost to South Park,” Sullivan said. “One of the biggest things we took away from that was that we were going to make it further than that team ever did, and we did.”

During his senior year, Sullivan scored 22 goals, tallied 11 assists, was the WPIAL Class 2A Player of the Year and earned all-state honors in leading the Lancers to their first WPIAL title and a trip to the PIAA championship game for the second time in three years.

When the Lancers reached the biggest stages, Sullivan stepped to the occasion.

After Shady Side Academy scored to go ahead 1-0 in the WPIAL championship game, Sullivan answered with one of the best goals of his career — a left-footed banana ball from the left side of the 18 that wrapped into the right-side netting.

Then, as opponents grew more aware of him in the state playoffs, he facilitated several assists that created winning opportunities.

He left a significant mark on the Deer Lakes program, which was something he wanted to do, but he would be the first to say he did not do it alone.

When he would draw those double and triple teams, his teammates finished off a pass or his coach, Dan Yates, worked up a way to get him away from the extra defenders. Sullivan enjoyed doing that just as much as putting the ball into the back of the net.

“That was what made this year’s Deer Lakes team so great,” Sullivan said. “Even when one of us was being picked up or double- and triple-teamed and wasn’t as productive, we had other kids who were able to step up and contribute.”

“Family” is a word that comes up a lot around the Deer Lakes boys soccer team. It was something former coach Jordan Wiegand instilled in the players during their run to the PIAA championship game in 2018, and it is something Sullivan and his classmates have tried to pass down to the younger players since.

“Years from now when I tell my kids about this, that’s what I’m going to remember,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to remember the family that was this Deer Lakes boys soccer team.”


First team

Bryson Andrews

Sr., D, Springdale

The Dynamos sweeper and All-WPIAL selection helped Springdale to five shutouts, a Section 3-1A title and a WPIAL semifinal appearance.

Anders Bordoy

So., F, Kiski Area

An All-WPIAL selection as a sophomore, Bordoy had 14 goals and 12 assists in leading the Cavaliers to a playoff appearance.

DD Flowers

Sr., F, Plum

The All-WPIAL forward led the Mustangs with 13 goals and seven assists as they finished 13-2 and captured a share of the Section 4-3A title.

Jake Guerrini

Sr., F, Burrell

The top forward for the Bucs, Guerrini scored 18 goals and tallied five assists to help Burrell earn a second consecutive WPIAL playoff berth.

Clayton Humbert

Sr., GK, Fox Chapel

The Foxes recorded 10 shutouts this season, and Humbert was a big part of that between the posts.

Will Lawrence

Fr., F, Springdale

Lawrence led the Dynamos with 20 goals and also tallied four assists. He had a pair of four-goal games.

Nate Lazzara

Sr., F, Fox Chapel

An All-WPIAL and all-state selection, Lazzara tallied 12 goals and 15 assists as Fox Chapel earned a WPIAL semifinal berth.

Devin Murray

Sr., MF, Deer Lakes

An All-WPIAL and all-state selection, Murray scored 14 goals and 12 assists as Deer Lakes made the state championship for the second time in three years.

Gabe Norris

Sr., MF, Highlands

In a down year for the Golden Rams, Norris played many roles and managed to score 13 goals with14 assists, contributing to 85% of Highlands’ scoring.

Ashton Schutzman

Jr., D, Fox Chapel

Another big piece of the Fox Chapel defense, Schutzman was an All-WPIAL selection and helped the Foxes tally 10 shutouts.

Colton Spence

Sr., D, Deer Lakes

An All-WPIAL selection, Spence anchored the defense and helped Deer Lakes record nine shutouts. He also scored three goals and tallied two assists.

Second team

Nick Braun, So., GK, Deer Lakes

Gavin Cole, Jr., F, Leechburg

Campbell Curry, Jr., F, Kiski Area

Nick Kariotis, Sr., MF, Burrell

Luke Kolankowski, Jr., MF, Plum

Cannon Kuchinick, Sr., F, Plum

Chris Mitchell, So., MF, Springdale

Jack Nury, Sr., D, Fox Chapel

Ian Smola, Sr., F, Burrell

Ryan Rodgers, Sr., F, Deer Lakes

Ryan Wurzer, Sr., D, Burrell

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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