Norwin boys soccer uses quick-strike offense to top Penn-Trafford

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Thursday, September 24, 2020 | 10:18 PM


Scoring early has become a trend for the Norwin boys soccer team.

The Knights found the net 13 seconds in against Connellsville and struck inside the first five minutes against Latrobe.

Fast starts have helped keep the fifth-ranked Knights ahead — and unbeaten.

On Thursday night, it was more of the same.

Junior midfielder Riley Zimmerman and senior forward Brendan Ash scored two goals apiece — Ash’s initial score coming on a Penn-Trafford miscue in the ninth minute — as the Knights blanked the Warriors, 4-0, in a Section 3-4A game in North Huntingdon.

“It’s about creating those chances and finding that early momentum,” Norwin coach Scott Schuchert said. “We probably missed 20 easy chances, but the important thing is that we scored on an early chance.”

Norwin (4-0, 4-0) is 6-1-2 against Penn-Trafford in the teams’ last nine meetings. The Knights pulled off a sweep last year and are halfway to another one after commanding the Warriors.

Penn-Trafford has not beaten the Knights since 2016.

“We took some time to try and figure out who our opponent was,” Penn-Trafford coach Sotiri Tsourekis said. “I thought we did a better job with our opportunities in the second half. We were very conservative today. We have to learn from our mistakes and move on.”

The first score came in the 11th minute with Penn-Trafford out of position. The ball trickled toward a wide-open net — goalkeeper Anthony Visco was drawn out — and the Warriors’ Logan Brinko gave chase. But Brinko, despite a diving attempt, could not corral the rolling ball, last touched by Ash, and it was 1-0.

Tsourekis was hoping for an offsides call there but did not get one.

“(Penn-Trafford) was playing a high line, so we knew it would be important for us to get though balls,” said Ash, who injured his lower leg late and had ice wrapped around it after the game. “We knew we were better than them.”

Later in the half, Zimmerman came set at the 20-yard line and ripped a line shot to give the Knights a two-goal advantage in the 31st minute.

The Knights connected again just before the half when Nick Flemm dropped a gentle pass in front to Zimmerman, who finished to make it 3-0.

“We’re a very skilled team and that showed tonight,” Schuchert said.

Senior Nathan Schlessinger, who scored six goals Tuesday night in a 9-2 win over Woodland Hills, was mostly limited for the Warriors (2-2, 1-2).

Norwin added a fourth goal early in the second half when Caleb Yuricha crossed in front to Ash, who headed it past Visco, who was peppered with 17 shots.

“I think that is five header goals this year for us,” Schuchert said. “That’s a nice dynamic to have.”

Visco had nine saves.

The Knights have outscored their four opponents, 23-2.

Tsourekis, who coaches some of the Norwin players in the offseason, is in his first year guiding the Warriors. He was the coach at Keystone Oaks for 10 years, his alma mater, before playing soccer at Pitt.

He also played professionally in Greece for A.E. Aigiou and Panaigaileos F.C. He also works with players in the Allegheny Force club.

“I think the next game for us will be a different approach and we’ll play much better,” he said. “I did see some good things tonight.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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