GIRLS SOCCER: Season previews: Greencastle-Antrim has talent to defend District 3-AA crown
Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils
Coach: Greg Cole, seventh year, 73-36-4 (.664).
Last year: 16-5-1 (7-2-1 Mid Penn Colonial Division), won the District 3-AA championship 1-0 over Conrad Weiser, lost in the PIAA quarterfinals to NW Lehigh, 4-1.
Returning starters: Ally Rudy (sr., for, P.O. Player of the Year, 31 goals, 11 assists), Alyssa Denkovich (sr., def, P.O. First Team, 3, 13), Jenay Faulkner (jr., goalkeeper, P.O. First Team, 8 shutouts), Meghan Hirneisen (sr., def, P.O. Honorable Mention, 1 goal), Paige Johnson (sr., for, P.O. HM, 2, 2), Hannah Crist (sr., def, 2, 1).
Other top players: Megan Swam (sr., mid, 1, 2), Madison Sweitzer (fr., def), Avery Toomey (sr., mid), Sarah Douglas (fr., mid), Madison Uccellini (sr., mid), Madison Sherrill (fr., mid).
Outlook: Cole said, "We still feel like we have things to prove to ourselves, to solidify our accomplishments last year. The core of our team from last year came back bigger, stronger and smarter. Jenay, Hannah, Alyssa and Meghan are the defensive core, but help with the offensive push. Ally has gotten stronger, and, as a result, faster, and she's extremely hard to knock off the ball."
Notes: G-A has 16 freshman in the program ... Rudy was an All-State pick last year ... The Blue Devils posted four straight shutouts on their way to their first District 3 crown.
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Waynesboro, 7.
James Buchanan Rockets
Coach: Terry Appleby, 14th year, 73-132-9 (.362).
Last year: 7-10 (4-6 Mid Penn Colonial Division).
Returning starters: Sydney Benedick (jr., for, P.O. Honorable Mention, 4 goals, 4 assists), Madison Peck (jr., def, P.O. HM, 4, 3), Kayla Snider (sr., mid, P.O. HM, 8, 3), Hailey Alger (sr., def, P.O. HM), Taylor Gorman (jr., def, 1 assist), Aspen Anderson (jr., mid), Autumn Westurn (jr., mid, 5, 3).
Other top players: Elivia Kipe (jr., mid), Mickey Heinbaugh (so., for), Sira Gossert (jr., goalkeeper), Cass Martin (fr., def), Breanna Dukehart (fr., mid), Cierra Hartman (jr., mid), Kira Rotz (sr., def), Veronica Harmon (jr., def), Nina Shatzer (sr., goalkeeper).
Outlook: "I've seen us have some really good moments, but it hasn't been consistent, and that's the difference between the top teams and the others," Appleby said. "We do have a lot of experience back so I've been pushing them a little harder than usual to get them ready to play."
Notes: Three players – Kipe, Heinbaugh and Harmon – missed considerable time with injuries last year ... The Rockets play 4 games in the first 5 days of the season ... JB plays its inaugural game at its new soccer stadium on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. vs. Shippensburg.
Season opener: Friday, at McConnellsburg, 4.
Shippensburg Lady Hounds
Coach: Mary Miller, fourth year, 16-37-1 (.306).
Last year: 4-14 (2-8 Mid Penn Colonial Division).
Returning starters: Kaila Ocker (sr., def, P.O. Honorable Mention, 4 goals, 4 assists), Natalie Nye (sr., mid, P.O. HM, 1 goal), Leah Piper (sr., mid), Madison Eutzy (sr., mid), Paige Miller (sr., for), Jenny Lemay (sr., mid).
Other top players: Kara Newell (so., for, 1 goal), Maddie Bender (jr., def), Chelsea Pyne (sr., def), Mara Goodhart (so., def), Ashlee Rowles (so., mid), Hannah Pletcher (fr., goalkeeper), Tori Sidella (so., goalkeeper), Sarah Strohm (jr., for, 1 goal), Rachel Morehouse (jr., mid, 1 goal), Amber Orndorff (fr., mid/for).
Outlook: Miller said, "We have some kids who have great speed, and we looked much better in our second scrimmage. We have a tough early schedule and we need to grow off of those games and figure out how we can fix things. I hope we can stay loose and whatever happens, happens."
Notes: The Lady Hounds scored 17 goals last year and were shut out 7 times ... Girls who scored 8 of those goals return ... Miller said she expected at least 32 players to try out, but got only 26.
Season opener: Saturday, vs. Mechanicsburg at the Mechanicsburg Tournament, 9 a.m.
Coach: Brian Fisher, fourth year, 40-16-1 (.711).
Last year: 14-5-1 (9-0-1, won Mid Penn Colonial Division title), lost to Cocalico in District 3-AAA first round, 2-0.
Returning starters: Monica Beck (sr., mid/for, P.O. First Team, 13 goals, 6 assists), Kennedy Chandler (sr., mid/for, P.O. Second Team, 11, 9), Katie Clawson (sr., mid/for, P.O. Second Team, 9, 10), Cat Weber (jr., def, P.O. Second Team, 2 goals), Taylor Welty (sr., goalkeeper, 9 shutouts), Megan Shockey (sr., def), Michaela Shover (sr., def, 1 goal).
Other top players: Elizabeth Churchman (jr., def, 1, 2), Morgan French (jr., mid), Karly Atkinson (so., for, 1 assist).
Outlook: "We have a strong senior class who are leaders in our school," Fisher said. "One of our strengths is our versatility; we have a lot of players who can play different positions at a high level. I believe we have 14-15 girls who are starting caliber players. One thing we'll have to do is adjust to playing on turf."
Notes: The Maidens will play on the new turf at their stadium ... Returning players scored 37 goals last year ... Fisher believes Waynesboro will battle Greencastle-Antrim and Boiling Springs in defense of its Colonial Division title.
Season opener: Saturday, vs. James Buchanan at Chambersburg Tournament, 9 a.m.
Coach: Toby McGarvey, 11th year, 117-75-8 (.605).
Last year: 16-5-1 (6-1-1, won Sideling Hill League), won District 5-A title in PKs over Rockwood, lost in PIAA first round to Greensburg C.C., 4-0.
Returning starters: Michaela Kendall (jr., def, P.O. Second Team), Alexis Mellott (sr., mid, P.O. Second Team, 9 goals, 7 assists), Kellyn Perry (so., goalkeeper, 7 shutouts), Haley Garlock (sr., mid, 2, 1), McKenzi Garlock (jr., mid/for, 4, 5), Hannah McGarvey (sr., for, 5 goals), Savannah Kerlin (jr., def).
Other top players: Madison Koontz (so., def, 2 goals), Morgan Kendall (so., mid, 2 goals), Emma Kendall (so., def, 1 goal), Hannah Brady (so., for), Mallory Gress (fr., mid), Kearanie Hopkins (fr., mid), Kiara Pensinger (so., mid), Rebecca Wenschhof (fr., def).
Outlook: Toby McGarvey said, "We have a few positions to get worked out and we need to get everybody healthy. We lost a lot of goals from last year (25 from graduated players) so we need to create scoring. We have to ride on winning districts last year and use it to keep motivated – the girls now know what it takes to do that."
Notes: Todd Palmer is the new assistant coach ... The Spartans lost 6 seniors last year and brought in only 3 freshmen, and the roster is only 16 deep.
Season opener: Friday, at home vs. James Buchanan, 4.
Mercersburg Academy Blue Storm
Coach: Jason Bershatsky, eighth year, 56-55-6 (.504).
Last year: 7-9-1 (3-0, won IPSL title, 0-5 Mid-Atlantic Prep League).
Returning starters: Sarah Lyman (sr., mid, P.O. Honorable Mention, 13 goals, 2 assists), Madi Johnson (sr., def, P.O. HM, 2 assists), Joana Santos (sr., def/mid, 1 assist), Maddie Surmacz (jr., def/mid, 1, 1).
Other top players: Electa Wilander (so., mid), Yulia Lee (jr., mid).
Outlook: Bershatsky said, "We're very young, but the girls have worked hard and they're fun to be around. Johnson and Lyman have good skills and they've shown good leadership. With our short roster, keeping people healthy will be super important."
Notes: Mercersburg has only 24 players on its roster ... Last year, 7 of the Blue Storm's 9 losses were by one goal ... Three recent grads will be playing in college this fall – Melanie Rankin (Furman), Paige Wolny (Idaho State) and Katie Miller (St. Michael's).
Season opener: Sept. 10, at home vs. McConnellsburg, 4:30.
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