Former Mars coach takes over Sewickley Academy girls soccer program

Sunday, August 7, 2022 | 8:01 AM

The Dale Giovengo coaching era begins this season in the Sewickley Academy girls soccer program.

Giovengo was hired in mid-July to take over for Jessica Peluso, who resigned for family reasons.

“Jessica Peluso was a dedicated and passionate leader of our women’s soccer program for over 18 years,” SA athletic director Win Palmer said. “I am most appreciative of all that she has contributed to our soccer players both on and off the field.

“We feel most fortunate to have a talented and successful new leader in Dale Giovengo. His experience in developing the Mars girls soccer program into one of the area’s best programs provides confidence in our future. We are excited to have coach Giovengo leading our program.”

Giovengo’s coaching background includes a 10-year stint from 1996-2006 with the girls soccer team at Mars that included several WPIAL and PIAA tournament appearances and a WPIAL championship in 2000.

At Mars, Giovengo coached his daughter Susie, a 1999 graduate and All-WPIAL selection who went on to play collegiately at IUP. His older daughter Leah graduated from Mars in 1996 and continued her soccer career at Allegheny. Both were all-section players.

“I resigned from that position in 2006 for an opportunity to work for the State Department Foreign Service for 14 years in locations including Paris, Kuwait City, Pakistan, Geneva and Baghdad,” Giovengo said. “I applied for the state department (position) after 9/11 and finally was hired in 2006.”

Giovengo held various positions in the state department. His cross section of experience provided him with the knowledge of what it took to make an embassy work from day to day.

Upon returning to the area, Giovengo coached the Aquinas Academy girls soccer team for two years in 2020-21, guiding the Crusaders to an effective entry into the WPIAL.

“I am now doing soccer camps at La Roche University,” he said.

A native of Avalon, Giovengo earned college degrees from Pitt and Duquesne.

“I am excited to be coaching the (SA) girls,” Giovengo said. “I am looking forward to working with all the players and getting to know their strengths. Sewickley Academy has always been a program I’ve admired.”

Sewickley Academy narrowly missed qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs in girls soccer last year.

The Panthers had just three seniors on the team in 2021 and finished with a 4-7-1 record in Section 4-A, as Eden Christian grabbed the fourth playoff berth at 4-6-2.

Bishop Canevin (11-0-1), Winchester Thurston (10-1-1) and Aquinas Academy (8-4) were the section’s top three teams.

Sewickley’s returning starters this season include junior Cait Donohue, senior Jayne Miner and sophomore Quincy Sirko at forward; sophomore Katherine Varghese and seniors Sally Moravitz, Elena Mohan and Kaitlyn Hayden at midfield; seniors Rinnie Jardini and Isabella Capito and junior Virginia Gaither on defense; and senior Maddie Miller at goalkeeper.

All varsity players at SA saw playing time last year, including juniors Layla Lombardo, Claudia Kronk and Kendall Sykes and sophomores Amaya Snyder, Jade Rychel, Avni Kathju, Celia Helbling and Lauren Retzlaf.

Mary Grace Gordon, a senior, and Nora Faraci, a sophomore, sat out last season with injuries.

One area of concern from 2021 that undoubtedly needs addressed is the team’s offense. The Panthers scored just 22 goals in their 16 games a year ago and netted one goal or fewer in nine games.

“As you know, we will be in a more competitive section,” Giovengo said. “My expectations are to be very competitive.”

The SA girls will compete in Section 3-A this season, along with Eden Christian, Freedom, Mohawk, Neshannock, Riverside and South Side.

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