Riverview’s Lola Abraham named Valley News Dispatch girls soccer player of year

Saturday, November 25, 2023 | 5:01 PM

Player of the year

Lola Abraham

Riverview, senior, forward

Not often during the 2023 season did an opposing team slow down Riverview senior forward Lola Abraham.

Teams thought they had the Pitt soccer commit contained, but she then would erupt and damage their chances at victory.

Abraham finished her final season with 77 goals and 19 assists and helped lead the Raiders to the WPIAL and PIAA Class A title games in a history-making season.

Awards followed at the section, WPIAL and state levels. She recently was selected the Moe Rosensteel Award winner for this season, which recognizes the WPIAL’s top girls soccer player.

Abraham now takes home some additional recognition. With her efforts throughout her final varsity season, she is the Valley News Dispatch Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

The Riverhounds Academy member was selected from a pool of top-flight performers in the Alle-Kiski Valley that included Springdale junior Briana Ross and Freeport freshman Camryn Woods.

“I was able to do what I did, and I am happy with that, but it is never one person,” Abraham said. “It takes a whole team to complete what we did. When I would get man-marked, it created opportunities for others on the team to score and succeed. It was a team effort all-around, from the goalkeeper, to the defenders through the midfield to the forwards. It was great to have that support around me and also be able to support my teammates.”

Abraham said the tough losses in the WPIAL finals — 1-0 to Freedom — and the PIAA championship game — 5-1 to Dock Mennonite — didn’t dampen what otherwise was a memorable season of firsts.

“We, obviously, didn’t get the results we wanted in those games, but to even be in those positions in the first place with my teammates and to work so hard for them all season was just remarkable,” she said.

“It was also special in winning the section because we hadn’t done that in previous years. The best thing to see is the forward progress for this program. We continued to play games that the program had never played before in the WPIAL and state playoffs. It was just a great season with this group of girls.”

The journey for the program over the past couple of years has been well documented, from the fall of 2020 when low numbers and covid conspired to cancel the Raiders’ season.

With the help of Abraham and others, the team was back in 2021. She made an impact with 43 goals in her first varsity season as Riverview qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.

A return trip to the playoffs and a winning record (9-7) followed last year with Abraham tallying 56 more goals.

Her 77 goals this season were two shy of the WPIAL single-season record of 79 scored by Greensburg Central Catholic’s Bailey Cartwright in 2015.

“The past two years, we were able to build off the previous years,” said Abraham, who scored 21 combined goals in this year’s eight WPIAL and PIAA playoff games. “Last year, we were able to increase our win total, and this year it was the section title, winning a WPIAL game and going as far as we did.”

Abraham said she will miss the high school games and camaraderie with her Riverview friends and teammates, but she is confident that the future for the program is bright with the talent coming back and the younger groups of players ready to join the varsity program next fall and in years to come.

“Being with these girls who I’ve grown up with, I am going to miss that a lot, but the program is in great hands,” she said. “I know the returning players will help keep this going to where they can make another run.”

Abraham and seven of her soccer teammates will remain together this winter on the Riverview girls basketball team. They missed the start of official preseason practices Nov. 17 but since have switched their focus to the basketball court and the upcoming season.

First Team

Claire Cacurak

So., F, Deer Lakes

A two-sport standout this fall (cross country), she led the Lancers with 19 goals and was an all-WPIAL pick. Scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Knoch in the Section 2-2A finale, which secured third place in the standings.

Kate Friday

Sr., M, Fox Chapel

Scored one of the biggest goals in Fox Chapel girls soccer history, an OT tally that gave the Foxes a 1-0 victory over North Allegheny for the school’s second WPIAL title. Scored 13 goals, added 10 assists and was named all-WPIAL.

Molly Hurley

Jr., F, Springdale

Second to Ross on Springdale scoring list with 15 goals and 12 assists. All-WPIAL selection. Helped Dynamos to their second straight PIAA appearance. Tallied a hat trick in a 6-2 WPIAL quarterfinal win over No. 3 Charleroi.

Miley Kariotis

Jr., M/F, Burrell

All-WPIAL player scored 22 goals the past two years, including 10 goals and nine assists this fall to help the Bucs go 8-2 in Section 2, win 14 games overall and advance to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in program history.

Macrina Robb

Sr., F, Knoch

A three-time all-WPIAL selection and multi-time VND first-team all-star, Robb led Knoch with 12 goals and helped the Knights to the WPIAL playoffs for the second year in a row.

Briana Ross

Jr., F, Springdale

An all-WPIAL player who led Springdale with 51 goals, second only to Abraham in the A-K Valley and one of the top totals in the WPIAL. Also finished with 23 assists. Has 90 goals and 60 assists for her career.

Rayla Smith

Sr., F, Plum

A three-sport standout who stars in lacrosse, this all-WPIAL pick finished with eight goals and five assists to help the program capture its fifth straight section title and go undefeated until a loss to Montour in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Anna Troutman

Sr., D, Fox Chapel

The two-time all-WPIAL selection was solid in her team’s run to a WPIAL championship and the PIAA quarterfinals. The Fox Chapel defense allowed just 22 goals in 21 games, five in five postseason matchups and posted 10 shutouts.

Katerina Tsambis

Jr., D/M, Riverview

Made her mark as an anchor of the Riverview backline, helping to post several shutouts and allow one goal or fewer in six playoff games. Tsambis was honored for her efforts with selection to the all-WPIAL Class A team.

Ava Weleski

Sr., M/F, Plum

An all-WPIAL selection who paced the Mustangs with a team-best 23 goals to go along with 12 assists as she helped the team capture its fifth straight section championship. A Robert Morris recruit.

Cam Woods

Fr., F, Freeport

Freshman hit the ground running with several multi-goal games. Scored both goals in Freeport’s first-round win over Beaver. The all-WPIAL selection finished with a team-best 31 goals.

Second Team

Brooke Cacurak, So., D, Deer Lakes

Serena Carnahan, So., F, Plum

Hannah Hudack, Fr., M/F, Riverview

Camryn Kunz, Jr., M, Kiski Area

Peyton Los, So., M, Freeport

Tessa Mathabal, Sr., F, Burrell

Emily McKee, Fr., F, Fox Chapel

Mary Quinlan, Fr., M/F, Riverview

Gianna Ravetta, So., M, Plum

Ashley Ross, Sr., D, Springdale

Sophie Yard, Sr., F, Apollo-Ridge

Honorable mention

Lorelei Buterbaugh, Sr., D, Freeport; Brooke Galcik, Sr., M, Knoch; Brooke Kostyak, Sr., GK, Deer Lakes; Hailey Marchlewski, So., F, Springdale; Kylie McCoy, Sr., F, Deer Lakes; Andi Householder, Sr., D, Burrell; Alyssa Quackenbush, Jr., M, Fox Chapel; Ava Slaughenhoupt, Sr., D, Freeport; Meghan Stammer, So., D, Plum; Brooke Taliani, Jr., D, Springdale; Alexis Zidek, Jr., D, Kiski Area

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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