Strong season gives jolt of energy to Carlynton soccer program

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Thursday, October 31, 2019 | 9:11 PM


When Nick Showman took over the Carlynton boys soccer team three years ago, something was missing.

The program didn’t have the energy it had in the past.

But the Cougars found that spark this season. Carlynton finished the season with a 17-4 record and reached the WPIAL Class A consolation game for the first time since 2000.

“I played at South Fayette and remember Carlynton being a team you never wanted to see,” Showman said. “They were always tough and skilled. They’re a feisty team. When I got here, that energy was lacking. I wanted to bring that back, and it took us a few years to achieve it.”

The Cougars’ season came to a close Oct. 30 when they fell to Springdale, 2-1, in the WPIAL Class A consolation game. The Cougars trailed the Dynamos, 1-0, after one half of play. Carnel Kerr scored on a penalty kick with 12 minutes to play, but Springdale scored the go-ahead goal with 5:40 left.

It was the second straight loss for the team. Carlynton fell to Winchester Thurston, 3-0, in the WPIAL semifinals. The loss to the Bears snapped a 12-game winning streak for Carlynton that dated to Sept. 16.

Carlynton topped Serra Catholic, 1-0, and Seton-La Salle, 3-1, in the opening rounds of the WPIAL playoffs.

The extended playoff run came after one of the best Carlynton soccer seasons in recent history. The Cougars won 15 games in the regular season, including going 10-2 in Section 3-A play to finish atop of the standings. It was the first section title for the team since 2014.

The 17 wins were the most wins by a Carlynton team since the 2007 squad won 16 games.

“This team just has different energy,” Showman said. “They are a family. They look out for each other. It has been a refreshing experience coaching this group of guys.”

The goal in the consolation game gave Kerr 45 on the season — a new single-season record for the program. Junior Demetrious Howe was second on the team with 20 goals.

The Cougar defense was ferocious this season with 10 shutouts. The stout defense started with senior keeper Nick Hunter and senior defender Mark Phillips, but Carlynton had strong performances from a batch of young defenders as well. That included junior Ryon Fagon, sophomores Ethan O’Brien and Owen Schriver, and freshman Simon Schriver.

“It starts with the senior leadership we get from (Hunter),” Showman said. “Our back four came into the season pretty inexperienced. They are athletic, smart and tough. It has been an overall team effort.”

For Showman, reaching the WPIAL final four is an exclamation point on an outstanding season. But the coach hopes it is a springboard to something more.

“It’s massive,” Showman said. “For me, it’s all about the future. I don’t want to be a two-year wonder. I want to do it every year.”

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