Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seton-Lasalle: Small Bench, Big Hearts

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seton-Lasalle: Small Bench, Big Hearts

Article excerpt

The Seton-LaSalle girls' soccer team may be few in numbers, but it is big in heart, according to the Rebels' first-year Coach Shelley Thropp.

"We don't have a team with a lot of depth and great individual talent, but I'd rather coach a team that has as much heart as this team does," Thropp said. "No matter who we play against, our girls are going to play hard for each other and they're going to play hard for their school. After a 4-1 win over North Catholic on Monday, Seton was 7-4-1 overall, 5-2-1 in Section 4-AA. There are only 16 players in the program.

Despite the low turnout, the Rebels have been one of the top programs in WPIAL Class AA for several years. They are shooting for their fourth straight playoff appearance. That is remarkable, considering Seton has had four coaches in four seasons.

Thropp took over the team this season for M.J. Ball, who is also the Seton boys' coach. Ball handled the girls' team on an interim basis last year when the coach who was hired by the Seton administration in the spring of 1998, had to step down two weeks prior to the season-opener because of work conflicts.

"I've coached classic soccer with M.J. [through the St. Thomas More cup program] so I knew they had a good program," said Thropp, who played soccer at Seton about a decade ago. "I still think we have a good chance to make the playoffs. These players are a good bunch of kids. Seton La Salle's girls were 11-10 overall last year, finishing tied for second place with Steel Valley. The Rebels defeated Jeannette, 2-0, in the first round of the playoffs before losing to eventual WPIAL champion Center, 3-0, in the quarterfinals.

The team must continue to overcome obstacles. The school's field is being renovated, so the boys' and girls' teams must play their home games at Moore Field in Brookline or Our Lady Grace in Scott Township.

Seton-LaSalle features five seniors who are three- or four-year starters - center midfielders Lauren Susco (12 goals) and Megan Little, stopper Jaymie Jedlick, sweeper Alexis Demhoff and forward Valerie Ducouer, who has scored 11 goals.

"They've been to the playoffs every year and one of the things I like about the seniors is they don't put the underclassmen down," Thropp said. …

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