PHOENIXVILLE - Tim Raub has a keen Phoenixville girls soccer contingent that is full of talent, both from veterans and newcomers; experience and depth.
And that is why Raub's Phantoms are off to a fast start this season at 3-0 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division (4-1 overall) following a 3-2 victory over visiting Upper Perkiomen Tuesday afternoon at Washington Field.
Phoenixville bolted to a 3-0 halftime advantage and then staved off an Upper Perkiomen comeback bid in the second half.
It has created happy times for Raub, the new Phoenixville head coach and former Boyertown assistant, and his players to start the 2013 campaign.
Cecilia Knaub, Lauren Benner and Katie Fritsche tallied goals for the Phantoms while Kaitlyn Casiano and Knaub provided assists for a crew that has displayed balanced offensive production during the early going."We came out really well,' said Knaub, the dynamite junior midfielder who was part of the United States Under-18 National Team that played in California in August."The past week we did. We did leave some chances on the table. We have to finish those, but we fought through it. I am proud of it.'
Knaub has already scored five goals and registered four assists in five games to give her a team-leading 14 points. She also hit the crossbar twice against the Indians (2-1, 4-1).
Ten different players have already scored goals for Phoenixville, and it's that type of balanced production that Raub figures will make his team difficult to defend.
Midfielders Haley Stauffer and Kayla Smith scored goals for the Tribe.
Phoenixville applied heavy pressure from the onset and maintained it throughout the day. The Phantoms piled up a 23-5 cushion in shots on goal. Indians goalkeeper Maggie Ortlip recorded 17 saves with several stops on breakaway attempts. Phoenixville keeper Bri Cooley made three saves.
The Phantoms held a 4-2 edge in corner kicks."We've got a lot of talent,' said Knaub, who has already committed to play at Penn State University. "Everyone steps up at the right time. We don't know where the goals are coming from. Everyone here is capable of producing and scoring goals, especially at big moments. We're a roster where everyone can come in and make a big impact.'
Raub praised his midfield star and team leader."Cecilia did a fantastic job of commanding the midfield,' said Raub. "She is a Division I commit to Penn State. She's not making the same mistakes twice. We are taking care of our chances now.'
He knew Upper Perkiomen would be a good test with head coach Mike Freed and a star player in her own right in Smith, who is headed for the University of Indiana."Upper Perk is a well-coached team,' said Raub. "Kayla Smith is a deadly kid. I thought Gia (Tedesco) did a great job of marking her. She is a pick-pocket and that's you have to do.'
Cooley, the new Phoenixville keeper as a senior, surrendered her first two goals after 3 1/2 shutouts, covering some 280 minutes of action.
She got help from the Phoenixville backs, namely Sarah Weston, Steph Schellberg, freshman Sophia Kopko and Lahela Worley.
The Phantoms' four freshman starters are Casiano, Kopko, forward Dakota Graham and forward Julia Brown.
Freed felt positive about the way the Indians climbed back during the second half."After we got over the shellshock, we were all right,' said Freed. "It is about taking pride. We know we are better than we played the first half. We showed fight to come back. That is what we can take out of it. We're beat up. We are getting people back. That is the way it goes. We're still sitting at 4-1, which is still a good start.'
Freed does have a veteran cast with eight seniors who have played varsity soccer so this is the year the Indians have been looking forward to.
Knaub gave the Phantoms the lead with a left-footed shot to the left corner of the net in the eighth minute of action with the assist by Casiano.
Benner, who had some earlier chances, found the mark in the 13th minute of play. Four minutes later Benner rolled her right ankle and was helped from the field by the trainers. She did not return to action.
Fritsche banged home a rebound at the 19-minute mark to complete the 3-0 start.