Normally seven lost starters and a new coach doesn’t portend a 5-1-1 start or a spot in the rankings.
Then again, first-year Vincentian boys soccer coach Mike Haberman has a theory.
Not necessarily a complicated one, but, man, it’s tough to argue with the results.
“We’re not scoring a lot of goals, but we’re not giving many up either,” Haberman said.
Vincentian (5-1-1, 1-0 in Section 2-A) has outscored its opponents, 9-5, thus far. Wins over Riverview (2-0) and Serra Catholic (1-0) over the past week have pulled the Royals into the rankings.
Ironic, too, because Haberman is a coach with no high school head coaching appearance; he coached mostly girls in separate club leagues with the North Stars and Arsenal.
Haberman’s son, Mike, was a senior on last year’s team, and Haberman wound up taking over the head coaching duties when his son, who’s now at Pitt, graduated.
Haberman has been getting scoring from strikers Christian Bolanos and Alex Sharpe, who have two goals apiece. Patrick McDunn leads the team with three assists.
Rege Kearney has been a “stabilizer” at center back, and Haberman praised both Jacob Winkler (freshman starter at outside back) and Troy McChesney as players who’ve helped Vincentian allow five goals in seven matches.
Christian Bolanos’ brother, Fernando, has been an attacking midfielder, Norm Gottschalk and Alex Madonna the defensive midfielders.
Vincentian lost to Carlynton in a shootout, 2-1, in the first round of last year’s WPIAL Class A playoffs. That ended a 10-4, 8-2 season — the Royals finished in second place, a game back from Springdale in Section 2-A — much earlier than expected.
Guessing some of that has been a motivating factor for those left.
“It’s been a fun group,” Haberman said. “They’ve all bought in from Day 1. That’s how you get playing time. If you do what I want you to do, that’s the way you earn your playing time.”
—By Jason Mackey