Girls soccer success about more than just wins


JM Weber Photography

Freshman Caroline Decheck plays the ball in a game against Seneca Valley

Jack Salego

Another year has passed for the Shaler Area girls soccer program, but this year was different. The girls ended the season with a 5-12-1 record, improving upon their 3-13-1 record of last year. This wasn’t the only thing that improved, however. New senior leadership led the team to not only more wins, but also to create an even stronger bond between the girls.

Head Coach Mr. Bill Ament, assisted by Mr. Robert Yarnot and Sammy Bahorich, worked closely with seniors Ryann Dourlain, Anna Weaver, Catie Jordan, Haley Kostorick, Hannah Warren, Sydnee Cruz, and Maria Buckshaw to make the season count. This close-knit group led the rest of the girls with a passion for the game.

“Not many coaches can say they coached a player for their first game as a seventh grader and also their last game as a senior. I am privileged enough to say I did for a great group of kids,” Mr. Ament said.

The girls soccer season opened up with North Allegheny beating the Titans 6-2 in a tough loss. A goal from junior Lexi Tylenda and another from sophomore Lia Wallander showed promise for the season going forward.

The Titans immediately bounced back from their first loss when they traveled to Allderdice and beat the Dragons 2-1. This would be the first section win of the season, a feat that wasn’t achieved last year.

We finished the year with more section wins then we had in 10 years. We had more overall wins than the last four years combined. Most importantly we brought some fun and energy back to the program.

— Mr. Bill Ament

“My favorite match of the season was our overtime win against Allderdice. It was our first section win of the season and a memorable one,” Kostorick said.

This wouldn’t be the only section win, however. The Dragons stepped onto Shaler’s home turf for senior night. Just 20 seconds into the match, Warren drilled a ball into the net from outside of the 18, the only goal of the night from both sides. The close game was a big win for all of the girls and especially for the seniors.

The team wasted no time building off this momentum, with the next match being against section rival North Hills. The first battle against them ended in a loss, but this time the Titans defeated the Indians, 3-1.

While they might seem like small accomplishments, those wins did not go unnoticed. Those wins helped Coach Ament earn the award of Coach of the Year in section 1 of the 4A.

“He treated the freshman like he’s known us for years,” freshman Zoe Cieslak said.

One of the things that Mr. Ament had to work around was a bunch of injuries.

“We lost three of our four starting defenders for more or less the rest of the season when we played Fox Chapel. That hurt bad. Maria Buckshaw was our starting Center Back and brought a calm and safety net to our defense. Piper Keane was the best Fullback in the section until her season ending injury. Losing players like them forced a lot of younger girls into the spotlight and put them in positions they don’t usually play. Players like Bri Lucas, Caroline Decheck, Natalie Evangelista, and Maddie Primis played out of position all season but gave everything they had on that field,” Mr. Ament said.

This year had real success from the girls, and this winning season is just the beginning of turning girls soccer at Shaler Area into a winning culture.

“To me the season was successful compared to years in the past. This team was very close and we seniors made sure we built the culture for years to come,” Kostorick said.

The 4A section is never easy, but this was a great year for them without a question.

“Now that the season is over, we can look back and see all the good we did this year. We finished the year with more section wins then we had in 10 years. We had more overall wins than the last four years combined. Most importantly we brought some fun and energy back to the program. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the years to come,” Mr. Ament said.