Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Kiley Dugan

The former Warriors soccer standout is a four-year starter at Valparaiso

Tue Sep 27, 2022 - 11:35AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Penn-Trafford's Kiley Dugan has been a starter for Valparaiso since her freshman year in 2019.Penn-Trafford's Kiley Dugan has been a starter for Valparaiso since her freshman year in 2019.

Last Updated: Tue Sep 27, 2022 - 11:40AM

The 2017 girls soccer season was one to remember for Penn-Trafford. The Warriors competed in the same section as Norwin, which was ranked as the top team in the country at one point. However, it was the Warriors who captured the WPIAL title, as they edged the rival Knights in overtime. The player who scored the golden goal, Kiley Dugan, has since gone on to enjoy a successful career at Valparaiso University. Now a senior with the Beacons, Dugan is featured in the latest edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

During her time at Penn-Trafford, Dugan was a four-year letterwinner, beginning in her freshman campaign in 2015. That season, the Warriors went 12-4-1 overall, including 10-2-0 in section play. As a result, Penn-Trafford qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA playoff, but fell to Fox Chapel Area in the first round.

The next year, PT went 15-4-1, including a section mark of 7-2-1. In the WPIAL 4A postseason, the Warriors defeated Allderdice, but lost to Mount Lebanon in the quarterfinals.

Dugan’s junior campaign was one for the history books, however. PT went 9-0-1 during section action, including a tie against Norwin. The Warriors went on a postseason run, as they bounced Penn Hills, Fox Chapel, and Upper St. Clair to reach the title game. Pitted against the Knights once again in the WPIAL Class 4A Championship, PT prevailed 2-1 in overtime, with Dugan providing the winning marker. The thrilling outcome gave Penn-Trafford the second girls soccer title in program history. The Warriors lost to North Allegheny in the PIAA first round, finishing with an overall record of 17-4-1.

As a senior in 2018, Dugan posted 18 goals and eight assists, earning All-State recognition. Collectively, the Warriors went 12-5-0, including 10-2-0 in section action. In the WPIAL playoffs, the Warriors fell to Butler Area in the first round to conclude the season.

Following her graduation, Dugan opted to continue her career on the pitch at Valparaiso, starting in all 18 matches at forward for the Crusaders, scoring one goal and adding an assist. For her play, Dugan was selected to the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) All-Freshman Team. Valpo struggled, however, posting a record of 2-15-1, including 2-5-0 in the MVC. The Crusaders fell to Drake in the opening round of the conference tournament to conclude their season.

The traditional 2020 fall season was cancelled because of COVID, as it was shifted to the spring of 2021. Playing an abbreviated schedule, Dugan started all 14 contests, registering one goal. She garnered First-Team All-MVC accolades. Valpo improved drastically, compiling a record of 5-4-5 overall, and 3-2-3 in the MVC. In the conference tournament, the Crusaders edged Evansville on penalty kicks, and then prevailed in double overtime against Indiana State. Valparaiso’s run concluded with a 1-0 loss to Loyola in the title match.

Last fall, Dugan once again started all 18 matches, contributing two assists. She continued to receive recognition, earning Second-Team All-Conference distinction. Valparaiso furthered its improvement, posting a record of 10-6-2, including 6-1-1 in the conference. The Crusaders fell in the MVC Tournament semifinals, losing 2-1 in double overtime against Evansville.

This season, Dugan has appeared in all 11 matches, tallying one goal. Valparaiso, which has rebranded its athletic teams as the Beacons, is 4-5-2 overall, but has won its first three conference matches.

Kiley took time from her schedule to field questions about the biggest challenges of playing during the COVID pandemic, her most difficult college class, and her reaction to the elimination of overtime in college soccer.

Q: How have you evaluated your play thus far this season?

A: I think I’ve done a good job this season of utilizing my best skills. I’m not the fastest player on the field, but I’m quick and technical, and I’ve definitely been using that to my advantage. Now that conference games have started and we’re in the midst of the season, I feel like I’m myself when I’m playing, but I am still improving with every game.

Q: How has your role evolved throughout your time at Valparaiso?

A: My role at Valpo has been very similar throughout my four years. I’ve always been a playmaker and someone who helps keep possession and create opportunities for those around them. As a freshman, I mostly played outside forward, but I now move around and see the field as an attacking midfielder as well.

Q: You were named an All-Conference performer twice in your career. What do those accolades mean to you?

A: It is definitely awesome to be recognized for my accomplishments. I don’t always have the stats, but being named an All-Conference player shows that I am seen for the player I am. I work to be my best at every practice and game, and it means a lot that that work is recognized.

Q: What team and individual objectives have you set for 2022?

A: We want to win the conference. We want to come in first in the regular season and then win the conference tournament, as well. As an individual, I just want to finish off my soccer career knowing that I played my best every game and did what I could to put my team in the best possible positions.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges of playing most of your college career during the COVID pandemic?

A: My sophomore year, the fall season was canceled because of COVID. We played in the spring, but the season was shortened and the pandemic didn’t allow for a lot of the bonding and ultimately chemistry that is developed outside of the field among teammates. Then, we also had a very quick turnaround, as we played another championship season that next fall.

Q: What led to your decision to attend Valparaiso?

A: When I visited Valpo, I fell in love with the campus. It also meant a lot to me that Coach Marovich focused more on the family culture and future that being a Valpo soccer player would provide.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: I am an English major with a dual minor in journalism and digital media. I ultimately want to be involved in journalism of some sort. I would love to run social media for a professional sports team in Pittsburgh.

Q: What has been your most challenging college class?

A: I had to take a class about geomorphology last semester to fulfill my natural science requirement, and I can honestly say it was the hardest class I’ve ever taken in my life. Rocks definitely aren’t my thing.

Q: You were part of a championship team at Penn-Trafford. What factors made that team so successful?

A: I think that the team was very successful because of the bond we had off the field. We were teammates, but we were also best friends, and nothing makes you want to play better or fight harder than when your best friends are by your side.

Q: What was your fondest high school memory?

A: I would say that other than winning the WPIAL, my best high school memory was my senior homecoming. I was on homecoming court, and spending time with my best friends at one of our last high school dances is a memory I will cherish forever.

Q: Do you still follow Warriors athletics or the WPIAL?

A: Yes! Absolutely! I will forever be a Penn-Trafford Warrior. My time at PT helped shape me into who I am today.

Q: College soccer eliminated overtime this year. What was your reaction to that drastic rule change?

A: It’s crazy to think that so many more games will end in ties this year. Last season, we relied on overtime quite often, and now we are really going to have to make the most of those 90 minutes.

Q: Do you use water, a sports drink, or something else before, during, and after games?

A: I’m a big fan of Body Armor. I drink at least one a day, and usually two or three before games.

Q: If you woke up tomorrow with $1 million, what is the first thing you'd do with the money?

A: I would definitely start my own animal shelter. I’d probably buy a small farm of some sort and even turn it into a giant, welcoming home for all sorts of dogs and cats in need. I have a soft spot in my heart for animals, and there are way too many out there that need help.