McKeesport, PA. – The Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Soccer team continued their winning ways in 2018-2019 making it to the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs for the fifth straight season and the semifinal round for the second straight year. PSUGA has been one of the most successful soccer programs in the conference and, thanks to a strong group of returners next season, look to keep it going into the offseason.
PSUGA’s recent success has been built on the strength of it’s veteran leadership and that was no different this season. Senior Belmo Nurkic (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) had a career year leading the team with 12 goals and six assists while taking a team leading 49 shots, 31 on goal. With his breakout season, Nurkic became just the second PSUGA men’s soccer player to score 30 or more goals in his career and finishes as the second all-time leading scorer in program history with 30 goals behind former Lion Marin Marina.
Fellow senior Nic Babic (White Hall, PA./Baldwin HS) followed in Nurkic’s foot steps with a career year of his own scoring eight goals and five assists. On the defensive side of the ball, Jagesh Subba (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) played a big role in getting the ball out of the opposing team’s offensive zone and setting up PSUGA scorers with plenty of goal scoring opportunities. Subba finished tied for the team lead with six assists from the midfield position and had a career high four goals on 28 shots.
Now that we move towards the offseason, the senior leaders are gone, but in their place come some strong veteran presence that will be the leaders of the next generation of PSUGA Soccer. Among the returners to next year’s squad include captains junior Dario Marina (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin HS) and sophomore Colin Bucsok (Pittsburgh, PA./Thomas Jefferson HS). Each has done a big part in continuing PSUGA’s success and will look to continue doing that throughout their careers.
Bucsok is the all-time career wins leader in PSUGA Men’s Soccer history with a record of 15-7-2 through his first two seasons in a PSUGA uniform. In his 13 games played this season he allowed just 23 goals for a career low 1.73 goals against average. He also recorded four shutouts and is the program record holder for career shutouts with nine in his 25 career games.
Marina has been a mainstay in the PSUGA defensive backfield over his last three years with the program. He works hard to get in front of balls and stop opposing strikers from getting scoring chances. Marina scored his first career goal in his team’s 15-1 win over Southern State CC this season and took six shots, two on goal. Marina and teammate Leela Nepal (Pittsburgh, PA./Baldwin HS) are the two seniors returning to next year’s roster and will both look to step into a leadership role.
For second-year head coach Dale Odim, it was another successful season at the helm as he helped his team to their fifth straight playoff berth. With a career record of 16-9-2, Odim enters the offseason just three wins away from becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history. He is heading into this offseason looking to recruit talented players to help next year’s team continue the cycle of making the PSUAC playoffs.
As for the players, they look to continue to grow as a team both on and off the field to keep the program alive and well. With nine players set to return, it will be a chance for the soccer program to continue to improve and gain experience as they chase the elusive first PSUAC Championship in program history.