Parity may be the theme of the girls Central League this season, with a number of teams entering the season with convincing cases for the league’s district playoff spots.
As it often does among the Delco teams, that conversation begins with Strath Haven. Despite losing a slew of players, including two-time Daily Times POY Gina DiTaranto and three-quarters of their backline, which included three-time All-Delco Lexi Mazur, Gino Miraglia manages to continue restocking the shelves with quality players.
The Panthers return one of the state’s best goalkeepers in senior Krissy Welch, a three-year varsity contributor. Senior Jenny Carey returns from injury to slot into the backline, where she and junior Allie Wilson will constitute large pieces of the rebuilt defense.
The strike pairing of Morgan Glassford and Kristen Miller will take on much of the offensive burden, with Kristen Wilhelmsen and Sophie Murphy pulling the strings from midfield.
If you’re looking for the best midfield in Delco, Garnet Valley may be where you should turn. Led by All-Delcos Jackie Glanfield and Megan Tracewell, the middle of the pitch is an area that Paul Costa’s veteran players should control. Add in juniors Haley Warden and Alex Jacobs and promising sophomore Rachel Glenn, and you’re looking at a dynamic unit that will be a handful for opponents.
With Christin Esposito representing one of only a few proven forward options, that midfield will also have a sizeable scoring duty thrust upon it. Defensively, Julia McGrath, Megan Miller, Lauren Esposito and talented sophomores Jackie Sever and Jordan Ireland will be tasked with helping junior goalkeeper Maris Hayes, a first-year starter.
Perhaps no team in the Central League returns as many pieces as Springfield, whose 10 players with starting experience could make them contenders in the league. Head coach Nate Bantoe doesn’t have a plethora of seniors to lean upon, but the team is young, talented and has had the opportunity to grow together.
Goals should be provided by junior forwards Emily Verica and Lauren Notorfrancesco, the leading scorers from a season ago. Sophomores Taylor Cutcliffe and Erin Gamble as well as junior Emily Paulus will be the nucleus of the midfield. In front of goalie Stacy Porter, juniors Autumn Spence, Aly Gormley and Ana Canova as well as senior Megan Tronco will hold court.
Also in the Central League elite conversation should be Haverford. The Fords should be stingy this season, thanks to veteran goalie Kelly Rogers and a defense led by seniors Olivia Martin and Ali Butera.
Amanda Case, Jess Lyons, Olivia Butera and Maddi Moore should be among the big names in the midfield.
Penncrest coach Alicia Santelli has reason to be excited about the versatile corps of players she has. Forward Rachel Campbell is a proven goalscorer, and midfielders Paige Phillips and Lauren Huggins epitomize the flexibility the Lions’ lineup possesses.
The newcomers will have to be contributors from the get go, especially in the midfield. Ally Kirkpatrick, Grace McGinn, Nicole Mancarella, Jamie Mulaney, Daniela Faux and Cassidy Moretti will all be factors there, though McGinn and Mulaney may be called into a relatively thin defense in front of new goalkeeper Brittany Kashner.
Ridley presents an intriguing mix of players. They’re solid at the back, with a core group of five seniors – Annemarie Cericola, Monica Boyle, Olivia Medina, Kathy O’Donnell and Anna Poole – from which head coach Ron Nevin can sculpt his defense. That wealth of options bodes especially well with a veteran goalkeeper like HelenAnn Lawless presiding between the sticks.
Up front, senior Karleigh Yori and junior Hayley Killian present a daunting task for any defender to handle. The question is in the midfield, where captain Monica Walker and senior Samantha Dillon are two of the few returnees with significant experience.
New Radnor coach Lee Bishop inherits some valuable pieces, such as goalkeeper Barry Margolis and attacking midfielder Taylor Quinn. The center of the Red Raiders’ team is senior-laden, thanks to a defense marshaled by Brooke Pancoast and Abby Junior and a midfield spearheaded by Siobhan Osborne and Hannah Watts.
Younger players like defenders Hannah Proctor and Abby Lord and midfielder Reilly Masterson should have ample opportunities to stake claims to playing time.
Marple Newtown is experiencing a bit of a youth movement this year. Captains Amy Cellucci and Kylie Klos, the latter of whom will be in goal, as well as junior forward Deidre Bradley will play a large role for the Tigers this year.
But a large sophomore class should also contribute early and often. Defenders Danielle Collins and Carley Vegso should see significant time, midfielders Holly Nicolardi and Morgan McAndrews will patrol the middle of the pitch, and attackers Brianna Ferrell and Amanda Goodyear will look to make things happen up top.
Upper Darby will lean upon goalkeeper Mary Kate Alloway. Among those providing some punch in attack will be Kahlyn Ford and Anna Gentile.