Bracing for ‘Mission Improbable,’ boys hope that Pius self-destructs

The Southerner

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By Mary Claire Morris

The varsity boys soccer team will attempt to achieve the improbable this Wednesday when they host the Saint Pius Golden Lions for a 7:30 p.m. showdown at Grady Stadium.

In one of the most anticipated games of the season, the Grady Knights will be taking on the undefeated and defending 2011 regional 5-AAA and state AAA champions. The challengers have been practicing hard to prove they are up to the task.

“The boys have put in a lot of hard work over the past year to get on level with Pius,” assistant coach Thomas Waller said. “We feel [that by] having this game at Grady Stadium that our chances are good.”

Grady (3-1-1) defeated Atlanta International School 2-0 at home last Thursday. Pius, (2-0) meanwhile, remains undefeated on the young season.  Both teams have played Paideia High School: Pius defeated the Pythons, 2-1, Grady lost at home, 2-0.

Pius was also named the ESPN High School Fab50 National Champions for the 2011 season, in which they went undefeated with no team scoring more than two goals against them until the championship game, which Pius won 5-4.

Last season, Pius defeated Grady, 3-0. Pius sophomore Tyler Alexander led the team scoring 18 goals for the 2011 season. Now a junior, Alexander will likely draw much of the Grady defense’s attention.

Other Pius players who could threaten the Grady defense are seniors Devin Hurley and Drew Morgan, both who are going on to play soccer collegiately. Hurley recently signed a letter of intent to play for Birmingham-Southern College while Morgan will play at Rutgers University. Last year, Morgan scored 13 goals.  Midfielder/striker Alex Kowalski maintains the middle of the field for the Golden Lions. 

The Golden Lions lost their star goalie from the 2011 season, Andrew Wolverton, to graduation. Wolverton recorded 13 shutouts in 2011.  But this season, Wolverton is a Nittany Lion not a Golden Lion.  As a freshman goalie at Penn State in the fall of 2011, Wolverton continued his excellent play in goal by setting a Big 10 conference record for shutouts with 12. The Pius defense might be weaker in goal this season without Wolverton between the pipes.

David O’Shea, head boys varsity soccer coach for St Pius, says his team will not arrive unprepared on Wednesday’s game at Grady Stadium.

“We are looking forward to the Grady game, a fixture that has always been a hard-fought game,” O’Shea said. “In the past I have always been impressed with intensity and hard work of Grady soccer and we here at St Pius know that we will have to be prepared for that on Wednesday evening.”

The Knights are hopeful the home game advantage will give them an advantage in the Wednesday showdown and plan to make their fans proud. Asa Wolfe, Tim Adcock and Carlos Valdivieso will start as forwards for the Knights. Wolfe and Adcock are both seniors, and Valdivieso is a sophomore.

Coach Waller expressed optimism about the upcoming match between the two teams.

“If we play a smart game and finish our chances, everybody in the stadium should be happy at the end of the match except for the Pius fans!”

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