Springdale boys soccer reloads, continues impressive run of success

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 7:31 PM


It’s a recurring headline Springdale has become accustomed to reading the past few years.

Whether it’s losing a standout goalkeeper who recorded 14 shutouts in a season or losing its top two goal scorers and a top defender, the narrative usually is the same.

“We’re used to the headline being we lost a lot of players, and it’s going to be hard for us to recover,” Springdale senior defender Roman Liberati said.

Turns out, it wasn’t too hard for the Dynamos to recover after losing a senior class that combined to score 52 goals last season. Through eight games, the Dynamos are 8-0, and they have dominated Section 3-A with a 6-0 record and a 25-6 scoring margin.

Springdale has scored 39 goals overall and are leaning on a few players who were big pieces of last year’s run to the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals.

Liberati is one of those pieces as he heads up a defense that also returns junior goalkeeper Andrew Haus, who has made 61 saves and allowed six goals this season. The pair were part of a defense that recorded 11 shutouts last year.

Through eight games, Springdale’s defense has been a big reason for its success.

“It has started with the defense,” coach Cesareo Sanchez said. “With Andrew and Roman and Bryson (Andrews) at sweeper, filling in the hole left by Matt Taliani, along with everyone else, our level of play is around the same level of play as last year.”

Their defense isn’t the only thing keeping the Dynamos afloat. After losing Mike Mitchell and Ephrain Duku, who combined for 39 goals last season, to graduation, the Dynamos have replaced them with young talent.

After scoring eight goals and tallying seven assists as a freshman last year, Chris Mitchell once again is making an impact in the midfield with six goals and eight assists. But the big surprise for people outside of Springdale has been freshman striker Billy Lawrence.

The talented forward has 13 goals this season to go with four assists as he’s leads the team in scoring.

“We knew that he had decent skills, but coming to the varsity is a different level,” Sanchez said. “For everyone else, he was a surprise, but now everyone knows him and his skills are there, and he’s going to continue to improve.”

Just a year ago, the Dynamos were quite talented as well. They finished with an overall record of 17-5, they captured a share of their section title with Carlynton, and they streaked into the WPIAL Class 1A semifinals on a nine-game winning streak.

They went on to lose to Greensburg Central Catholic, 4-2, in the semifinals, and then again in the PIAA quarterfinals, 1-0. Although those losses are in the past, they still haven’t disappeared for the Dynamos. They are using them as a little extra fuel this season to see how far they can go with the talented roster that they have.

“Basically, every practice, especially when we hear about them and how good they are doing, we keep a good eye on them and it fuels us,” Liberati said. “We feel like we should have won that state playoff game against them. Then sharing the section with Carlynton, that’s also extra motivation for us and we don’t want that to happen again.”

Even with the hot start, the Dynamos don’t want to get ahead of themselves.

“We had a meeting, and we said ‘Yes, we are 8-0, but we have room for improvement at all times,’ ” Sanchez said. “We aren’t saying ‘Oh, we’re undefeated. We are winning. We don’t have to continue to work. No, today we are working on something different. No matter how good you are, as a team or individually, you always have room for improvement.”

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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