2021 St. Marys graduate Vinicius Nunes will close out his high school career with a third-straight appearance at Sunday's NY/PA Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase being played at Bradner Stadium in Olean, New York. The girl all-stars will play at 5 p.m., and the boys at 8 p.m. Admission to the games is free.
Nunes is Pennsylvania's only third-year player on the boy's roster. New York's Noah Steinbroner and Bryce Butler from Ellicottville, Olean's Joe Magro, and Ryley McKnight from Allegany-Limestone are also playing for the third time. On the girl's side, Lauren Placer and Emily Prince from Bradford, Warren's Kyleigh Wilson, and DuBois players Stefanie Hoyt and Rylee Wadding will don the black team PA jerseys for the third year. Mandy Hurlburt from Ellicottville is also playing in her third game.
Bradford's MacKenzie Lucas and Chloe Shaw are making a fourth appearance.
"It's a great event and fun to play against and with good players," Nunes said following a recent practice at Johnsonburg's Memorial Field. "After going through all the things with COVID last season, it’s going to be cool playing in front of a lot of people."
The 2020 game was played with limited spectators at Bradner Stadium due to the COVID pandemic.
The PA boys won 4-1 last year, snapping a three-game New York win streak. The Keystone State girls won for a second-straight time - 3-2. New York won the first game played in 2018.
The games are taken seriously. Nunes likes it that way.
"It gets pretty intense. There are always a couple dirty tackles here and there. It's a little tough, but that's what makes it fun. If you're out there just trying to avoid contact, it gets boring," the former Dutchman said.
Kane's Josh Greville also played in 2020, as did Jack Darling (Warren), Justin Kalgren (DuBois), Jared Marchiori (Brockway), Noah Bash (Brockway), and Jake Mullins (Curwensville). PA girls returning for a second-straight game include Madalene Cowburn, Abbie Nuzzo, and Marissa Miller from Bradford; Georgia Bickling (Warren), Rosalyn Page (Coudersport), Mariah Allen (DuBois), and Chloe Davis (Curwensville).
Paxton Retchless, Madison Jones, and Delaynie Moore from Olean; Hinsdale's Christy Childs and Damian Brown; Natalie Philp, Ethan Shields, and Bryson Rozler from Randolph; Allegany-Limestone's Conner Bates and Jack Conroy; Chandler Wirth (Cuba-Rushford), and Matt Weaver (Belfast) played for New York in 2020.
Nunes will be joined by St. Marys teammates Mathew Palmer and Collin Kline, who will be seniors. Also playing for a first time are Ridgway's Jack Benninger, Aaron Myers from Johnsonburg, and Elk County Catholic Anthony Messineio. The three are entering their junior years. Entering his sophomore season at ECC, Timothy Brannock, and Greville's Kane teammate Justin Mishic are also making their initial appearances. The two Wolves will be seniors for the upcoming season.
Other first-time PA players are Eliza Brook, Alyssa Fuchs, Ella Ordiway, Audrey Smith, Parks Ordiway, and Alex Ferry from Warren, Bradford's Ciaran Conneely, Ethan Little, Andrew Kane, and Jaydon Warnick; Kamryn Fontaine, Emily Graeca, Jasmine Carney, and Riley Maxim from DuBois; Breanne Spencer (Curwensville); River Cramer and Ty Guilds from Port Allegany; Lewis Painter (Brockway) and Ryan Langworthy (Northern Potter).
Warren's Denny Flatt will coach Pennsylvania. His Dragon assistant Chris Darling, former ECC head coach TJ Weaver (2020 head PA coach), Mike Shaffer from St. Marys, and Matt Erickson from DuBois will join him on the sideline. In addition, St. Marys' coach Samantha Zimmerman, Brockway's Juli Esposito, Bradford's Warren Shaw (2020 head coach), and Steve Graeca from DuBois will serve as assistants to Warren head coach Jeremy Bickling for the girls.
Making their first appearance for New York are Preslee Miller, Sophia Templeton, Grace Russell, Hope Russell, Mitch Ward, and Jackson Cool from Filmore; Allegany-Limestone's Olvia Paterniti, Hudson Kwiatkowski, Zach Luce, and Chance LeCroix; Kendall Artlip, Teagan Kosinski, Nate Petryszak, and Thomas Carls from Portville; Ellicottville's Audrey Hurlburt, Brooke Butler, and Jamison Caldwell; Alexis Gibbons, Emily Gibbons, Rylie Gumtow, Quintin Allen, and Alex Linderman from Olean; Hinsdale's Fransisca Childs and Lindsey Veno; Kyra Pence and Miranda Waterman from Randolph; Emera Aquila (Genesee Valley), Tess Spangenburg (Falconer), Reece Redeye Desposito (Salamanca), and Hunter Stuck (Bolivar-Richburg).
Cuba-Rushford head coach Nick Perillo will guide the New York boys. He will be assisted by Devin Kinney (Hinsdale), Jon Luce (Allegany-Limestone), Mike Zilker (Bolivar-Richburg), and J.J. McIntosh Portville. Hinsdale head coach John Fitzpatrick will lead the girls. He will be joined by his assistant Courtney Malia and Mark Emery (Bolivar-Richburg), Dan Freeman (Olean), and Duane Powers (Belfast).
The Showcase was started by co-founders Kris Linderman and Dave Talbot of the Olean Soccer Club in 2017. Nunes, who will be attending Penn State University, praised them and all involved with the region's premier soccer event.
"They make it what it is by putting so much effort into it. It's a cool event. Everything from the gear to the atmosphere provided makes it so much fun. I'm happy to be a part of it," the former Dutchman said.
The St. Marys striker is looking to have an impact in Sunday's game. When asked if he had a couple goals in him, Nunes gave a smiling three-word answer - "I think so."
Fans unable to attend Sunday's matches can follow the action on the NY/PA Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase Facebook page. Liking the page will allow you to view the live stream, which will include the pregame ceremonies. The girl's coverage will start at 4:30 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m.