Seton LaSalle boys soccer wraps another remarkable season
By: Ray Fisher
Sunday, December 3, 2017 | 2:42 PM
Postseason plaudits for the Seton LaSalle boys soccer team have been rolling in.
For the second consecutive year, senior forward Darryl Daniels earned the trifecta of honors by being named all-state, all-WPIAL and all-section.
Junior midfielder Kellen Krebs, senior midfielder Kaleb Krebs and junior defender Chris Sigg landed all-WPIAL and all-section accolades, with Kellen Krebs named player of the year in Section 4-A.
“It feels fantastic to be named section player of the year,” said the younger Krebs. “All the work that coaches from both cup and school have devoted (to me) has paid off. I have every intent to come out and perform even better next season.”
There were five seniors on this year's team: Daniels, who had 27 goals (five winners) and 11 assists and finished second in Rebels history with 68 career goals; Kaleb Krebs, who racked up 22 assists along with five goals in 2017; midfielders Michael Allen and Cullen Vereb; and forward Mark Mitchell.
“All five will be missed next season,” Veteran Seton LaSalle coach Ryan Kelly said. “They totaled 96 games played, 63 games started, 38 goals and 41 assists for us this past season, and they were all key contributors throughout the season.”
In the past four years, Seton LaSalle won four section titles and one WPIAL championship, compiling a 68-20-3 overall record and a 45-6-1 mark in section play. The Rebels were 10-2-1 in their four WPIAL playoff appearances and 3-2-1 in three PIAA tournaments.
“We are losing our all-time second-leading goal-scorer in Darryl Daniels,” Kelly said. “You can't come close to instantly replacing a guy like that.”
But that is not to say the future is bleak for Seton LaSalle, which ended up 18-4-1, 12-1-1 in section play.
The Rebels will have 19 players who saw serious playing time this season, including 11 who started.
“We have a lot of quality players returning next year,” Kelly said. “We definitely lose quality with our five seniors, but luckily it's not quantity, as well. We have a lot of guys who should be able to take the next step in order to be key contributors.”
One of the undisputed team leaders will be Kellen Krebs, a two-time All-WPIAL selection who connected for 20 goals and 11 assists this season.
“Kellen has played in well over 70 games in his career,” Kelly said, “so we put a lot of stock in a player like that. A lot of our juniors have played well over 50 games for us, with almost 20 of those being playoff games — including a WPIAL championship game.”
Kellen Krebs, who netted eight winning goals, Daniels and Allen served as team captains this season.
“The seniors will be missed,” Krebs said. “They are irreplaceable, but someone will be working hard to fill their shoes. I have big goals for this team next year. And if everyone does their job this offseason to improve their game, I have no doubt these goals can be achieved.
“I am proud to be captain with a great group of guys who worked hard even through circumstances that were not in our favor. We had some players out early in the season due to injury. The guys who came off the bench didn't let the performance level drop and helped us get big wins. We came together in big games and got better as the season went on. I am proud of what we achieved, but we are looking for a longer run next year. Seton LaSalle soccer is determined and driven to be at the top next season.”
Other key players expected back next year include Sigg, junior defender Kyle Killen, sophomore midfielder Ethan Gardner, sophomore midfielder/defender John Pete, sophomore forward Gabe Rosario and junior goalkeeper Sam Reinhart, who logged an impressive 0.61 goals-against average and posted 12 shutouts.
Rosario and Gardner combined for 16 goals and 14 assists in 2017 despite missing time because of injuries.
Some of the top reserves on this year's team included juniors Hank Polley and Zach Wells, sophomore Tyler Stack, and freshmen Anthony Newman and Josue Ruiz.
“We've been able to be relatively competitive in the WPIAL and PIAA year-in and year-out since 2002,” Kelly said, “and we don't see that changing anytime soon.”
Seton LaSalle opened the season with 10 consecutive victories, which included seven shutouts.
The Rebels won four of their final five regular-season contests, then defeated Avonworth, 3-1, and Riverview, 1-0, in their first two WPIAL playoff games.
Seton, the No. 3 seed, dropped a 2-1 decision to Springdale in the semifinals before beating Winchester-Thurston, 2-0, in the third-place consolation game.
“The season had a lot of ups and downs,” Kelly said. “We started off very strong, going 10-0 out of the gate. Injuries definitely caught up to us, and we never really got back to hitting full stride as the playoffs rolled around. Even with a full roster for the playoffs, we probably needed a little more time to hit on all cylinders. We lost a lot of talent, experience and leadership from the prior year, but a lot of our current players filled that void.
“Obviously, losing in the WPIAL semifinals in a shootout was very tough to overcome, but we did in order to qualify for the PIAA tournament. The Springdale game was definitely our wake-up call, and I felt like we were trending up after the Winchester-Thurston game and during the Brockway games. It is going to take some time after the way our season ended in DuBois. Recovery from something like that isn't a quick one.
“We fell short of our goals of a WPIAL and PIAA championship, but we have a lot of positive takeaways from this season.”
Brockway edged the Rebels, 3-2, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
“I thought our team played one of the most complete games of the season against a quality opponent in Brockway,” Kelly said. “I thought we were the better team for well over the majority of the game. Outside of the three goals we surrendered, we did everything we wanted. The end result and the way it came to pass was definitely a difficult pill to swallow.
“As egregious as it was how it all transpired, its water under the bridge at this point. A lot of the time that's how it goes in life. Regardless of what you do or what you think you deserve, things don't always go the way you think they should.
“Everyone in our group can learn from this experience, so hopefully we all take something positive away from it — whether on or off the field — and apply it as motivation for next season to be sure we avoid these types of scenarios.”
Seton LaSalle finished with an 80-17 overall scoring edge, including a 71-11 regular-season advantage.
The Rebels established a school record by winning a fifth consecutive section championship. They have seven section titles in the past eight seasons.
“I'm proud of my team's performance, and I think it was a great year even if we didn't make it to the big games,” said Daniels, who has been busy making college visits. “Some things didn't go our way, and maybe we had some setbacks, but we bounced back and kept working hard and kept getting better throughout the season, and that's all you can ask for.”
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.