Seton LaSalle boys soccer begins quest for 6th straight section title
Seton LaSalle was ranked No. 1 in Class A in the Tribune-Review and TribLive High School Sports Network’s boys soccer preseason rankings.
The Rebels finished 18-4-1 last season and won a school-record fifth straight section title with a 12-1-1 record. And the Rebels have been section champions seven times in the last eight years.
Seton LaSalle has 18 players who saw playing time last season, including 10 who started.
“I think we looked pretty good in the preseason,” coach Ryan Kelly said. “We return a lot of players with experience and we adjusted some things this summer, so hopefully it pays dividends this season. We will need to get better each day in order to accomplish the goals we have set out as a group.
“We don’t get too caught up in rankings, especially early on because there are a lot of games to prove your quality. It’s nice to be recognized as one of the top programs within the classification, but we’re only worried about how to win trophies.”
The Rebels, who have been WPIAL finalists eight times in school history, dropped their season opener Sept. 1 by falling to Class 2A Deer Lakes, 2-0.
Seton LaSalle is led this season by senior midfielder Kellen Krebs, an All-WPIAL and all-section selection in 2017 and the Section 4-A player of the year.
“I like to hold my guys to a higher standard,” Krebs said. “We sat down together, and we believe we can compete for a WPIAL and PIAA title.
“We are very strong defensively, having all four guys return in the back, along with our starting keeper. We do a good job of keeping possession and creating chances. We also have a very good attitude as a team, allowing us to keep our composure when things aren’t going our way.”
Krebs, a two-time All-WPIAL selection and two-time team captain, clicked for 20 goals -- including eight game-winners -- and 11 assists last season.
“Kellen has played in well over 70 games in his career,” Kelly said, “so we put a lot of stock in a player like that. A lot of our (seniors) have played well over 50 games for us, with almost 20 of those being playoff games.”
Krebs, senior goalkeeper Sam Reinhart, senior defenders Chris Sigg, Kyle Killen and Domenic Viskovicz; junior forward Gabe Rosario; and junior midfielders John Pete, Ethan Gardner and Tyler Stack are returning starters for the Rebels.
They have been joined by T.J. Cherry, a sophomore forward, and Bob Bootay, a freshman midfielder.
Krebs, Sigg, Killen and Viskovicz are the Rebels’ co-captains.
“They all have experience and the trust of their fellow teammates,” Kelly said. “They are all influential players, and have been for quite some time. Collectively, they do a great job leading our team.”
Sigg also landed all-WPIAL and all-section accolades a year ago; Reinhart, who logged a 0.61 goals-against average with 12 shutouts, was named all-section.
Rosario and Gardner combined for 16 goals and 14 assists in 2017 despite missing time because of injuries.
Krebs and Viskovicz have started since they were freshmen. Sigg, Killen and Pete are three-year starters.
Kelly said several teams should contend for the WPIAL title in Class A.
“Sewickley Academy, Greensburg Central Catholic and Winchester Thurston will be top teams, as always,” Kelly said. “Avonworth, Springdale, Bishop Canevin and Riverside should all be in the mix from what I have been told. We saw Avonworth and Springdale in the playoffs last year, and I know both have a strong nucleus returning.
“It’s wide open this year, so we can’t take anyone for granted.”
Over the past four seasons, Seton LaSalle won four section crowns and one WPIAL championship, compiling a 68-20-3 overall record and a 45-6-1 mark in section play. The Rebels were 10-2-1 in their four WPIAL playoff appearances and 3-2-1 in three PIAA tournaments.
Last year, Seton LaSalle lost a 2-1 shootout to Springdale in the WPIAL semifinals, then blanked Winchester Thurston, 2-0, in the third-place consolation game. Brockway edged the Rebels, 3-2, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
“We’ve been able to be relatively competitive in the WPIAL and PIAA year-in and year-out since 2002,” Kelly said, “and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
The top five ranked Class A teams in the preseason were Seton LaSalle, Winchester Thurston, Greensburg Central Catholic, Sewickley Academy and Springdale.
Seton LaSalle finished with an 80-17 overall scoring edge in 2017, including a 71-11 regular-season advantage.
There were five seniors on last year’s squad: Darryl Daniels, who netted 27 goals (five winners) and 11 assists and finished second in Rebels history with 68 career goals; Kaleb Krebs, who racked up 22 assists along with five goals; midfielders Michael Allen and Cullen Vereb; and forward Mark Mitchell.
Leading reserves for the Rebels this season include sophomore Josue Ruiz (F), seniors Zach Wells (MF), Nate Boland (F), Kaiden Reamer (MF/D/GK) and Savvas Psillidis (GK); sophomore Anthony Newman (MF); juniors Louie Maola (D), Zack Esch (D), Matt Battistone (MF) and Evan Rega (MF).
Midfielders Daniel Myers (MF) and Gabe Cipollone (MF) are top freshman prospects.