Penn Hills girls soccer eager to get to work in offseason

Sunday, July 18, 2021 | 9:01 AM

Seventh-year Penn Hills girls soccer coach Ashley DeVito is always up for an opportunity to keep her team engaged in the offseason.

Once the mask restrictions were eased earlier this summer, DeVito was contacted by the Deer Lakes girls soccer coach and invited to participate in a tournament.

The Indians finished 2-0-2 and tied Knoch in the third-place game. These are the types of events that typically happen in the offseason.

The covid-19 pandemic made having such events impossible until recent changes to mask mandates.

“Essentially from January until March, different high schools raise money for their booster organizations by having tournaments either indoors or outdoors,” DeVito said. “We attend each other’s events. It works two-fold. The team gets offseason training, and it helps support the booster organization.”

The Indians were eager to get back into action after wrapping up last season with a 9-8 record and their first trip to the WPIAL playoffs since 2017. Penn Hills bowed to Hampton in the Class AAA postseason, losing 5-0 in the first round.

Playing in summer tournaments helps get DeVito’s diverse group of players ready. While some Penn Hills players play year-round on club teams, the Indians don’t have as many of those players as their section rivals.

“I think we do a good job of trying to get girls who play other sports,” DeVito said. “We get other girls who play softball, baseball or run track. If they play soccer, too, it will help keep you in shape for your main sport. We get a lot of good athletes from other programs.”

Penn Hills’ two victories at the shootout at Deer Lakes came in a 1-0 decision over Valley and a 2-0 win over the host Lancers. The Indians also played to a scoreless draw against Springdale.

Maya Wolford scored for the Indians against the Vikings, and Kali Bookerand and Wolford scored against Deer Lakes.

DeVito, who was pleased to see the turnover and effort, hopes this will carry over into the preseason.

“Last season was, statistically, the best team I’ve ever had,” DeVito said. “We lost a few players to graduation and injury, and that happens. I anticipate we will maintain the same level of competition we did last year.”


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