Westmoreland high school notebook: Lofty goals for new Penn-Trafford boys soccer coach

Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 7:59 PM

Sotiri Tsourekis played at a high level of soccer so he expects a high level of performance from the teams he coaches.

The new Penn-Trafford boys soccer coach is anxious to evaluate his players even with the fall season months away.

“I would like consistency and attention to detail,” Tsourekis said. “We want to do a top-down evaluation of what we have and where we need to build and reinforce our program.”

Tsourekis replaces Rick Nese, who resigned after five seasons. Nese went 55-30-4 with three WPIAL playoff appearances.

Penn-Trafford had a rare, down year last season as it finished 4-13.

The new coach guided the boys team at Keystone Oaks, his alma mater, for the past 10 years. He played for the Golden Eagles before taking his game to Pitt. Tsourekis later played professionally in Greece for A.E. Aigiou and Panaigaileos F.C.

Well-traveled and well-versed on the game, Tsourekis coaches and trains players in the Allegheny Force F.C.

“I look forward to working with the Penn-Trafford players and community to build a program we can all be proud of,” he said.

Stylistically, Tsourekis said the Warriors will play based on their skill-sets.

“We need to focus on how to make our team highly competitive for the long term,” he said, “which means a focus on defensive stability as well as an efficient and aggressive attack.”

Keystone Oaks had a record-setting season in 2018, finishing 15-2 with a perfect section record and reaching the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs.

“We made the playoffs consistently the last few years and have taken a languishing program and turned it into a consistent contender for the section championship and playoffs,” he said. “The 2018 team broke every KO soccer record that existed. This happened over time with the dedication of the players, coaches and the greater soccer community.”

Big 33 bound

Westmoreland County had no shortage of outstanding linemen this past football season, and two of them were selected to play in the state’s top all-star game.

Ligonier Valley’s Michael Petrof and Hempfield’s Cole Graham made the Big 33 Football Classic, set for May 25 at Landis Field in Harrisburg.

Team Pennsylvania will play Team Maryland.

Petrof is a 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle who is headed to Navy. He is the third Big 33 pick in Ligonier Valley history, joining Alec Bloom (2014) and Tim Clark (1980).

Bloom and Petrof are the only players in the history of the Heritage Conference to make the Big 33.

Graham, who is believed to be the first Hempfield player chosen for the Big 33 since quarterback Matt Knizner in 1983, is a 6-6, 270-pound defensive end who will play at St. Francis (Pa.).

Another Hempfield quarterback, Dick Vidmer, also played in the all-star game in 1963.

State hoops

The WPIAL basketball playoffs are just getting going but it’s not too early to look at the PIAA postseason, which follows district play. The WPIAL will once again use a follow-the-winner format for entrance into the PIAA playoffs after a certain number of teams earn automatic bids.

Teams that reach the WPIAL finals can pull teams back into the state bracket.

For example, if a team loses in the quarterfinals in a class that takes 5 teams, that team will make states if the team it lost to wins the WPIAL title. In other cases, teams can make states simply by reaching the quarterfinals, based on what other teams do farther down the bracket.

The number of qualifiers are as follows: Boys — 5 (Class 6A), 6 (5A), 5 (4A), 7 (3A), 6 (2A), and 6 (A); Girls — 5 (6A), 5 (5A), 7 (4A), 6 (3A), 6 (2A), and 6 (A).

Swimming record

Mt. Pleasant senior Zak Koch broke a school record at the IUP Invitational in the 100-yard breaststroke. His time of 1:03.41 edged past the previous mark, which stood for 23 years. It was held by Brian Garcher, who posted a 1:03.93 in 1997.


Franklin Regional senior football standout Justin Johns, a fullback and middle linebacker, will further his playing career at Washington & Jefferson.

  • Jason Fazekas, a senior tight end and middle linebacker at Mt. Pleasant, is headed to Westminster.
  • Penn-Trafford tight end/defensive end Peyton Kelly committed to play at Allegheny.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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