More High School soccer awards were announced by the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association on Thursday.
After a great showing in the state finals with eight WPIAL (District 7) teams competing in every one of the PIAA Championship games, with five winning titles, now four different WPIAL coaches are taking home another earned medal.
In the 1A boys classification, Adam Brownold in his 19th season from Winchester Thurston won 1A Coach of the Year.
Not only did he win 1A WPIAL coach of the year, but Winchester Thurston School District announced on their Instagram account, the manger won United Soccer Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year for PA, NY and NJ.
“We brought back a veteran group,” Brownold said. “After losing in the WPIAL finals last year, that really motivated this group.”
Brownold led his team to a 23-0-1 overall record winning the WPIAL final 3-1 against Greensburg Central Catholic and won the PIAA State title 1-0 (2OT) vs. Faith Christian.
“All-WPIAL players Oliver Daboo and Alex Hauskrecht controlled out middle and possession. Otto Graham in net with Massi Memoli and Thomas Drzal on defense were very strong as we had 16 shutouts all season.”
The team ran a 4-4-2 and with their depth, had the ability to trap a team in the final third. “This team was special.”
In the 2A boys classification, J.J. Veshio of Quaker Valley won the 2A Coach of the Year award. His team went 23-2-0 winning WPIAL’s for the 10th time in school history. They beat North Catholic 5-0 and then went on to beat Lewisburg 1-0 (PK’s) in the PIAA State Final.
With players like Rowan Kriebel, Blaise Burns, Keller Chamovitz, Will Dunda and Ryan Edwards, the team was able to play with pace and hold onto the ball. “We played a 4-2-3-1. We locked down defensively with our two defensive mids, but our outside backs were able to gain forward offensively.”
This isn’t the first time a coach from Quaker Valley won this award as Gene Klein did in 1996 and 2005. Also, more recently, Andrew Marshall a former Riverhounds player won the award as the bench boss for QV in 2017 and 2019.
“It’s beyond humbling,” Veshio said. “I’ve had the privilege to coach with Klein and Marshall. Everything I know about coaching is from them.”
QV wasn’t able to make a push in the playoffs in the 2020 year due to their season ending to covid. But, after the long wait, they got it all done in 2021. “I just wanted to boys to have a good experience this season. We wanted to make a big impact in the WPIAL and PIAA and I think we did that.”
At the 3A boys level, during Hampton’s special season, Matthew Mcawley won the award. He was also the 3A WPIAL Coach of the Year. His team went 23-1-0 and was the first team to beat the undefeated West Allegheny squad in the WPIAL final 1-0. They finished it off on a high note beating Archbishop Wood 1-0 to claim the PIAA State Championship.
This is the second time a Hampton manager has won the Coach of the Year and state title as Chuck Kelley did in 2010.
Hampton played a offensive style in a 4-3-3 formation. With 13 seniors, the group had been playing this way the past three seasons. “We understood this play style. Our defense was able to build out of the back,” Mcawley said. “We liked to push wide and take people on and cross the ball in.”
Zach Panza played a huge role in the six (holding mid) Mcawley said, as he scored the game winning goal in both the WPIAL and PIAA final. “He’s always a player that shines in those moments. Since his sophomore year he’s had an impact. He took our penalty kicks, played great defense and helped us find those wins every game.”
Hampton was the only team to beat the talented West Allegheny all season. They did so in the WPIAL final and also winning 2-1 (PK’s) in the PIAA semifinal. “We watched film on them as we do for every playoff team we face.”
Coming into this year, Mcawley stated his seniors knew this was the year to do it all. “We came into this year knowing this is the seniors last shot. They’d been playing together for so long. It feels so good to have this success and the community in Hampton has supported us so much.”
And, on the girls side, the only WPIAL coach to be elected is Pennsylvania’s all-time girls soccer wins leader, Bill Pfeifer of Moon. Pfeifer is not new to this award as he was selected in 2013 and 2016.
“Each time I’ve been Coach of the Year, it has been with a different group of players with different needs, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. I realize players are student athletes as well so I coach a little different when needed.”
Recently, Moon won WPIAL’s in 2016 and 2017 but in 3A. “This year the players bought into the system,” Pfeifer said. “They wanted to prove they belonged in 4A.”
Pfeifer thanked the other coaches, players, boosters, trainers and administration in receiving his award. “Without them there is no WPIAL and State title.”
Moon played a 4-2-3-1 but basically revolved around their central midfielders into a 4-3-3.
Moon had an overall record of 20-1-1 beating Seneca Valley in the WPIAL final 3-0 and cruising to a PIAA State final 2-0 against Conestoga.