South Hills soccer, volleyball coaches praise unsung heroes

Friday, November 15, 2019 | 5:07 PM

There usually is at least one of these athletes on every team.

These are the players who quietly and efficiently go about their business to help their team achieve its goals.

They are unsung heroes.

“Ours is (senior) Ray Thomas,” Baldwin boys soccer coach Dave Zinski said. “He’s a team captain who does anything the coaches ask. Due to injuries, he was moved from center mid to center back, and it made a huge impact on the play of the entire team. He used his speed and high soccer IQ to shut down any other team’s best offensive players.”

Michael “Doc” Kulish, Thomas Jefferson’s boys soccer coach, said sophomore goalkeeper A.J. Getsy displayed outstanding athleticism and teamwork this season. Getsy replaced NCAA Division I recruit Jack Wessel as the Jaguars starter.

“When you lose your team leader and starting goalie, most teams will throw in the towel and just prepare for next season,” Kulish said. “In our case, we had A.J. step up and move from starting outside defender into the goalie position.

“It is very difficult to replace Jack Wessel, but A.J. stepped up and performed adequately for us. He has goalie experience from his Beadling Club team, where he plays goalie and has made it to the national championship game.”

Brentwood boys soccer coach Ron DiNardo nominated his starting defensive corps as an unsung component of this year’s team.

“Prason Gurung started as a freshman at left midfield,” DiNardo said. “We switched him to left defense. He is a versatile defender and also jumps into the offensive play. Marc Accamando, our sweeper, started last year as our left defender. He controlled our defense.

“Dan Steingraber was one of our players from the bench last year. He started at right defense. He’s very solid, rarely gets beat and also jumps into the play like Prason. Brett Powers, our stopper, also did not start last year but he fit in very nice at that position.

“Gurung, Accamando and Steingraber played out of position from last year, and each had a phenomenal year. Powers mainly is a defensive defender and did a great job.”

When asked if there was an unacknowledged athlete on TJ’s girls soccer squad, it didn’t take coach Jason Vozar long to respond.

“Her name is Jordan Crawford,” he said. “She has had several surgeries over the past year. She worked really hard to get back on the field, then got injured again halfway through the season and was out for the year.

“Despite the injuries, Jordan continued to attend every training session and game. She just has a positive attitude and a supportive way about her. She certainly helps get the girls on the field motivated and ready to perform. She is a total team player.”

Coach Tom Dongilli said there were a few unsung types on the Baldwin girls soccer team. He finally narrowed his choice to one.

“That’s a tough question,” he said. “Makenzie Auel, a left defensive back and team captain, is not selfish and truly represents what I need in a captain, player and athlete.

“She leads by example, works extremely hard and has laser focus. She is always looking for ways to improve herself and the team. She never asks for anything and is constantly working on the ‘team’ part of the game. She is a great player to have on board.”

Coach Chris Kelly nominated senior Ally Schenk as an underappreciated player for the Baldwin girls volleyball team despite her distinguished career as a three-year starter at middle hitter.

“I don’t know if Ally is unsung, but she’s been fantastic this year,” Kelly said. “She’s been nothing but reliable. She’s very quiet and unassuming, but she is solid.”

At Brentwood, coach Kayla Hubsch said Sidney Wuenschell, a junior outside hitter, was her team’s unsung hero.

“Sidney is a very consistent player,” Hubsch said. “Outside hitters are usually power hitters who can crush the ball most of the time. Sidney doesn’t fit the category of a power hitter, but she is very consistent and makes very few errors. She makes some big plays when they are needed.

“She isn’t recognized because of her powerful hits but can change a game with her strategic placement of the ball.”

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