Steady Monessen boys soccer looks to maintain success
Sam Perry took the Monessen boys soccer coaching job 14 years ago and, looking back, even he is a little surprised by the program’s steady streak of success.
Under Perry’s watch, Monessen has won two section championships, 136 games and became a WPIAL playoff mainstay.
“It’s been fantastic, not really for me but for the kids,” Perry said. “To make the playoffs 11 times, coming from this small school that’s not known as a soccer school, it’s just great for the kids, and we’ve had a lot of them make all-section over the years.”
Adding to Monessen’s impressive run this season won’t be easy in rugged Section 4-A, which includes Seton LaSalle and Bentworth, but the Greyhounds plan to pin their hopes on talented junior Cam Frolo and a sturdy defense.
Frolo led Monessen with 24 goals last season and combined with Cory Fleming (19 goals) and Tyler Caterino (16) to form a dynamic trio that led the team to an 11-8 record, including an 8-6 mark in section play, which was good enough for a WPIAL playoff spot. Fleming and Caterino graduated, so Frolo has moved to striker and several sophomores are hoping to jell with him.
“It is going to be pretty different without Cory and Tyler around,” Frolo said. “They found me the ball a lot, and I could find it for them. ... We still need some work on our scoring.”
Perry said sophomores Morgan Madison, Charles Mrlack, Dennis Sands and Alex Danko will be counted on to support Frolo, and it helped they received considerable playing time as freshmen.
The quartet is part of a seven-player sophomore class, and the group, along with senior Tyler Swann, could be key to Monessen’s postseason hopes.
“We have some talented people around Cam who can fill that scoring void left by Cory and Tyler,” Perry said. “Our sophomore class is a really solid nucleus, and we’re looking for bigger things from a couple of them.”
While Monessen looks for additional scoring, the Greyhounds figure to be solid defensively.
Zach Evans is slated to start for a fourth consecutive year, and senior goalie Nate Lynch enters his third year as Monessen’s last line of defense. Perry said both have improved every year.
“We’ve been pretty strong defensively, and we have to stay strong defensively to get to where we want to be,” Perry said. “We have to find guys who can finish offensively to pick up those goals we lost. It’s going to be a change. We lost a lot of senior leadership and two big goal scorers. That’s a lot to lose, but I like what this group could be.”
Maybe even a playoff team?
“I think we can have a winning record and maybe sweep a couple teams in the section, get back in the playoffs and maybe win a game or two when we get there,” Frolo said. “I know we get looked over a lot because people don’t think of us as a soccer school, but I think we can at least do what we did last year.”