Quaker Valley boys soccer using shortened season as motivation for next year

Sunday, November 22, 2020 | 11:01 AM

This season didn’t end the way the Quaker Valley boys soccer team wanted it to.

After winning WPIAL and PIAA titles last season, the Quakers were motivated to repeat this season. After a solid regular season, where they went 11-1-1 and outscored opponents 114-8, they were ready to head into the postseason on the right foot. But a coronavirus exposure brought their season to a screeching halt and in turn dashed their chances of repeating.

“Our athletic director didn’t hear until like right before the brackets were released,” Quaker Valley coach J.J. Veshio said. “So it was sort of like this anticipation of maybe something will happen and we’ll be able to get in and they’ll move the dates. Then it kind of all hit us at once that it wasn’t going to happen.”

Veshio said that the Quakers normally are able to end the season with a big season wrapup, including a banquet. The Quakers didn’t do any of that this year because of their situation, but they did get together for a few intrasquad scrimmages and were able to bring their season to a close, even though it wasn’t the way they would’ve liked.

“It’s been tough, but once quarantine was over for us, we did like three days in a row of intrasquad games and little tournaments and everything and that was a lot of fun,” Veshio said. “The girls team did that as well, so there was at least some closure to the season, but it wasn’t playing in the playoffs, so it wasn’t the same.”

It was an unfortunate ending for the eight seniors on the Quaker Valley soccer team, but they didn’t finish their careers empty handed as they were a part of teams that won a WPIAL title (2019) and two state championships (2017, 2019).

Although Veshio just became the Quaker Valley coach this season, he’s been around the program long enough to know that the senior class brought a lot to the program.

“As a senior, you never want to go out in a negative way, and even though it was out of their control and that’s what we tried to tell them, ‘Unfortunately this happened to you, but don’t let it reflect negatively on your entire time here,’” Veshio said. “They had four of the best years that any Quaker Valley boys soccer class has had, and that’s saying a lot. They still have these other accomplishments to reflect on, but it’s very hard as a senior.”

For the rest of the Quakers, Veshio said they plan on using how this season ended as motivation to come back even stronger next season. The work for 2021 has already started.

“The guys coming back next year are highly, highly motivated,” Veshio said. “Maybe more so than any group of guys I’ve seen here during my tenure.”

The Quakers have already started playing pick-up and having been trying to play outside as much as they can, weather permitting. They also have already picked their captains picked for next year, and they are going to do whatever they can for indoor training, which Veshio said probably won’t be much due to covid protocols in place.

In the past, Veshio said that the program had a really good schedule in place when it came to weight and speed training, and most of the players would also be playing club soccer on their own time. This offseason may be a little different.

“Right now, we’re not going to do indoor,” Veshio said. “We’ve scheduled two days a week on our field throughout winter, and we’re just going to play. We’re not going to lose time. We can’t afford that again this year.”

Teams can only do so much and accomplish so much during the soccer season that it often comes down to the work that they put in throughout the offseason. No matter the limits that are put in front of them, the Quakers want to do even more next season, and they said they are going to work as hard as they possibly can to accomplish that.

“Our guys want to almost make up for not being in a championship game this year,” Veshio said. “However you do more than you can in a season, they want to try and do more than that next year. Whether it’s wins or who we play, who our nonsection opponents are, records broken, they want to do all of it.”

Although the Quakers are losing a talented senior class, they’ll return five of their top six goal scorers and will be looking to put their name back in the conversation as one of the top teams in Class 2A.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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