Sewickley Academy girls soccer set for return to playoffs

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Sunday, October 18, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Sometimes all it takes for a team be successful is a solid senior class, a few key players and a team-first mentality.

This fall, the Sewickley Academy girls soccer team has experienced all three as they hold a record of 8-2-1 with one game left in the regular season.

The Panthers are winning in a variety of ways. They’ve outscored teams, winning six games by three goals or more. They’ve also won tight battles, beating Winchester Thurston and Ellis School by one and two goals, respectively. As the playoffs approach, the Panthers sit just behind Bishop Canevin in Section 4-A.

“The key to our success this season has been our teamwork,” Sewickley Academy coach Jessica Peluso said. “We have a large senior class, and they have been working together long enough to know how to highlight each other’s strengths.”

Sewickley Academy features seven seniors, a combination of goal scorers, playmakers and a solid goalkeeper who has four shutouts this season.

Through their first 11 games, senior forward Elsa Gordon has 18 of Sewickley’s 34 goals. Fellow senior forward JJ Jardini has seven goals and eight assists.

“Together they are dangerous and productive,” Peluso said.

Senior midfielder Hailey Drutarsoky, who came to Sewickley after Quigley Catholic closed at the end of last school year, has been extremely important. Peluso also received reinforcements when Elsa Gordon and Emily Szabo returned from injury.

“Having those three has put us in a position to be consistent and create a variety of threats,” Peluso said.

The Panthers defense has allowed only 10 goals this season.

Putting the entire package together has the Panthers in the playoffs for the first time since 2017, when they went 12-6-2 and lost to Shady Side Academy in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals. As the postseason approaches, they are hoping to peak at the right time.

“This team loves to play together and to compete together, and the playoffs will be a lot of fun,” Peluso said. “We always talk about the importance of everyday progress and how each opportunity is a chance to move us forward. Our hope is that when the playoffs begin, that is when the team will begin to truly begin to peak.”

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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