Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tigers, Coach Eager for More High School Girls Soccer

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tigers, Coach Eager for More High School Girls Soccer

Article excerpt

Second-year coach Danielle Baginski and her girls soccer team at North Allegheny High School both know about reaching the playoffs.

It's what happens in the playoffs that separates Baginski and her team's past experiences.

In her time coaching at Erie McDowell and Norwin, Baginski's teams routinely reached the PIAA playoffs. In 2009, her only year at Norwin, the Knights reached the WPIAL and PIAA semifinals.

When she arrived at North Allegheny last season, she asked the girls on her team if they could remember the last time North Allegheny moved into the second round of the WPIAL playoffs.

Nobody knew.

"They are excited ... they just want to make the playoffs," Baginski said. "I told them what is even more exciting is winning games in the playoffs."

North Allegheny last advanced beyond the first round in 2004. In 2005, '06, '07 and '09 the Tigers won a preliminary-round playoff game but could not advance past the first round.

After a second-place finish in Section 2-AAA the Tigers (11-6, 8- 4) will not have to worry about playing in a preliminary-round game this year.

WPIAL playoff pairings were expected to be announced Wednesday.

"It is my second season with the kids and you get to know them a little bit better," Baginski said.

"We call our players 'the cardiac kids' because every game for us is a nail-biter."

North Allegheny has played five overtime games this season, winning twice against Shaler Area and once against Pine-Richland and losing overtime games to Hampton and Canon-McMillan in a non- section match. Nine games overall were decided by one goal.

"We have won three games this season with seconds left on the clock," Baginski said. "We never have a break, it is game, practice, game. We can never take a minute to rest."

Coaching at McDowell and Norwin, Baginski was used to regular seasons that featured only a handful of marquee games. …

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