Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Strong Early Play by Vincentian Surprises Many

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Strong Early Play by Vincentian Surprises Many

Article excerpt

A few coaches did not think the rebuilding Vincentian Academy boys soccer team would be as good as it is at 7-1-2 through 10 games.

Coaches have even told first-year coach Mike Haberman this.

"I don't think anyone expected us to be this good," Haberman said. "I even had two or three coaches tell me that."

The Royals had to replace five starters who graduated, one to football and one to cross country. The departed starters included two All-WPIAL players and four all-section players. Then, of course, there is the matter of dealing with a first-year coach.

The Royals went from having one freshman on the roster last year to 12 this year. Overall, there are 14 new players playing soccer on Vincentian's 28-player roster. Despite the significant attrition, the Royals have still produced a 7-1-2 record.

Even more impressive than the record is who Vincentian is playing. It was the only Class A school in the season-opening six- team Belle Vernon Area tournament. The Royals took third place, knocking off West Mifflin Area and Belle Vernon and losing to Ringgold.

"We figured we would find out what we were made out of pretty quick in that tournament," Haberman said. "It was tough at first. When we went in, we knew what we were getting into. We hung together pretty well."

Vincentian also won, 2-1, at Greensburg Central Catholic and opened Class A Section 2 play with a 2-0 win against Riverview.

The section win against Riverview was important after the Royals lost to Riverview last year in the second-to-last section match of the season. The loss ended up costing Vincentian a share of the section title.

No returning players this year scored more than two goals for Vincentian last season. Considering what he had, Haberman made sure his team had a defensive mindset going into games.

"We lost all our firepower," Haberman said. "We don't have the big strikers, so we play it close to the vest and play off other peoples mistakes to score our goals. …

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