Saturday, September 3, 2022, TRIB-LIVE
It’s hard to believe there could have been a more seamless transition in coaching than the move from Fox Chapel girls soccer coach Peter Torres to his successor, Carlo Prati.
Torres, after a thrilling WPIAL playoff ride last season, has moved on to the collegiate level at LaRoche University. Taking over the head coaching job is Prati, an assistant the past five seasons.
The immediate goal is to not miss a beat as the Foxes have qualified for the playoffs 13 of the past 14 seasons, only coming up short in 2018.
Prati would like to inject more offense in the Fox Chapel attack after last season.
“Going into the playoffs last year, we had a struggle last season getting anybody to score some goals for us,” Prati said. “It continued into the playoffs, but we somehow managed, beating Bethel Park in a shootout and then beating North Allegheny in another shootout.”
North Allegheny was the top-seeded team last season.
The Foxes season ended with a 1-0 setback against Seneca Valley. Fox Chapel goalkeeper Molly McNaughton had to leave the game late with an injury, forcing a field player to sub in briefly. It was on a penalty kick, and it was the only goal given up in six halves of playoff soccer by the Foxes.
“It was a rough way to lose it, but we had five freshmen in the lineup in the playoffs, so they all gained a lot of good experience,” Prati said. “That’ll help us out this year.”
Fox Chapel returns seven starters, including McNaughton, now a senior who has committed to Cal (Pa.).
McNaughton and the Foxes defense yielded just 17 goals in 19 games.
Fox Chapel returns seven starters.
“Our expectations are still pretty high, but our section is so tough,” said Prati, who spent part of his childhood in Italy while his father played semi-pro soccer.
The Foxes move into a section that features perennial favorites North Allegheny and Seneca Valley, along with Pine-Richland, Butler, North Hills, Allderdice and Prati’s alma mater, Shaler.
“There’s no easy games in our section,” said Prati. “We’ve got to keep our girls grounded.”
Fox Chapel started the season with a 6-0 victory over Shady Side Academy. The game was terminated when a collision near the goal resulted in an injury to Fox Chapel freshman Lilly McLaughlin, who’s now out for the season.
Said Prati: “It was kind of a bittersweet win; we lost a player. We started the section against Seneca in a game that was scoreless and really competitive. Lightning hit and we had delay the game until (Sept. 1).”
Besides McNaughton, the Foxes welcome back all-WPIAL midfielder Makayla Mulholland, who led the team in goals with five and has committed to Appalachian State University.
Midfielder Sydney Schutzman (5 goals, 3 assists) is back, along with all-Section defender Anna Troutman and midfielder Kate Friday (5 goals).
Sophomore defenders Maya DiPasquale and Bella Urso will also be heavily counted on.
Assistant coaches will be Jessica Wilson and part-timer Alexis Schwatz.
The program has won 18 section titles and a 1985 WPIAL title.