It's obvious that Archbishop Wood girls' soccer coach Bill Cappo learned the game well when he was growing up. The veteran coach has put up some impressive numbers at the Bucks County school.
Cappo recently completed his 17th season as head coach of Wood, which went all the way to the Class AAA championship game in only its third year as a PIAA member school.
Cappo, The Inquirer's girls' coach of the year, has won five of the last nine Catholic League championships, including the last four in a row. He's won 12 overall. His teams have never missed the league playoffs.
Growing up in some of the soccer hotbeds of Philadelphia - Kensington, Wissinoming, and Torresdale - Cappo naturally gravitated to the Lighthouse Boys' Club. The club, at least figuratively, has been a beacon for soccer.
"I had two older brothers and I just followed them along," said the 64-year old coach.
In addition to playing for two years at Olney High, Cappo played for two national championship club teams. His first coaching experience came at Nazareth Academy, a girls' school in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies. He spent two years there as the junior varsity coach.
"I decided to apply at Wood when the opportunity came up," Cappo said. He also coached select club teams and high school boys in the Keystone Games.
He will lose five starters to graduation, but he believes he has some returnees ready to will step up. Among those moving on will be Nicole Ahrens, Laura Bowen, Rachel Friend, Monica Re, Ann Marie Cook, Brinna Heck, Danielle Kane, and Christine Verrelle, The Inquirer's player of the year.
"We may have some surprises, too. We'll be all right," Cappo said, pointing out that among the returnees are 35-goal scorer Kelsey Celline, freshman goalie Deanna Messner, junior defender Hunter Filippo, junior forward Bethany Bartasavich, and sophomore midfielder Jackie Pierson.
Although Cappo moved to New Jersey a year and a half ago, he has no plans of stepping down as coach. Moving meant a commute from Voorhees.
"You get used to it," he said.
Team of the year
Wood made it a clean sweep by winning The Inquirer's team of the year award, too. The Vikings posted the best record of teams in District 1 and 12 and went further in the PIAA playoffs than any other team.
Villa Maria Academy was the surprise team of the year, winning its first outright Catholic Academies title and the first District 1 Class AA championship in the history of the school.
The Hurricanes finished with a 19-4 record. Coach Gary Christopher is looking forward to next season.
Senior striker Kasey Schiavoni will move on, but several juniors are expected back, including Kimmy Spaventa, Kayla Lewis, Deanna Olsen, and Katie Higgins. "We're very excited about the opportunities we're going to have," said Christopher, who is in his fourth year as head coach.