Win in section opener boosts confidence for Penn Hills boys soccer

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Sunday, September 12, 2021 | 10:01 AM


The path to the WPIAL Class 3A boys soccer playoffs is a road the Penn Hills boys team is working on paving.

The Indians have found ways to avoid letting potholes sink the early part of their schedule. Playing without senior Lenny Duncan, Penn Hills found a way to score twice and win its Section 4 opener 2-0 over Obama Academy last Tuesday at Nate Ferraco Field.

Senior Charlie Rosemeyer, who scored his first varsity goal in the team’s opener, scored again against the Eagles.

Starting section play with a win supercharged Penn Hills’ confidence.

“It really boosts it,” said Rosemeyer, a central defender. “That’s the first opening section win I’ve had in high school. It’s a big boost in our confidence after so many seasons of not doing great.”

The Indians were scheduled to play another section match last Thursday at West Mifflin.

Beating Obama Academy allowed Penn Hills (1-2, 1-0) to equal its section win total from last season and halt a 15-game losing streak.

“To be honest with you, we were just clicking,” Indians coach Ryan Hankey said. “We had to do a lot of maneuvering with Lenny Duncan out. It was next man up, go out there and prove yourself. Ari Silverman went from not playing much to playing the entire game.”

Adversity is something the Indians already had seen a fair share of before section play started. Penn Hills played most of its season-opening 2-1 loss to Leechburg down a man because of an early red card. In the Indians’ next matchup, a 5-1 loss to Shaler, they conceded three goals in the first 20 minutes.

When things turned around against Obama, Hankey could see the progress. Most of his players were forced into the lineup as underclassmen.

Against the Eagles, Penn Hills started playing like veterans.

“I could see a lot of balls going out of bounds, and our players realized it was off the other team and shielded possession to get the throw in,” Hankey said. “In the past, we would try to save the ball, and it would be out on us. They are keeping their composure, and if they make a mistake, they can redeem themselves on the next play.”

Rosemeyer was pleased with how Penn Hills attacked.

“I think we were aggressive to the ball,” he said. “We were confident in our passes, playing the ball to each other and generating some offense.”

Having a roster featuring grit will be important if Penn Hills wants to continue its progress. The Indians will play eight of their first 10 games away from home.

The most important thing is the team stays together.

“Everyone is talking,” Hankey said. “They are working on communicating from back to front. Everyone is communicating and keeping a positive attitude.”

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