Trib HSSN athletes of the week: West Allegheny’s Nathan Dragisich, South Park’s Haleigh Finale
School: West Allegheny
Claim to fame: Dragisich scored on a free kick with 12 minutes left and again on a penalty kick to lead top-ranked West Allegheny past Moon, 2-1, in a Section 2-3A boys soccer game Sept. 27. Dragisich, who has a team-best 21 goals, scored three goals in a 9-0 rout of Mt. Lebanon on Sept. 22 and had one goal and an assist in a 4-0 win over Beaver on Sept. 25.
“He’s a special player that comes around in high school every once in a while,” coach Kevin Amos said. “He has a lot of natural talent and just works hard at it. He’s a great teammate, great leader. ... He’s someone who you can always count on to score a big goal when you really need it.”
How would you rate your performance to this point in the season?
It’s been a pretty good season so far. We’re just looking at it one game at a time and try to get the wins and see where it plays out.
Do you have any plans after high school yet?
I’m going to play soccer at Duquesne University. I’ve been in contact with the coaches there since my freshman year. I wanted to stay close to home in college, and I got a scholarship offer so that helped even more.
Do you have a major in mind?
Something in the business field. I haven’t specified it yet.
What are you going to work on to ensure you are at your best for the college game?
I’ll still have my club season with the Riverhounds, so I’ll be doing that year round. I’ll work on some individual things on my own and keep working at it.
With just a few games left in the regular season, what’s the ultimate goal that you guys hope to accomplish the rest of the way?
We want to do something no other West A team has done, and that’s win a state championship. This year, we have a lot of depth and a good starting lineup. That’ll help us be able to compete for it.
School: South Park
Claim to fame: Finale scored four goals to lead South Park to an 8-0 win over South Allegheny in Section 3-2A play on Sept. 24. Finale also scored three goals, bringing her season total to 18, in a 7-0 win over Thomas Jefferson on Sept. 27.
“She’s just a great forward and can score goals which is important,” coach Shelly Thropp said. “She’s good at making herself available. She’s a good target player and plays well with her back to the goal.
“That presence makes defenses think about her whether or not she gets the ball.”
What’s happening on the field that’s allowing you to have so many multi-goal games?
Pretty much everyone on our team works very hard and knows how to play the perfect balls. The midfielders and defense do a great job getting the ball to my feet.
What is this South Park team capable of accomplishing as the season progresses?
We have a great group of girls this season. I think we’re capable of winning WPIALs, and we really want to win states. We have great chemistry and play great with one another.
What’s your biggest strength on the field?
I think I can see the field very well. I know how to position my body when our midfield is getting ready to play the ball, and I can make good runs on the ball.
What is the top song on your iTunes playlist right now?
I would say it’s probably anything by Eminem right now.
Do you excel at any other sports besides soccer?
I played basketball and softball for a while, but I had to stop because I’m really focused on trying to get a scholarship for soccer. I’ve been talking to Akron and University of New Hampshire.