T-D HS Soccer

Santa Fund graphic

Seniors to showcase soccer talent

Santa Fund game returning to Trojan Stadium

By: Mike Kovak

JOHNSTOWN — From Bedford’s surprising run to the PIAA Class AA boys soccer semifinals to a sweep of the District 6 Class A championships for the Bishop McCort boys and girls teams to the first ever championships for the Forest Hills girls and Windber boys, the 2012 soccer season was one to remember.
Forest Hills girls coach Donna Gallaher believes there was a specific reason for all the success.
“That senior group all around the area was very strong,” Gallaher said. “I don’t just mean the Forest Hills girls. It was everywhere.”
Many of those outstanding seniors will get one last chance to represent their high schools on Sunday during the second Santa Fund Soccer Classic.
The games, which will be played at Greater Johnstown High School’s Trojan Stadium, feature the area’s top boys and girls senior players, and proceeds benefit The Tribune-Democrat Santa Fund.
The girls game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with the boys game to follow immediately. No admission will be charged, though those planning to attend are asked to donate $5.
Gallaher guided Forest Hills from an afterthought in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference to the District 6 Class AA championship.
Gallaher will serve as coach of the North Girls, which features some of the area’s top goal scorers in Westmont’s Melissa Walko and the Rangers’ trio of Briana Kostan, Ashley Lucas and Casey Gallaher.
Gallaher is a St. Francis University recruit who finished her scholastic career with 120 goals and 100 assists.
Fred Galiote, the highly successful coach of District 5
Class A champion Conemaugh Township, will coach the South Girls.
Among his players are Indians’ standouts Allyson Lonas and Chloe Reese and Somerset’s Megan Lenzi, who was recently named to the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All-State team as a defender.
For Donna Gallaher, the game offers one last chance to coach her daughter, a midfielder who also earned a spot on the All-State team.
Casey Gallaher and Kostan played on the same club team, which was coached by Donna Gallaher, as Bishop McCort’s Laura Seitz and Richland’s Sabrina Wingard.
“I’m going to miss coaching the girls,” she said. “It’s going to be the last time Casey and I are player/coach. I’m going to turn into a cheerleader after this.”
Windber’s Brett Hoffman spent the past three seasons coaching against some of the best players in Somerset County.
Now, after the Ramblers won their first District 5 Class A title, he gets a chance to mentor players like Conemaugh Township’s James Bassette as the South Boys coach.
Ron Spinelli, who has guided Bishop McCort to the past two District 6 Class A championships, is the coach of the North Boys.
“This is a great opportunity. I’m not only excited for myself, but for the seniors. It’s one last opportunity to play together,” Hoffman said. “I know I’m really looking forward to it.”
Hoffman, who has done a program building project similar to Gallaher’s at Forest Hills, gets to work with a roster that feature three players from Bedford’s PIAA semifinal team – Zach Barbus, Samuel Felix and Steven Stroup.
“We don’t get a chance to play Somerset or Bedford, but we’ve followed both programs because of their success,” Hoffman said. “We were definitely all rooting for Bedford on Tuesday night (in the semifinals), but it was one of those things. We’re happy to have them on board.”

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