WPIAL champ Owen Christopher of Norwin claims TribLive Westmoreland boys soccer player of year award
Saturday, November 25, 2023 | 5:00 PM
Player of the Year
Sr., Midfielder, Norwin
Call him the cornerstone, the building block, the pillar.
Whatever the case, Owen Christopher held the Norwin boys soccer team up as the Knights made history.
Norwin’s world was more interesting with Christopher in it. The Knights won their first WPIAL championship with Christopher holding down the midfield, directing traffic and steering fruitful possessions. Norwin (17-6) also reached the PIAA Class 4A semifinals for the first time.
For his efforts, Christopher is the TribLive Westmoreland Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
While those gifted players had indelible seasons, they did not bring the all-around game that Christopher did.
Norwin bounced through the playoffs like it was destined to win, taking three games in penalty kicks, including one over WPIAL top seed and playoff antagonist Seneca Valley in the quarterfinals as the No. 8 seed.
He finished with 13 goals and five assists.
And, as coach Scott Schuchert listed among his final stats, “1 WPIAL championship.”
“We (the seniors) had talked about winning a WPIAL championship together for years,” Christopher said. “For it to come true, and in such dramatic fashion, felt like a dream. It’s surreal to me that we were the first to ever do it. We hit some road blocks in the regular season, but we jelled at the right time.”
Christopher was an all-section, All-WPIAL and all-state selection. He also made the WPIAL Class 4A all-star game.
“It would’ve been very easy for us to get complacent after upsetting Seneca Valley, but we worked even harder after that quarterfinal victory because we felt that we were now the team to beat,” Christopher said.
“Going out of the state tournament in the way that we did really stung, but the drama with the uniforms and the ball boys doesn’t take away from the fact that we just didn’t play our best soccer.”
Schuchert said Christopher and Scalise solidified their place among the best players in Norwin history.
“Their dynamic partnership is inseparable,” the coach said. “Off the field, two of the most likable people and amazing young men. On the field, their performance reminded me of gladiators, captivating the crowd with their talent and determination. Together, they achieved numerous victories that resonated with the entire community.”
Christopher wants this benchmark season to have a lasting effect on the team.
“Hopefully, we gave all future Knights something to look up to and look forward to,” Christopher said. “That is by far the most important thing for me.”
Jr., F, Latrobe
Leading goal scorer for the Wildcats, who set a school record with 12 wins and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2020. … All-WPIAL player finished with 17 goals and 12 assists.
Jr., MF, Franklin Regional
Used his speed and control to keep possessions going while providing another scoring weapon for the Panthers. … All-WPIAL selection scored 14 goals and had 10 assists.
Jr., F, Franklin Regional
A constant scoring threat on top of the formation, Christafano scored 15 goals and dished 11 assists to the Panthers and earned all-WPIAL Class 3A honors. … Helped 11th-seeded Franklin Regional reach WPIAL semifinals.
Jr., F, Norwin
Led the WPIAL Class 4A champion Knights with 23 goals and added 10 assists. … Had three goals in the playoffs as Norwin reached the state semifinals.
Jr., F, Belle Vernon
Second-leading goal scorer in the WPIAL with 49. … Was an all-WPIAL selection and the Section 3-2A player of the year. … Has 199 points and 86 goals for his career.
Sr., MF, Mt. Pleasant
An all-WPIAL Class 2A selection, Rivardo has been one of the top goal scorers in the area for much of his career. … Finished with 19 goals and nine assists, while tallying 61 careers goals and 28 assists.
Sr., GK, Norwin
A brick wall during a brilliant playoff surge, Scalise was a vital piece to the Knights’ championship puzzle. … An all-WPIAL selection despite missing five games due to injury, he posted 10 shutouts and won three shootouts in the playoffs.
Sr., F, Jeannette
Led WPIAL with 54 goals and garnered all-WPIAL, all-state and WPIAL 2A Player of the Year accolades. … A three-time all-WPIAL pick. … Finished his career third on the WPIAL’s all-time goals list with 162.
Sr., MF, Mt. Pleasant
A dangerous scoring threat from the perimeter with his range, Ulery had 10 goals and three assists for the Vikings, a playoff team. … Named to the All-WPIAL Class 2A list.
Jr., MF, Greensburg Central Catholic
High-energy player in the Centurions’ attack scored 15 goals and delivered six assists as GCC returned to WPIAL playoffs. … Had highlight-reel goal against Ligonier Valley.
Warren Agostoni, Fr., MF, Latrobe
Collin Barner, Jr., MF, Yough
Ben Bigi, Jr., F, Latrobe
Dylan Moyer, Jr., D, Norwin
George Bunovich, Jr., D, Norwin
Braden Crowe, So., MF, Hempfield
Austin Emery, Sr., MF, Jeannette
Dom Kaforey, Sr., D, Franklin Regional
Ben Luchs, Jr., MF, Penn-Trafford
Brandon Yeschenko, Jr., MF, Belle Vernon
Mason Yeschenko, Jr., D, Belle Vernon
Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at email@example.com.
More High School Soccer Boys• Nick White approved as Franklin Regional boys soccer coach
• PIAA discussing eliminating overtime in regular-season soccer games
• The Kiski School builds on success, wins 4th straight PAISAA championship
• Norwin’s Owen Christopher headlines 2023 Trib HSSN boys soccer all-stars
• Quaker Valley boys add to school’s soccer legacy with WPIAL, PIAA championship appearances