Despite injuries, Chartiers Valley boys soccer season included playoff berth
Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 3:53 PM
The Chartiers Valley boys soccer team had to contend with one of the greatest adversary a team can face — injuries.
The Colts ended their season with a 3-0 loss in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, but coach Garrett MacKenzie was proud of his team’s effort in an uphill battle this season.
“You always want to win the section or the WPIAL,” MacKenzie said. “But I do think making the playoffs was an achievement for this team. As a coach, you should never be happy with just making the playoffs, but we had injuries to several of our main guys.
“I am proud of them making it to the playoffs.”
The Colts finished the season 7-8-2 overall with a 6-5-1 record in Section 4-AAA play.
Chartiers Valley was bit by the injury bug several times this season. MacKenzie estimated in the 17 games the Colts played, they had 12 or 13 different lineups. He added that 10 to 12 players between varsity and junior varsity missed time this season.
“We ended up playing a lot of guys with no experience,” MacKenzie said. “We had some seniors gone, so we were relatively young. It challenged us game to game.”
The vast number of injuries led the staff to move players into new positions. Harrison Eckenrode has typically played at center mid, but he moved to center back and received all-section honors.
Riley Kutschbach moved into a forward position and finished the season with a team-high 15 goals. He also received all-section honors.
“They were completely unselfish,” MacKenzie said. “Harrison especially. He never played center back before. He is a smart, athletic kid. He did what was best for the team, and our defense kept us in a lot of games.”
The defense also featured strong seasons from JR Figura, who was an all-section honorable mention. Louie Kearney and David Belasco both boosted the play on defense.
“Our team stuck together,” MacKenzie said. “It is cliché to say as a coach, but we could’ve fallen apart with the circumstances. But they stuck it out.”
William Kinchington helped boost the defense with a solid season in net.
“He played last year as a sophomore and had some growing pains,” MacKenzie said. “As a junior, he had a great season. He developed into a pretty good goalie, and we look forward to have him back as a senior.”
While the team was able to get experience for next season’s roster, it will be hard to replace the senior class. The nine seniors had great success at Chartiers Valley, including helping the program capture a WPIAL title in 2016 as freshmen.
“You can’t replace that experience,” MacKenzie said. “These guys all put time in. I have been at CV for six years, and I remember watching them in seventh grade. We will definitely miss them.”
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