'New' is the word for Chambersburg girls soccer
"New" is a good word to describe the Chambersburg girls soccer team.
Start with new coach Ed Franchi, and the new formations he's bringing. Then go to the passel of new players on the team.
The Trojans made some progress last season under Eric Guyer, with a 7-10-1 record and six wins in the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division. But with only four starters back, and a tougher schedule in front of them, it will be a challenge to better that mark.
"They're having to adapt to a new coach and a different formation," Franchi said, "and there are no sleeper games on our schedule this year. None."
One good thing: Chambersburg has only three projected senior starters, so it will gain plenty of experience this fall, and Franchi likes what he sees of the sophomore and freshmen classes.
"We have eight seniors, but only four juniors," he said. "We have 12 sophomores and 11 freshmen, and the freshmen class has impressed me. I think eventually we may get some help from them."
The four returners are spread out in the lineup. Lauren Ocker and Ashlynn Swanger will anchor the defense, Cari Pasierb will control the midfield and Gabby Lecuona (5 goals, 6 assists) will be the feature striker.
"I think our strength will be down the middle," Franchi said. "Lauren and Ashlynn will hopefully hold up the defense. I'd like to move Ashlynn up to give her some scoring opportunities, but we may have to keep her back."
Pasierb is the veteran of the group, playing in her fourth season as a Trojan.
"We have a really young team, so I'm trying to be a leader on and off the field," Pasierb said. "I think being a leader off the field makes as much of a difference as on."
The Trojans did some team building exercises before the season that have seemed to help.
Swanger said, "It was good to have that time to bond. We seem to be moving and shifting well as a team, and that comes from good communication."
Franchi will employ a 4-5-1 formation, with Lecuona the lone forward. Joining Ocker and Swanger in front of goalkeeper Maitlin Masaberg are defenders Layne Kimple and Alex Cottingham. Pasierb, Brynn Vandegriff and Jasmine Lemus will work in the middle of the field, with Angel Jones and Emily Mort on the outside midfield.
"There has been a lot of effort and hard work in practice," Franchi said. "I'm throwing a lot at them and they've done well taking it all in. The first few practices were all basic concepts of positioning and set pieces and other tactical things.
"The goal is just to continue to improve as the season goes on, build on every game and learn from it."
NOTES: Jeff Hand is the JV coach and assistant, while volunteer coaches include Jim Cottingham, Mike Wenzel and Megan Diller ... Franchi said 30 of his 35 players played in a summer league ... The Trojans host Waynesboro in the Chambersburg Tournament on Saturday at 10:30; James Buchanan and Gettysburg play in the opener at 9 a.m.
Trojans at a glance
Coach: Ed Franchi, first year.
Last year: 7-10-1 (6-9 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division).
Returning starters: Lauren Ocker (so., def, 1 assist, P.O. 2nd Team); Cari Pasierb (sr., mid, 1 goal, 2 assists. P.O. Honorable Mention); Ashlynn Swanger (jr., def, 1 goal, P.O. HM); Gabby Lecuona (so., for, 5, 6, P.O. HM).
Other top players: Brynn Vandegriff (jr., mid, 1 assist); Emily Mort (so., mid, 1 goal); Jasmine Lemus (sr., mid, 1 goal); Allison Swartz (sr., def, 1 goal); Caitlin Masaberg (so., goalkeeper); Alex Cottingham (so., def); Layne Kimple (fr., def); Angel Jones (sr., mid); Olivia Hartz (so., mid); Ashley Bawell (fr., mid).
Season opener: Saturday, in Chambersburg Tournament, vs. Waynesboro, 10:30 a.m.