Norwin assistant coach recalls last PIAA soccer title

Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 10:21 AM

Norwin didn't have to look far for advice on what to expect from the PIAA girls soccer finals.

Assistant coach Leslie (Fedorka) Kaminski went through the process in 1996 when she was a freshman on the Knights' last state championship winning team.

Norwin held off West Chester Henderson, 1-0, at Shippensburg. The Knights returned to the PIAA Class AAA title game in 1997 but lost to the same opponent.

“These girls deserve to have this experience,” Kaminski said. “You remember the bus ride out and the experiences. We had roommates, defense stayed with defense and offense with offense.”

The routine will be different, however, this time.

Norwin will not stay overnight in Hershey but will instead leave Friday morning around 8 a.m. The 4A title game against Neshaminy (19-6-1) starts at 4 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.

In the past

Norwin coach Lauren Karcher said the Knights have put a pair of losses to rival Penn-Trafford behind them as they get ready for the state final.

Now, the county's most heated rivals could each celebrate a championship.

“Just to get there, that's been everyone's goal for four years,” Karcher said. “It's been one day at a time, one game at a time, step by step. Although some things may not have gone the way we wanted them to go this year, I don't think anybody is looking back at that right now. This is exactly where we wanted to be at this point of the year. It's one more to go.”

California dreaming

Norwin sophomore midfielder Danielle Iannuzzo had two goals — no soccer pun intended — when she transferred from Southern California. One was to make the Norwin High School team, the other to secure a roster spot with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy. She did both. And now she will get to play for a PIAA championship with the Knights.

“The style of play here is a little different,” Iannuzzo said. “So I had to adjust to everything.”

Norwin is a big school but can't compare to the enrollment numbers where Iannuzzo came from. She played soccer at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, which has more than 4,000 students — “There were 1,800 in my class,” she said.

Iannuzzo said her father's work brought her to North Huntingdon. Dave Iannuzzo, who originally is from Jeannette (her mother, Carey (Dankovich) is a Norwin graduate), is part owner of Greensburg Beverage.

Danielle was born in California. She played for the renowned Legends FC club.

State of the art

Norwin will try to win the school's 22nd state title, the second in girls soccer. Norwin's other titles have come in girls volleyball (13 times), boys basketball (four times), football, boys cross country and girls swimming.

Doggone it

Norwin senior Alyssa Victor had an old friend waiting for her after Tuesday's semifinal in Chambersburg: her dog, Mia.

Victor was holding Mia by her leash after scoring a penalty kick in a 2-0 win over Conestoga Valley.

“My mom is taking her to my brother at Penn State,” Victor said. “It was nice to see her.”

TV guide

The Norwin-Neshaminy state title game will be shown live on PCN, along with the seven other championships. The games also will be available online with the PCN Select App.

PCN will rebroadcast the games on Thanksgiving Day.

This is the 20th year the network has televised the finals.

She said it

“This is awesome for a girl who had posters of Norwin soccer players on her bedroom wall growing up.” — Norwin coach Lauren Karcher.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.


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