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Dec, 2021

Steel Valley HS Girls Win WPIAL

The Steel Valley High School girls soccer team, with a team built around Steel Valley Soccer Club players, punctuated a great season by winning the WPIAL A Girls championship, a first for the girls program.  Steel Valley captured the championship with a 2-1 overtime victory over defending WPIAL champion Greensburg Central Catholic at Highmark Stadium on November 5, 2021.  Steel Valley fell behind 1-0 midway through the second half but battled back to tie it behind a late goal by senior Soraya Gibbs (assisted by senior Kelsey Salopek) and won it in overtime with a goal by freshman Therese Doering (assisted by freshman Kylie Salopek).  Steel Valley was captained by long-time SVSC players Soraya Gibbs, Kelsey Salopek, and Makenna Williams.  The team was coached by SVSC travel coach Bill Abraham and SVSC referee assignor Patrick Doering.

The WPIAL championship capped off a tremendous season by the Girls team, as it finished with a 20-4 record and repeated as Section champions.  Denied the chance last season to participate in the PIAA playoffs because of COVID restrictions on the number of qualifying teams, Steel Valley made up for the lost opportunity, outscoring its opponents 12-1 in the state playoffs before its run ended in the PIAA with a 2-1 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic.

As befits a team which had so much success, Steel Valley players ended up earning multiple post-season honors.  Kelsey Salopek swept Player of the Year honors, winning the Moe Rosensteel Girls Player of the Year award, TribLive HSSN Girls Player of the Year, and the Post-Gazette Girls Player of the Year.  Kelsey was named to the United Soccer Coaches East Region II team, one of just five players from WPIAL accorded that honor, and was for the second straight year named to the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches All-State team; only 12 WPIAL players earned All-State honors.  Kelsey was also named to the Trib's Fab 15 team and the Post-Gazette's 12-player All-Area team for the second straight year.  Additionally, Kelsey earned repeat nominations to the All-WPIAL and All-Section teams.  Soraya Gibbs joined Kelsey on the All-WPIAL team, and juniors Chelsea Bulger and Krystal Phouthavong, and freshman Therese Doering, joined Kelsey and Soraya on the WPIAL All-Section team.  All are long-term SVSC players.  Kelsey will continue her soccer career at Kent State University, where she will attend on an athletic scholarship.  Similarly, Soraya will play her college soccer at California University of Pennsylvania on an athletic scholarship.

Other SVSC players earning WPIAL All-Section honors included Margee and Maeve Dever, who attend Winchester Thurston, and Serra Catholic's Ethan Coddington.