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Western PA will be well-represented on college men’s soccer’s biggest stage

Photo courtesy Indiana University Athletics

Western PA will be well-represented on college men’s soccer’s biggest stage

The College Cup, the NCAA Soccer’s version of the Final Four is the biggest stage for the collegiate game, and in the same season when Pitt has reached this stage for the first time, there’s also additional representation of players with ties to Western Pennsylvania who are on rosters for two of the other schools, Marshall and Indiana.

Pitt features four players who competed in the WPIAL (PIAA’s District 7): Luke Peperak (Hounds Academy & Connellsville HS), Luke Mort (Hounds Academy & Greensburg Central Catholic), Anthony Harding (Hounds Academy & Norwin HS) and Dom Reiter (Beadling SC & Quaker Valley HS).

In addition, Indiana’s roster includes freshman Nate Ward, who played at Greensburg Central Catholic and with Beadling Soccer Club.

The school which has been the Cinderella story of this year’s NCAA tournament has been the Marshall Thundering Herd, who include a few more players from our region and/or have played with local clubs on their roster, including:  Anthony Rowan (Hounds Academy & Connellsville HS), Jacob Adams (Hounds Academy & Westmont Hilltop HS, Johnstown), Austin Rocke (Hounds Academy & Mars HS) along with Collin Mocyunas, who is from Morgantown, WV but was a product of Arsenal FC of PA.

Local Connections: Area Players at College Cup 

Luke Mort (15) and Luke Peperak (25) photo courtesy Pitt Athletics

Pitt

Luke Peperak (Freshman, Forward) / Luke Mort (Redshirt Freshman, Forward/Midfielder) 

We recently featured Peperak and Mort, who have been key players off the bench for Pitt as part of their rotation of attacking midfielders, wingers and forwards.

Each scored goals this season. Mort came on as a sub in the second half against Louisville to score his first collegiate goal with a fabulous strike from just outside the box.  Peperak’s first goal came late in the first half of Pitt’s spring regular season finale, with a header after making a run into the box after a service from Alexander Dexter.

Two Lukes: Local standouts grow into key roles with Pitt

Anthony Harding (Redshirt Sophomore, Defender) 

Harding has made three appearances in each of his first two seasons at Pitt. In his first appearance at Pitt, as a redshirt freshman, Harding scored his first career goal against Howard on October 7, 2019.  In the 2019 postseason, Harding was thrust into a starting role at left back in the NCAA tournament against Lehigh. He also started against Georgetown too. Harding has overcome injuries in his career, as he had to miss out on his senior year at Norwin High School, but has made the most of his opportunity at Pitt.

Harding makes most of surprise start for Pitt in NCAA tournament

Dom Reiter (Freshman, Defender) 

In his freshman season at Pitt, Reiter has not made any appearances, as he’s been listed as a defender on the team roster.

A dynamic scorer and playmaker in High School, he led Quaker Valley High School to both WPIAL and PIAA titles.  He led the Quakers to a 24-2 record in his senior season, registering 55 goals and 24 assists while tallying a goal and an assist in the Class 2A state championship match victory. For his career at Quaker Valley, he posted 85 goals and 53 assists.

Quaker Valley’s Dom Reiter Named Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year

Indiana 

Nate Ward (Freshman, Forward/Midfielder) 

Nate Ward led Greensburg Central Catholic to WPIAL title in 2019 (photo courtesy Ed Thompson)

Ward has had a productive freshman campaign with the Hoosiers this Spring, as he’s been a part of the team’s rotation. He scored his first-career goal in a 3-0 victory over Northwestern and added first-career assist in the 3-0 result over Rutgers.

“None (of the other programs) measure up to the history and experience that comes with IU,” Ward told Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after making his commitment. “They have the most NCAA championships, the most college cup appearances, the most NCCAA tournament victories… and more. Coach Yeagley and his father, (former Indiana head coach) Jerry Yeagley, form one of the most humble and successful coaching staffs in college soccer.”

If you might recall, in November 2019, Ward helped lead Greensburg Central Catholic to the WPIAL title by scoring the lone goal in beating Winchester Thurston, 1-0 at Highmark Stadium.

Ward’s brilliant strike lifts Greensburg Central Catholic to WPIAL title

Marshall 

Collin Mocyunas, Redshirt Junior, Defender

The Morgantown, WV native has been a key part of the Thundering Herd’s back line, registering 15 starts in 16 games, as he’s among the team’s leaders in minutes played.

Anthony Rowan

A defender from Connellsville, Rowan has made one appearance for the Thundering Herd, playing 49 minutes against WV Tech in February.

Jacob Adams (Freshman, Midfielder)

Adams has made 15 appearances and started three matches in his freshman year.  In his third match in February against ETSU, Adams notched an assist.

Austin Rocke (Freshman, Defender) 

A product of the outstanding Mars High School program and the Hounds Academy, Rocke has not made any appearances as part of Marshall’s talent roster.

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).

Pittsburgh Division I College Soccer Schedule (Spring 2021)

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