Sep. 5—The Penn-Trafford boys soccer team is used to being at or near the top of the section standings.
But the past three seasons, the Warriors were closer to the bottom than the top, and they finished with a 2-9 record in Section 3-4A and 3-9 overall. It has been three seasons since the Warriors have reached the WPIAL playoffs, and that was in 2017 when they finished 7-3-2 in the section and 11-4-2 overall. They fell to Butler in the first round.
But second-year coach Sotiri Tsourekis said he sees things turning around.
“The goal is to get the program back where it was four or five years ago,” Tsourekis said. “Last year, our season was shortened by covid-19, and we had three big injuries. Everyone is back, and we’re in better condition. I’m excited for the season.”
The Warriors are led by senior Nathan Schlessinger, who scored 10 goals. Schlessinger also is the kicker for the football team. He made the All-Section 3-4A first team.
Also back is senior goalkeeper A.J. Visco, who Tsourekis said is an unsung hero because of all the saves he’s made. The other senior Tsourekis is counting on is forward Conner Williams.
One player that Tsourekis is happy to have back is junior Brady Palisak, who was sidelined with injuries his freshman and sophomore seasons.
“I don’t think he’s played five games,” Tsourekis said. “He’s a really good player, and I’m excited to see what he can do. We’re going to have a young team, and hopefully we’ll jell and have a good season. We’re a work in progress.”
Junior midfielder Logan Swartz, junior midfielder Ben Luchs, junior midfielder Noah Brobst and sophomore defender Joe Ambrose are expected to play key roles.
Two freshmen that are expected to contribute according to the coach are midfielder J.J. Porter and defender Chad Pusateri.
“We’re looking for that success and we want to continue to build,” Tsourekis said.
Penn-Trafford’s section opponents are Norwin, Central Catholic, Hempfield, Connellsville, Allderdice and Latrobe.
The Warriors were scheduled to open the season Sept. 7 against Hempfield and then play host to Central Catholic on Sept. 9.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .