Monessen boys soccer ready for more growth

Saturday, August 26, 2017 | 6:42 PM

The Monessen boys soccer team was a young group that was short on experience last season. As a result, the Greyhounds experienced growing pains. They dropped seven of their first eight section matches before rallying for six wins in their final eight contests.

Coach Sam Perry's team fell a win short of the final playoff spot in Section 4-A. Though the result wasn't the one Monessen desired, the experience helped a group that will enter this season having lost just one starter from last year's team.

“We finished the year last year on a good run. It was disappointing for us though because we're used to making the playoffs,” Perry, who is in his 13th season as coach, said. “In fact, prior to last year, we only missed the playoffs twice since I've been here.

“With us being a young team last year, I thought it was them maturing. Just getting to know one another out on the field, and once they did, they really started to jell at the end of the year. It was just a maturing process, and now it's out of the way.”

Seniors Tyler Caterino and Cory Fleming give the Greyhounds are returning all-section players who form a powerful scoring punch.

“Tyler is our center midfielder, and his distribution of the ball, his ball skills and his soccer knowledge are really nice to have for us. He's very experienced, and he brings a lot of leadership,” Perry said.

“Cory is a striker for us, and he brings a lot of speed to the top. He's a good distributor. He led us in assists last year as well, so he knows how to set guys up along with Tyler.”

Monessen returns another top goal-scorer in sophomore Cam Frolo.

On defense, the Greyhounds have experienced starters in senior Isaiah Allums and junior Zach Evans. Perry said there are big expectations for that group as they look to make junior goalkeepers Nathan Lynch's job easier.

“We have a good core on defense,” Perry said. “We'll have a few freshmen playing in that group that we're excited about, but we really do have some good leadership back there as well. Zach in particular, he's a kid that started as a freshman and is now in his third year as a starter at center back.”

Overall, Monessen is still young, but last year's experience makes the group believe it is ready for a return to postseason play.

“You've got to have the leadership from your seniors and your experienced guys,” Perry said. “That's where it all starts. It gives the younger kids motivation. Follow their lead, that's all I ask. That's what they're doing so far. They're focused. They're ready to play, and they can't wait to get started.”

Monessen will play its first section game of the season at 7 p.m. on Sept. 5 at Bentworth.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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