Seniors spearhead another impressive season for Hampton boys soccer

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Sunday, November 19, 2023 | 11:01 AM


The Hampton boys soccer team prepared for the 2023 season by attending soccer camp in mid-August in Edinboro that included a trip to a nearby water park.

Then the Talbots made a splash.

Hampton put together another memorable season, rolling to the Section 1-3A title, returning to the WPIAL finals for the second time in three years, advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals and producing the most prolific single-season goal scorer in program history.

“This team certainly went above and beyond the expectations,” Hampton coach Matt McAwley said. “It was a very successful season. The boys played hard and came out for every single game. They never stopped fighting.”

Two years after the Talbots’ remarkable run to the ‘21 WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles, another senior-heavy team left its own mark.

Led by senior striker Luke Fiscus’ program-record 37 goals, the Talbots (18-4-1) went 11-0-1 in section and earned a No. 2 seed in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs. In a postseason littered with upsets, Hampton stayed alive. The Talbots used an overtime win, a double-OT win and a shutout victory to advance to the championship game, where their bid for a second WPIAL title in three years ended with a 4-2 loss to No. 8-seeded South Fayette.

After a 6-0 victory over Bradford in the PIAA first round, Hampton saw its season end with a 3-1 loss to defending state champion Hershey on Nov. 11 in Altoona.

It was a much more satisfying conclusion than ‘22, when the Talbots went 12-7 and were one-and-done in the WPIAL playoffs.

“People … didn’t believe we were actually as good as we were going to be,” senior defender Hudson Struble said. “No one really expected us to make the (WPIAL) final this year, even though we were a No. 2 seed. But we ended up doing that, which is really big. Even though we didn’t win it, it still means a lot to all of us.”

Postseason accolades started rolling in.

Fiscus, who broke the single-season scoring mark of 36, set by current Hampton assistant coach Jedd Cordisco in ‘04, was named all-state. Forward Coleman Docherty, who scored game-winners in both playoff overtime wins and finished with 50 career goals, and midfielder Oliver Spinola were all-WPIAL selections. Defenders Conner Killmeyer and Struble earned all-section honors.

Those five were part of a 12-man senior class that went a combined 64-17-2 since arriving as freshmen in covid-shortened 2020. The other seniors are defenders Aidan Cole, Ben LaRusse, Will Perkins and Garrett Wesley, midfielders Hayden List and Cole Stapleton and forward Logan Kaforey.

“I can’t say enough good things about that group and the drive that they had,” said McAwley, a ninth-year coach. “It’s just a very special group that accomplished a lot over the course of their four years.”

Some other highlights this season included a 3-2 victory over North Catholic in which the Talbots erased a two-goal halftime deficit and a month-long nine-game winning streak that included six shutouts and saw them reach No. 1 in the Trib’s WPIAL Class 3A boys soccer poll and reach the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

The only regular-season blemishes were a 2-1 loss to WPIAL Class 4A finalist North Allegheny and a 1-0 double-OT loss at Class 4A Pine-Richland.

The Talbots will return a handful of starters and important role players, including sophomore goalkeepers Landon Bieker and Gavin Guinn, who split time this season, sophomore forward Xavier Ware and junior defender/midfielder Caden Muchenski.

“There are some key pieces that are coming back,” McAwley said. “It’ll be another very competitive year for us.”

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