New coach, new outlook for Monessen girls soccer team

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Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 8:02 PM


The Monessen girls soccer program wants to replicate what Sam Perry built during his decade-plus as coach of the Greyhounds’ boys soccer program before resigning during the offseason.

This season, the Monessen girls have a new coach, just like the boys do.

Bill Phillips, who coached Monessen’s middle school team the past three seasons, takes over for Bill Halinka.

Tom Gigliotti will assist Phillips this season. In previous years, Perry and Halinka were each other’s assistant.

“You just want them to be solid and accountable for their game and their actions. I want them to come in and focus on what they just need to focus on,” Phillips said.

The Greyhounds, who finished 3-12-1 overall and 2-10 in Section 2-A last season, will look to get off to a fast start this season.

Last season, Monessen lost its first four games before defeating McGuffey, 4-2. The Greyhounds earned wins over Geibel and McKeesport before ending the season with a 1-1 draw against Jeannette.

Monessen returns nine starters and will be complimented by seven freshmen for much-needed depth.

Phillips welcomes the return three seniors to their lineup including defender/midfielder Daija Grogan, midfielder Qitarah Hardison and defender Milana Sacco.

The junior class will be led by midfielder/forward Sydney Caterino, defender/midfielder Alexandria DeFelices, midfielder Audrey Rhome and defender/midfielder Tatyana Vanhooser.

After getting playing time as freshmen, sophomores midfielder/forward Mya Petruska and goalkeeper Kinsey Wilson return.

Grogan and Sacco were selected as team captains this season.

“They are working together as a team, and the team aspect is what we’re trying to really push,” Phillip said. “You have your outstanding players, but you’re only as a good as your team and not just one player.”

The Greyhounds will look to replace Caitlyn Phillips and Joelle Robinson, both of whom graduated.

Phillips believes the key to a turnaround is winning the close games they lost last season in section. The Greyhounds lost six section games by three goals or less.

“The Beth-Center and Charleroi games were really close. I hope we’re competitive enough to place in the top four,” Phillips said.

The Greyhounds open their season at the Belle Vernon Tournament. Monessen plays against Latrobe on Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. and Connellsville on Sept. 1 at 3:30 p.m.

Monessen will open their Section 2-A play at Chartiers-Houston on Sept. 4 before playing at home against Beth-Center on Sept 7 and at Geibel on Sept. 9.

Phillips said the Greyhounds are in a tough section that includes Bentworth, which finished as the WPIAL runner-up last season. However, Phillips wants the Greyhounds to keep it simple and to continue to enhance their skills.

“I hope the girls buy into the system, enjoy their season and listen and learn,” Phillips said.

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