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Pittsburgh soccer community mourns loss of ‘absolutely great, great kid’

Photo by Ed Thompson

The Pittsburgh Soccer community is mourning the loss of one of its own.

On Friday morning, the tragic news was revealed that Kaitlyn E. “Moe” Rosensteel, 18, of Donora, and her friend Brendan A. McGowan, 18, of North Huntingdon, were the two individuals who were struck and killed by lightning at 4 p.m. on Thursday while fishing at a Westmoreland County park,

Rosensteel was the daughter of Ed Rosensteel, who’s been a contributor to Pittsburgh Soccer Now, assisting with high school coverage and college recruiting news.

“She was just an absolutely great, great kid,” said Rob Fabean, director of club administration for the Beadling Soccer Club, expressed to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday. “She was a model player for the teams that I coached, never was an issue, never caused any problems, fit in with everybody, was liked by everybody.”

Fabean coached Rosensteel for most of her life, he said, but the most recent was for the Bridgeville-based club. He said one of her favorite things to do was to try new, unique restaurants with her family, and that they would always try a new pizza restaurant when the family traveled to other states for soccer.

“My heart sank” when he heard the news of her death, Fabean said. “To find out that someone is gone from something as tragic as a lightning strike, I can’t even comprehend.”

Kaitlyn, who was a captain for Ringgold’s girls team, had committed to enroll and play soccer at West Virginia Wesleyan University in the Fall.

On Friday, a GoFundMe page was created Friday by co-workers of Ed and his wife Shelly Rosensteel, who both work at Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township. As of Saturday morning, $15,925 has already been raised toward a goal of $20,000 to assist with costs of funeral.

Kaitlyn ‘Moe’ Rosensteel, with her family when she signed letter of intent to play for West Virginia Wesleyan University

A message from GoFundMe page organizers read:

“Although no amount of money will ever ease the loss of a child and sister. We hope that Shelley, Ed, Keli, and Clay are comforted by the fact that so many people love them and are praying for them during this difficult time. Love to all that have donated and shared this (GoFundMe) post. Please continue to keep this loving family in your thoughts and prayers today and always!”

An autopsy was conducted Friday to determine the cause and manner of death. The coroner’s office did not release information as of 10:45 p.m. on the results, but the Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office stated earlier that the injuries they suffered were consistent with being hit by lightning.

The two teenagers were found below a large, splintered tree, the coroner’s office stated.

Rosensteel had recently graduated from Ringgold High School near Monongahela, and McGowan was a graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic High School in Hempfield.

The Anthony L. Massafra Funeral Home, 40 Second St. Ext., Donora, is handling Rosensteel’s funeral arrangements.

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of the Valley, One Park Road, Donora.

Information on funeral arrangements for McGowan was not available Friday night.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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