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Despite No. 1 seed in conference playoffs, Point Park women’s season ends due to COVID-19

From Point Park University Athletic Department report

Point Park University women’s soccer had its season end on Tuesday on a COVID-No Contest in the River States Conference Women’s Soccer Championship semifinals. The COVID-No Contest designation set forth by the NAIA is for games that are cancelled due to COVID-19 and will not be made up.

No. 1 seed Point Park was to play No. 4 Asbury (Ky.) University (7-2-1 RSC) in the semifinals on Tuesday at Highmark Stadium. Asbury moves on to the RSC finals April 10 versus the winner of No. 6 WVU Tech (4-4 RSC) at No. 2 IU East (8-2 RSC).

The Pioneers end the year 8-6 overall, which included an 8-2 mark in River States Conference. The Pioneers claimed the No. 1 playoff seed by winning 8 of 10 conference games on the year, all of which were in the fall season. Point Park also challenged itself outside of conference playing four NAIA nationally ranked teams throughout the season.

“It’s very unfortunate that our young ladies couldn’t finish what they started,” said Point Park Director of Athletics John Ashaolu. “They worked very hard throughout the season to earn the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, and I am very disappointed that they are not able to capitalize on the opportunity to compete.

“But as always, the health of our student-athletes is the most important priority. I know that they will use this to fuel their preparations in the offseason to get ready for the next season. With coach John Newbery heading into his second season, I know that he will have the team ready to pick off from where they left off and challenge for a conference championship.”

The 2020-21 season started out in mid-August with preseason camp. After more than six months of games and nearly daily training in the long season over the course of two semesters, first-year Point Park head coach John Newbery had these thoughts on the year as a whole:

“This year, many unknown factors were at play,” said Newbery. “Between a lot of new faces in the soccer program, a new coach, and COVID, the team showed their character by persevering through a rigorous fall, eventually earning the No. 1 seed for postseason. As we went through the spring, the team again showed its strength of character by challenging multiple top-ranked teams, not being scared to push themselves and building a foundation that will last.

“It’s a frustrating and anticlimactic way to end the season as we all want to compete. But the safety of the players and the opposing team is always at the forefront of our minds. To my seniors, I know this is a heartbreaking way to end, but we all are so thankful for your servant leadership and sacrifices that made this a special year. For the returning players that stuck it out in the spring, we will use this as a spring board and rally cry to go into the next season and build upon our success. The future is bright for Point Park University Women’s Soccer.”

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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