Kiski Area is 7-0-1 overall and 5-0-0 in Section 1-AAA) but coach Bob Wright actually thinks this is due to inexperience.
“We’ve got a young team this year,” Wright says. "Consequently, they’re easier learners. They don’t have a lot of old habits that have to be stripped down and broken.”
Wright gives fair credit to his seniors, though.
“We’ve got a core group of three seniors – on backfield, midfield and forward. They’re in all areas of the field and all the younger players are learning form them and stepping up to play. It’s a team effort,” Wright says. “We’re teaching and demanding from everybody their individual contribution in the whole group effort, and they’re responding.”
So, what makes Kiski Area what it is? Sports Town asked Wright to give the breakdown on his team.
“We’re a pretty good team dribbling," Wright said. We’ve got some who are better and some who struggle with it a little more. Under pressure, they’re prone to make an error."
Wright knows how to work around weak dribbling, though.
“If you can receive the ball easily and smartly, you can make a nice pass and move into more space,” he says. “We’re looking to maximize the skills everyone has.”
“We’re playing really well defensively. That was a big question mark coming into the season. After having new players this year in the backfield – a junior and two sophomores – they have really stepped it up!” Coach Wright has actually been able to hang a big, floppy Cavaliers hat on the team defense. “It’s been a strength we’ve been building on. With the strong in the backfield, we can concentrate on our attack.”
“Were not really a defensively minded team – our varsity team is attack minded.”
Wright explains that the majority of his players come from offensive roles on other teams.
“They play year round (indoor, spring travel, etc) and I had to convert some to defenders," Wright said. "But, they’ve accepted the role, and they understand it, it’s a team sport.”
On set pieces
“We’ve developed several corner kicks that are effective,” Wright says. “And we’ve got strong arms so that a thrown-in ball is dangerous. We’ve got people who can strike the ball from 30-35 yards out.”
In a typical game
“We start a little slow,” says Wright, describing his team’s tendencies. “And then it’s about seeing our opponents and pressing hard. Against Norwin it was an all-out blitz and barrage."
Kiski Area beat Norwin 3-2 on Sept. 15.
Wright talks about the most important part of Kiski’s game: the players.
“Kyle Terrill (center back) commands everything in backfield,” Wright says. “He will win the ball and step with it into the attack. James Wineski is another senior. He’s a stalwart, steady player, one of the best dribblers. He can create space and advance the ball to distribute it to younger boys up forward on the front striker line.”
Wright gives credit to a third senior as well.
“Brandon Jenkins plays midfield wing. He’s much more controlled this year,” Wright says. “All are four year starters, lettermen, and they’ve been through heartbreak of playoffs last year.”
(Kiski Area lost 3-2 to Peters Township in the WPIAL quarterfinals last year.
Perhaps the most blatant part of a Kiski soccer game has nothing to do with the pitch. The Cavaliers have a student following that really brings the noise. Including the “angry bees,” – the student section did a vuvuzela impression following a goal at a recent section contest with Penn-Trafford.
When asked how the team feels about the student section, Wright says, “They love that! Last year, the student section began to organize and come out in stronger force.”
The Cavaliers’ fans even arrange for buses to take them to away games.
“The boys love that and have responded fabulously to it,” Wright says. “Soccer is not as appreciated [as other sports], so this is special.”
Before games, the Kiski Area Soccer team holds a solemn moment of silence just to get focused. But the boys aren’t always so reverent.
Coach Wright explains. “What they do is pick somebody out, and the ‘sha-boo-ya’ will be about them,” Wright says. “[The sha-boo-ya is] a humorous critical comment. It’s like a 4-line thing, and ‘Sha. Sha-BOO-ya! Sha. Sha. Sha-BOO-ya!’ sits like the signature punctuation at the end.”
Typically, sha-boo-yas happen on bus rides home after games, but sometimes it’s a spirit lifter for two-a-day practices or long runs. On the Cavaliers, you know you’ve made it when you get your sha-boo-ya.
Kiski Area’s next game against Latrobe (2-7-1, 0-4-1).