Greensburg Salem boys soccer puts focus on defensive end
As the Greensburg Salem boys soccer program heads into its second season under coach Sam Lauris, the Golden Lions have put more of an emphasis on defense as they look to return to the playoffs.
Last season, the Golden Lions finished 4-13-1 overall, with a 3-9 record in Section 1-3A.
Greensburg Salem had difficulty finding the back of the net, with 32 goals, and were shut out in their first six games, and nine total.
Heading into this season, Lauris changed around the format of his training camp. Last year, Lauris started at the offensive end. After understanding his personnel, Lauris decided starting with defense would be the better route.
“We started with defense because, if we’re going to win games, we’re going to have to keep the ball out of the goal. We’re going to have to generate one or two goals if we’re able to keep the ball out of the net,” Lauris said.
“We’re going to have to keep the ball out of the net to be more competitive. I feel these boys are in a situation where I think they’re going to do it better than the group last year. The big factor is that they’re buying into the system and the style.”
The Golden Lions have a goalkeeper competition between senior Sage Parsley, the incumbent, and junior Shayne Kasic. Both keepers have worked with second-year goalie coach David Pankiewicz.
Both will see the field as either a keeper or defender.
Greensburg Salem, which has only 19 players on the roster, returns many familiar faces, including senior midfielders Ethan Turnbull, Chris Writt and Ryan Bompiani, as well as defender Jeremy Kappel.
The Golden Lions also return junior forward Josh Klueber and sophomore forward Wyatt Ramer.
Lauris expects contributions from a trio of defenders -- senior Joshua Shook, junior Sean Galvin and Andrew Edwards -- along with Tanner Dobrosky in the midfield.
“It’s about fitting them into the system and designing a system that fits the players and truly having an understanding of what is expected out of them within the system,” Lauris said.
The Golden Lions have joined Section 3-3A, which includes Belle Vernon, Rinngold, Laurel Highlands, Trinity, Albert Gallatin and Uniontown. Belle Vernon is the reigning section champion.
If the Golden Lions have hopes to grab a final playoff spot, their level of commitment and sacrifice needs to be noticeable. With the limited numbers, not every player will be at their ideal position, forcing them to put the team first over themselves individually.
“Last year, people were there to be there. We set goals we want to accomplish. We are more of a team this year. This year, we’re doing it as a team and a family instead of individuals,” Bompiani said.
“We’re aiming really high and really look to come through with it. I think we’re going to put up a fight.”
The Golden Lions start their season against Hempfield in the Hempfield Tournament at 1 p.m. Sept. 1.