Eleanor Bailey | The Almanac
Meet The Almanac’s Elite Eleven for boys’ soccer. The players, including the MVP and Rookie of the Year, were selected based upon a coaches’ survey, statistics and games seen by the sports’ staff.
Brandon Benedetti, Seton-La Salle Midfielder
This senior tallied 12 goals for the Rebels, including the gamewinner in the WPIAL Class A championship game. Seton-La Salle edged Avonworth, 1-0, in sudden death to claim the title. In addition, Benedetti had three other game-winning goals. He picked up five assists. Benedetti earned all-section and all-WPIAL acclaim.
“Brandon has been our most consistent player all season,” said SLS head coach Ryan Kelly. “He’s a box to box midfielder who always does his job. He scored the goals to win the section and WPIAL championship, in pretty spectacular fashion.”
Noah Friday, Bethel Park Forward
This senior led the Hawks in scoring with 12 goals. He also garnered two assists. In helping the Hawks to an 8-8 record and a post-season berth, Friday gained all-section and all-WPIAL honors.
“Noah was one of the hardest working players I have ever had the pleasure of coaching,” said Mike Galietta. “He came to play every time he stepped on the pitch.”
Mitch Ford, South Fayette Defender
This senior collected a plethora of awards as he helped the Lions advance to their second straight WPIAL final. The Lions edged Mars, 3-2, in overtime to win the title. In addition to all-state and all-district laurels, Ford merited Player of the Year recognition in Section 5-AA. Ford is a two-time all-WPIAL and all-section honoree. Ford anchored a defensive unit that posted 11 shutouts, including three in five playoff victories. In fact, he was part of a senior class that posted a 68-19-4 record with 14 post-season victories, and recorded 50 shutouts.
“Mitch was no doubt my selection for an MVP,” said South Fayette head coach Rob Eldridge.
Dominic Galietta, Bethel Park Midfielder
Although only a sophomore, Galietta anchored the midfield for the Hawks, distributing 12 assists and collecting six goals. He reaped rewards for his efforts by being named to the Section 4-AAA’s Finest Fifteen squad and the all-WPIAL team.
“Simply stated,” said BP skipper Mike Galietta, “Dom is one of the most talented all-around players in the area.”
Adam Heil, Upper St. Clair Midfielder
A senior captain, Heil earned all-section and all-district honors for his play in the middle of the field. He led the Panthers to a runner-up finish in Section 5-AAA behind WPIAL champion Canon-McMillan and to a 10-7-1 overall record. Heil, who helped USC win PIAA championships in 2012 and 2013, contributed three goals and five assists to the offense while playing a varied role on a defense that posted seven shutouts. “Adam played as a centr back, holding mid and attacking mid throughout the season,” said USC head coach Uwe Schneider.
Luke Maher, Canon-McMillan Midfielder
This three-year starter captained the Big Macs to two WPIAL titles in his career. An all-district and all-section competitor, he racked up 10 goals and 12 assists.
“Luke also has had a great career with us at Canon-McMillan,” said head coach Larry Fingers. “He played in a variety of midfield positions for us this year and created and assisted several key goals for us throughout the season. Midfielders don’t get as much notice in high school soccer because of the nature of the game, but those that watch Luke and know the game have seen his quality throughout his career. His vision, leadership and creativity in distributing and possessing the ball is top class and made him a great leader in the midfield for us this year.”
Kelson Marisa, Peters Township Defender
A three-year starter, this defender helped the Indians win two WPIAL titles and one PIAA championship in his career. Though the Indians lost the majority of its starters to graduation, Marisa anchored a defense that recorded five shutouts and posted an 11-5-2 record complete with a playoff appearance during a rebuilding year. He earned all-section and all-WPIAL acclaim this fall.
“Kelson’s athleticism and determination allowed him to successfully cover the opposing team’s top player for the past three years,” said head coach Bobby Dyer.
Matt Massucci, Peters Township Midfielder
This midfielder, like his teammate, Kelson Marisa, helped stabilize the Indians during a rebuilding season that produced an 11-5-2 record complete with a playoff appearance. In dominating the midfield, Massucci gained all-section and all-WPIAL recognition. In his career, he helped the Indians win two WPIAL titles and a state championship.
“Matt was one of the smartest players that we have had here at Peters Township,” said head coach Bobby Dyer.
Jordan Smith, South Fayette Forward
This senior fired in 15 goals, including the tally that garnered South Fayette its first WPIAL title. The Lions edged Mars, 3-2, in overtime of the Class AA championship game played at Highmark Stadium. In addition, Smith assisted seven other scores. Smith was part of a senior group that played in four straight WPIAL Final Fours and posted an 11-3 record with one goal and one silver medal in district finals. The Lions were 3-3 in state playoff action during his tenure, reaching the PIAA semifinals in 2014.
“Jordan produced some dramatic goals in his career,” said Rob Eldridge. “He was instrumental in our success.”
Chris Snatchko, Canon-McMillan Goalie
In the nets, Snatchko played a key role in the Big Macs’ success. A three-year starter and team captain, he helped C-M win two WPIAL titles. He posted nine shutouts this fall and finished with 32 for his career. In addition to being named to the all-district and all-section squads, he earned all-state acclaim. Plus, Snatchko merited NSCAA all-region recognition.
“Christian’s ability allows us to play a different way in that we can commit players forward to press our opponents knowing full well that we have the best goalkeeper in the WPIAL behind us,” said Larry Fingers. “In addition to his goalkeeping ability, Christian’s feet are as good as any field players. Those attributes coupled with great length, confidence, athleticism, and leadership make Christian an exceptional goalkeeper.”
Sean Tinney, Chartiers Valley Forward
Just a junior, Tinney gained all-state acclaim to go along with all-section and all-district notice. He pumped in 14 goals and collected five assists for the Colts, who compiled a 7-7-1 slate.
“Sean was a very big part of the success that we experienced as a team this year,” said CV skipper Garrett MacKenzie. “His teammates did a great job in getting him the ball in dangerous areas of the field, and he made no mistake when he got in front of the goal. He scored some really big goals for us in section games throughout the season.”
Hunter Noble, Mt. Lebanon ROTY
It was not a memorable season for Mt. Lebanon as the Blue Devils finished 4-13-1 overall. However, there was one bright spot. Hunter Noble excelled in the nets. The sophomore recorded three shutouts in his first year of varsity competition. He was so solid in goal that he earned all-section honors.
“He had a spectacular year,” said Lebo head coach Ron Wilcher. “He made some incredible saves and provided some of the finest goalkeeping I have seen in all my years of coaching.”
For his efforts, Noble has been named The Almanac’s Rookie of the Year.