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School: Quaker Valley
Claim to fame: Franky Fernandez has lit up the score sheet by tallying four goals in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Quaker Valley forward scored 11 goals in the team’s first 18 games and said his recent scoring spree has given him more confidence and hopes the team will continue to get better in its quest for a WPIAL championship.
What’s your favorite way to score a goal?
My favorite way to score a goal is probably a team goal, so a nice soccer play that we’re all involved in.
Who do you feel sets up you up with the best passes?
I really don’t think we have a certain player that sets up anyone else the best. I think we’re all pretty unselfish and willing to pass the ball to other teammates if they have a better scoring opportunity. We don’t have to look to one person to create chances for goals, because we all work together.
With five players on the team with double-digit goals, is there anyone who has the best shot on the team?
I think we’re all pretty equal upfront with that, too. That helps everyone out a lot, because we know if we don’t have a good opportunity we can look for whoever has the best shot at the net for an easier finish.
Quaker Valley is on a 17-game win streak, but four of the last nine games have been won by one goal. How has that prepared your team for a playoff run?
Playing in those close games, which are obviously harder games especially in the second half, puts us in a good place moving forward just because of how much more we’ve had to work at the end of games toward victories. You have to keep pushing together and put pressure on the other team. We know if we let up for one second, it could lead to a goal for the other team. It’s a mental thing. I think it helps knowing we can play deep into games.
Quaker Valley lost in double overtime to Shady Side Academy in last season’s WPIAL final. What have you been focused on to avenge that loss?
Right now, we’re all focused on our game coming up (against Charleroi in the semifinals). We’re definitely focused on not letting up in a double overtime game again. We’ve been focused on finishing strong really deep into games and playing our way.
Is it more fun to play in a game you know you’ll win or against the best that Class 2A has to offer in the final four?
I definitely think it’s more fun to play against harder teams in the playoffs. I feel like every team gets better as we play against better and better competition. Playing in those games you have nerves, but yet you play hard, you play with your heart. You it’s going to be a tough game, so you know you have to leave it all out on the pitch.
Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.