Mckeesport, PA. – The Penn State Greater Allegheny Soccer team fell just short in the first round of the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs last season falling to Penn State New Kensington by the score of 4-2. It was the third straight season in which GA was able to reach the PSUAC playoffs and they are back and looking to do it again here in the 2017/18 season.
They were lead last season by Marin Marina (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin) who ranked in the top five in the PSUAC last season in goals (21), shots (78), and points (47). Marina is joined by a core of three other seniors including Jake Thieret (Port Vue, PA/South Allegheny), Nick Andrews (Penn Hills, PA/Serra Catholic) and Nick Jugovic (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin) as they look to continue the legacy set before them and put Soccer back on top.
Marina was the undisputed leader of last season’s team leading the team in goals, points, shots, and shots on goal. The Pittsburgh, PA native also ranked second on the team with 5 assists and participated in 13 matches. Three of the four returning seniors for GA this season ranked in the top five on the team in scoring last season as Thieret was tied for second on the team with 16 goals and Andrews was fourth on the team with eight goals.
While the main core is still intact, the team is without their star goal keeper from a year ago Prakash Wagley. Wagley was third in the PSUAC in goals against (26) and goals against average (2.41). He will be replaced this season by freshman Colinn Bucsok (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson). Buscok was sensational in his senior season for Thomas Jefferson as he posted seven shut outs and lea his team to the first 11-0 start in school history. He was also named All-Section 4 in his senior year with Thomas Jefferson.
In total, the Lions have seven guys returning from last year’s team and are looking to help lead a new crop of talent, including Bucsok, to a fourth straight PSUAC playoff appearance. One of the returners who will be seeing more playing time in 2017/18 is Junior Belmo Nurkic (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin). Nurkic saw action in eight games last season, seven starts, and scored two points on 23 shots on net.
The Lions have a new man at the helm as well as interim head coach Nate Odim takes over for 2017/18. Odim has many years of experience coaching in soccer. He comes to Penn State Greater Allegheny after spending the last four seasons as the head girl’s varsity soccer coach at Ellis High School. Odim was the President of the Rochester Youth Soccer Assosiation (RYSA) and a club head coach and he is also a licensed WPIAL referee.
The Penn State Greater Allegheny Soccer team opens up their season on Thursday September 7th at 4 p.m. when they travel to take on Mount Aloysius. Their first home match will be on Sunday September 24th when they face off against Penn State Schuylkill at 1 p.m.