Shashak Gurung, a native of Nepal, shatters Brentwood soccer scoring records
Friday, November 1, 2019 | 6:37 PM
He’s No. 1, and by a wide margin
Brentwood senior Shashak Gurung, a senior striker and four-year varsity player, ended the 2019 season with 39 goals and 28 assists, boosting his career totals to 84 goals and 76 assists for 160 points.
All are team records.
“My performance this season was better than what I could have thought,” Gurung said. “And to be honest, I feel normal. It doesn’t hype me up. I just feel like I have done my job.”
Gurung, a native of Nepal, broke the team record set by Josh Mackin with a 91-point total.
“Shashak’s strengths are his speed and he has a great shot,” coach Ron DiNardo said. “His dribbling skills are phenomenal. He gets double-teamed every game and still puts up some good numbers.”
Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia located mainly in the Himalayas. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south, east and west while Bangladesh is located within 17 miles of its southeastern tip.
Gurung moved with his family — his father Indra, mother Sashi, three sisters and one brother — to the United States in 2009 when he was 7.
“My entire family traveled together to the U.S.,” Gurung said. “What I can recall about Nepal is that my parents thought we went through a lot of hard times. I am grateful we got the chance to come here to the U.S., which changed our life.”
At age 17, Gurung is the second-youngest member of his family. His siblings are Susmita, 25, Shamkcha, 22, Sabuman, 19, and younger brother Prason, 16, also a key player for the Spartans.
The Gurung family lived in New Jersey for a year and Mt. Oliver for four years before settling in at Brentwood in November of 2014.
The 5-foot-4, 130-pound Gurung said his career on the pitch started at an early age.
“From what I remember about my childhood, I think the first time I touched a soccer ball was when I was like 2 or 3,” Shashak said. “But I officially started playing in Nepal, ‘my home country,’ when I was 6 years old.”
It proved to be a “near-miss” regular season for the Brentwood soccer team, which finished as the Section 4-A runner-up with an 8-2-2 record. Seton La Salle won the title at 8-1-3.
“I am very pleased,” DiNardo said. “We were in a tough section. On offense, we were led by Shashak, our striker. I think we were excellent in the midfield. We stress possession soccer and our defense was very stingy.
“And of course we had a big win (this year) against Seton.”
Brentwood took a 12-3-2 record into the WPIAL playoffs, along with an impressive 86-26 scoring advantage. The Spartans, with four shutouts and seven one-goal games on defense, received the No. 8 seed.
“This was the best season of my high school career,” Gurung said. “The team’s performance was better than expected, and I think this was because we worked together and created a really tight bond. This is was our strength.”
Gurung and stopper Brett Powers were the only seniors in the Spartans’ starting lineup. The game-day rotation also included five juniors and five sophomores.
Left wing Ben Betz, right wing Riley Wirth, midfielders Heran Pradhan and Mario Richards and right back Dan Steingraber are juniors. Pradhan registered 13 goals and 22 assists this season. Betz added 13 goals and 9 assists.
Wirth peppered in a pair of goals, one in each half, to lift Brentwood past No. 9 Sewickley Academy (8-8-1) by a 3-0 score in the WPIAL first round. Gurung also netted one goal.
It was the Spartans’ third consecutive shutout and fourth in five games.
“Riley had an excellent game,” DiNardo said. “He made a great play on his first goal. Instead of passing to Shashak, he cut the other way and the two defenders went to (cover) Shashak. Riley went the other way then beat the keeper. On the second goal, he hung around the net and got a rebound.”
The sophomore class in the starting lineup was represented by goalkeeper Zach Dirling, sweeper Marc Accamando, left back Prason Gurung, and midfielders Samir Kadariya and Sergio Garcia.
Brentwood also finished as the Section 4-A runner-up last year with an identical 8-2-2 record and ended up 11-3-2 overall.
The Spartans, who lost to top-seeded Winchester-Thurston 4-0 on Oct. 23 in their second playoff match, advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
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