Penn Hills boys soccer aims to continue improving

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Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 9:00 PM


After going winless two seasons ago, the Penn Hills boys soccer team finished with two wins last year. The Indians are looking to become tougher competition for their opponents this season.

Last season, the Indians (2-16, 1-13) scored wins against Carrick and Woodland Hills. Penn Hills defeated Carrick, 2-1, in the first game of the season and beat Woodland Hills, 3-2, five games later.

The Indians were outscored 96-22 and were shut out eight times.

Even with the lopsided results, coach Ryan Hankey is optimistic this season will be a different story after a strong offseason, which included a strength and conditioning program and playing in multiple tournaments.

“We don’t want to roll over for anyone. Hopefully, we become a hard out and play everyone competitive and at a high level,” Hankey said.

“I have high expectations. I want to make the playoffs and to do that we will need to upset some people. The seniors, juniors and some of the younger players are up for the challenge. They have put in the work, and hopefully it shows on the field.”

The Indians will have a battle-tested team returning this year as all the starters have played valuable minutes at the varsity level.

Senior forward Iain Krieger was Penn Hills’ leading scorer last season with six goals.

Krieger, a team captain, received Section 3-4A second-team honors last season after earning honorable mention recognition during his sophomore campaign.

“We have definitely gotten better as a team mentally and chemistry-wise. I think we are going to win a few more games than we did last year,” Krieger said.

The Indians are returning senior defenders Mike DeVito and Jesse Ternent, while senior goalkeeper AJ Collins is back to man the net after a injury-riddled junior season.

“Trying to stay healthy is the key. We don’t have a lot of players. When you lose two or three guys, it hurts. Two years in a row, I lost my starting goalie,” Hankey said.

“I was putting in guys that aren’t used to playing goalie or putting in somebody who’s not ready to play goal just hurts the team and momentum that we’ve had going into the season.”

Junior midfielder Jonah Silverman returns after receiving honorable mention honors last season.

Hankey is excited to see sophomores Tyler Stewart, Josh Lee and Charlie Rosemeyer return after gaining valuable varsity experience last year.

Freshman Lenny Duncan, who played for Hankey with the Century United FC, will be counted on for his offensive punch once he gets acclimated to the varsity level.

The Indians will look to replace defender Matt Lloyd, who received second-team all-section honors during his senior season.

As one of the captains this season, Krieger is trying to do his part to make sure the perception of Indians soccer is changed for future years to come.

“It will and it has improved with some of the younger players, who are still learning and growing,” Krieger said.

“They will have more confidence in themselves when they go out on the field. It will boost their confidence, and I believe they will do great things that they couldn’t do before.”

The Indians will start their season with a nonsection match against Jeannette on Aug. 31. Then, Penn Hills will face two section foes, Norwin and Connellsville. Norwin was a WPIAL finalist last season.

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