Westmoreland athletes of the week: Norwin’s Kyle Krotec, Yough’s Justine Appolonia
Claim to fame: Krotec, who is a team captain, made fives saves and earned a shutout to lead No. 4 Norwin (9-1-1, 7-0-1) to a 5-0 win over Latrobe in Section 3-4A action Sept. 27. Krotec, who has factored in all four shutouts this season, shares goalkeeper duties with senior Ray Yanez and freshman Andy Yanez.
“It was a good game. That is something we work for with the defense. It’s good to be rewarded for your work, and it helps the team out a lot,” Krotec said.
What is it like to share duties with two other goalkeepers?
It’s good to have two other guys to make sure I’m working hard in practice and making sure I earn my spot.
What has been the key defensively, leading to four shutouts in the last seven games?
It’s a group effort. Everybody is doing their part and working together.
What made you decide to play goalkeeper?
I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. It has to be about 10 years that I’ve played the position.
What do you like about the position?
It’s less running, but it’s a very important position. There is less room for mistakes.
What is something people might not know about you?
I like to mountain bike. It would be cool to go out to bike in Colorado and other places that are more developed.
Claim to fame: Appolonia, who has 20 goals this season, scored five goals to lead No. 3 Yough (6-4, 4-4) to a 10-0 win over Southmoreland in Section 3-2A action Sept. 24. Appolonia netted four goals in an 8-2 win over Greensburg Salem in nonsection play Sept. 27.
“Obviously, our record isn’t as good as it was last year. We’ve had good games, and we’ve had bad games. We have to stay together as a team and keep pushing in the second half if we want to make it as far or further than we did last year. I love to score but it’s more about how many goals we’re scoring as a team and how many goals we’re giving up as a team,” Appolonia said.
How difficult has this season been for you and the team after having a 14-3 season last year?
There have been plenty of tears on our team after losing some of those games. We came into the season thinking we can beat all of these teams, but after playing them we realized they had gotten better. Now knowing that, I think the second half will be a lot more smoother than the first half of the season.
After scoring 32 goals last season, what were you working on to improve?
I’ve had that drive to score. This year, it has been about getting stronger because I’ve always been a smaller player. This winter has been about a lot of weight lifting and building my base a little bit since I will never have the height. I rarely get pushed off the ball anymore.
What is the best lesson you learned growing up with your three sisters?
I would say not to take any time for granted. I’ve been told to live in the moment and enjoy while you have it.
Who is the most competitive?
I would say me or my older sister, Leigh. We’ve always been the competitive sisters and we never want to lose.
Who do you look forward to facing?
We’ve always had a rivalry with Waynesburg. Last year, we had two close games with them. Those were the only two games we lost during the season last year. Going into those games, I have the biggest determination to win. Hopefully, we will get an opportunity to beat them.
-- Andrew John