In 2020, Riverview High School did not field a varsity girls soccer team, which was fully understandable that a small school with limited enrollment would take a one-year hiatus, especially considering the circumstances brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One student who was a freshman at the time, Lola Abraham, would have to hone her craft and use that time in the Fall, usually set aside mostly for playing soccer with school teams, to work on various aspects of her game with the Riverhounds Development Academy (RDA), where she’s excelled in ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) competition.
Abraham, a Pitt commit, eventually would get a chance to not only get on the field and play with her high school teammates, but in just three seasons, she helped turn the program around — culminating with a remarkable 2023 campaign, where she led the Riverview to its first WPIAL championship appearance and a runner-up finish in the WPIAL and PIAA Class A playoffs.
“My sophomore and junior years, we were just trying to get girls back into the program, get under their feet, playing again,” Lola added.
“We had to build the program from the ground up,” Sean Abraham, Riverview’s Head Coach, and Lola’s father, told Pittsburgh Soccer Now.
“Even though the program had existed before, we were putting the pieces back together.”
The biggest piece of the puzzle had clearly been Abraham’s daughter, Lola, who played locally with the Riverhounds Development Academy and began her high school playing career as a sophomore, already on the radar of Division I top programs.
“And, this year (in 2023), I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” Lola Abraham said.
The Raiders went 5-11-0 in 2021, and saw improvement, to 9-7-0 in 2022.
To start the 2023 campaign, Riverview lost to traditional power Greensburg Central Catholic, 4-3, in extra time.
Despite the loss, that was a match where the Raiders started to believe they could have a special season.
“We used that game as a learning experience,” Lola Abraham stated.
“Going into that match, we knew it would be tough, but from that point on, we used that to build and grow as a team, and obviously we were able to do that.”
As a senior, and recently announcing her commitment to attend and play soccer at University of Pittsburgh, Abraham took the initiative to take on the goal scoring load for the Class 1A school.
In a remarkable season, where Riverview essentially broke through out of nowhere, in one of traditionally toughest WPIAL Class 1A sections, having to face both Greensburg Central Catholic and Springdale four times in the regular season, Abraham spearheaded the Raiders charge to the best season in the school’s girls soccer program history.
She led the WPIAL in scoring the last two seasons (77 goals in 2023, 56 in 2022), and had 176 total goals in her three seasons lettering for Riverview, where she also competes in basketball and track and field.
“Thank you so much for this honor,” Abraham wrote on her Twitter account.
“This award is meaningful to so many, including myself, as it pays tribute to such an amazing person, Moe Rosensteel, who has had an impact on so many. I am very honored and grateful to be a part of Moe’s legacy. Throughout the season, both on and off the field, I have worked to play and honor Moe. However, this was not possible without the support of my teammates and coaches.”
Beyond her High School career, her excellence on the pitch with the Riverhounds Academy’s ECNL team, where she’s been recognized and has numerous accolades including being named to ECNL All-Conference Second Team in 2021, participating in 2021 U16 United States Youth National Player Pool Camps, 2020 U 15 United States Youth National Team Camp in Florida, ECNL Conference Selection Program (Ohio Valley), US Club Soccer ID2 and the United Soccer League Experience.
Abraham’s abilities on the field, combined with her leadership impressed Pitt’s coaching staff, and she was offered a chance to join the growing number of outstanding recent former WPIAL players who are with Pitt’s program, including two fellow Moe Rosensteel Award recipients: Sarah Schupansky (2020) and Ellie Coffield (2019).
“The reason I chose Pitt is because of the talented coaching staff and team that is very welcoming and family-oriented, as well as the excellent academic opportunities.”
Other Moe Rosensteel Award winners include Hailey Longwell (2022) and Kasey Salopek (2021).
Abraham and her high school teammates went as far as they possibly could, finishing their unprecedented campaign in the PIAA Championship match, where they would lose, 5-1. to a very strong Dock Mennonite squad. Despite being marked throughout that match, Abraham still remained dangerous, and used her playmaking skills to set up Riverview’s lone goal, coming from a perfectly placed, pinpoint cross deep in the corner with a pair of defenders surrounding her.
Even with all the goals scored and individual accolades, Abraham’s greatest impact and most satisfying aspect of her senior season may have been in the community where she and her family live, where she’s grown up.
Abraham’s leadership on the field and her talents helped rebuild a program that now is in a better place than it was when she started in high school.
This season, Riverview saw five freshman who jumped into the starting lineup this Fall, who made an impact, with more players now coming through the middle school pipeline in the small school district.
“It’s a lot of fun to do it with the girls you see every day in school. It’s been an amazing time, that high school provides a chance to play with the girls you’ve grown up with, known since I was younger, in the community, especially the younger girls, who I’ve never truly gotten to play with before, especially this year, was very special.”
Congratulations @lola_abraham7 on this very meaningful award. We are very proud of you and all that you have accomplished this season with your team. We wish you nothing but the best in your future at the University of Pittsburgh!#moe86 💜🧡
— Riverview Girls Soccer (@RGSRaiders) November 21, 2023
Thank you so much for this honor! The meaning of this award pays tribute to an amazing person, Moe Rosensteel, who has had an impact on so many! I am very grateful to be a part of Moe’s legacy and could have not been selected without support from my teammates and coaches! #moe86 https://t.co/KPdGld9r7Z
— Lola Abraham (@lola_abraham7) November 20, 2023
— Riverview Girls Soccer (@RGSRaiders) November 21, 2023