Penn-Trafford’s Nguyen gives verbal commitment to Akron

Thursday, December 6, 2018 | 2:54 PM

Smarts and skills are often what separate the great soccer players from the almost-great ones. Penn-Trafford junior Sarah Nguyen has both traits and they have propelled her to a Division I scholarship.

Nguyen, a speedy midfielder and one of the Warriors’ key players the past two seasons, made a verbal commitment this week to Akron.

She also considered George Washington.

“Sarah has great vision of the field and a deep understanding of the game,” Penn-Trafford coach Jackie Bartko said. “She has great control of the ball. She has done an awesome job in both center-back and center-mid for us over the past few years because as soon as she wins control, she is able to distribute so easily.”

Nguyen is pronounced, “win,” and that’s what she and her sister do.

Hannah Nguyen’s Division I career already is underway. She just completed her freshman season as a midfielder at Duquesne. The Nguyens are known for giving a slow-starting attack a jolt with their quickness and their ability to set up fellow scorers.

Sarah Nguyen had four goals and 13 assists this season for the Warriors, who returned to the WPIAL playoffs but saw an early exit after winning the Class 4A championship last year.

Nguyen was an all-section and All-WPIAL player and also a Tribune-Review Westmoreland All-Star.

“What sets her apart as a D-1 player is her ability to understand the game and the way she uses that on the field,” Bartko said. “Her foot skills and control are incredible which allows her to be such an integral part of the team.”

Sarah Nguyen decided not to play basketball this season, much to the chagrin of coach John Giannikas and his players, but one of Nguyen’s most memorable highlights happened on the court, not the pitch.

She made a long, buzzer-beating heave from just outside the top of the key last season to beat rival and favored Norwin, 38-37, in Harrison City.

Her plays in soccer are more subtle at times, at least on the surface, but they often end up being largely significant in the outcome of games.

Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.


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