Thomas Jefferson soccer teams keep building playoff tradition

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Friday, October 18, 2019 | 5:33 PM


For the past half-decade, it’s been a given both Thomas Jefferson soccer teams would clinch a spot in the WPIAL playoffs.

Both achieved it again in 2019 for the sixth consecutive year.

The TJ boys ended up third in Section 4-AAA, finished the regular season 9-5-4 and received the No. 10 seed for the playoffs.

The Jaguars faced No. 7 West Allegheny Oct. 19 in the first round.

“I am quite pleased with the team’s performance this season,” boys coach Michael “Doc” Kulish said. “When you lose the caliber of players we had the previous year, all I can hope is that the players coming back are willing to work hard, continue to improve and develop their skills to help the team in any way they can, which they have done.

“Once the playoffs start, all 16 teams have the same 0-0 record. Our section and out-of-section schedule is very strong, which helps to prepare us for the competitive spirit of the playoffs.”

The TJ girls also placed third in Section 3-AAA, compiled a record of 11-6-1 and landed the No. 9 playoff seed. The Jaguars opposed No. 8 Montour Oct. 21 in the first round.

“For the most part, I am thrilled with our season,” girls coach Jason Vozar said. “Our kids work very hard and are focused. We are a younger group but seem to get better each game.”

TJ’s boys team was led during the regular season by the one-two punch of senior Justin Finnegan (15 goals, seven assists) and sophomore Marshall Richter (eight goals, nine assists), both midfielders.

Other leading scorers included sophomore forward Luke Giger, senior Owen Richter and junior Jack Sella. Richter and Sella are midfielders.

Other integral players this season included A.J. Getsy, a sophomore goalkeeper; seniors Will Morano, Dylan Sullivan and Marcus Empey and junior Trystan Alava on defense; sophomore midfielders Michael Ngugi, Jordan Chiprich and Bill Marshall and junior midfielder Anthony Bekavac. Marshall and Bekavac also were listed as defenders.

“I would like to recognize my coaching staff,” Kulish said, “in that they have been excellent in adding to the technical development and maturation of our players.”

The Jaguars’ assistants were Michael Kulish III, Rob Shoemaker and Brian Thatcher.

“Their countless hours of training, preparation and enthusiasm for the game have made our team worthy of entering the playoffs,” Kulish said.

For the TJ girls team, the late-season lineup consisted of Maddison Sippey, a junior goalkeeper; seniors Julia Saltzman and Demi Kondos, sophomore Elana Kondos and freshman Jordan Sinclair on defense; senior Dalaney Ranallo, junior Ava Lutz and freshman Emma Martinis at midfield; and senior Alaina Mulvihill, junior Emily Kane and freshman Bella Vozar at forward.

Key reserves included sophomores Hailey Krawczyk and Ashley Sukal plus freshmen Morgan Allan and Cam Gore.

Ranallo (21 goals, nine assists), Bella Vozar (nine goals, eight assists), Mulvihill and Lutz led the Jaguars offensively.

“It has been a total team effort this season,” Vozar said. “Everyone on our roster has really stepped up and contributed at some point. We started three freshmen who have really been productive. And our seniors have been outstanding.”

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