Tuesday’s paper played host to the high school soccer preview, which included my feature story on the influence of British coaches in Delaware County plus five players to watch for boys and girls. As promised, here is a team-by-team look at the soccer programs in Delaware County.
After falling just short last season, the goal for Delco Christian remains the same: Win a District One championship. With eight returning starters, this could well be their best chance.
All-Delco Julia Kyne is back for her senior season, while midfield orchestrator Kailey Neef also returns, as does speedy forward Alex Thompson. There are questions marks – such as who’ll be in goal with time being split between freshman Faith Warmhold and Ronnie Marie Falasco to start the season and what the composition of the defense will be. But the Knights possess the kind of firepower that few teams in their class can boast.
There’s no denying that 2013 was one of the most successful seasons on the soccer pitch in Agnes Irwin’s history. But the caveat to those accomplishments was a pair of No. 2s: Second in the Inter-Ac, and second in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament.
With the Owls’ star-studded junior class having another season under its belt, the Owls are poised to rectify those omissions on their CV.
Junior All-Delcos Kristin Burnetta and Hannah Keating return, as do classmates Emily Fryer and Claire Micheletti. Senior captains Caitie Looby and Lauren Spinelli will also contribute this season, and junior Kate White and sophomore Annie McConnon both saw significant playing time a season ago.
Hopes are high that sophomore goalie Kendall Shein will pick up the goalkeeping mantle vacated by the graduation of Autumn Wedderburn, and sophomore Lydia Bartosh and freshman Maria Pansini should contribute from the start.
The known commodities for Notre Dame are pretty hard to avoid: University of Virginia-bound striker Phoebe McClernon and forward Julia Dambly. Beyond that though, the Irish have some questions marks as to who will form the backbone of the squad.
Tri-State Christian Conference
The two-headed monster that led Christian Academy to an 11-win season last fall returns. Juniors Carli Sitkowski (26 goals, 12 assists) and Gracie Cryan (24 goals, 12 assists) constitute a formidable tandem in the center of the pitch. Add in freshman Lindsay Haseltine, a promising athlete with well-established bloodlines at the school, and the Crusaders might have that extra piece to take them over the top.
Del Val League
There’s good news and bad for Interboro this season. The good news is that 12 seniors return on a veteran-laden squad that has been through the battles before. The bad news is that group will be tasked with replacing the team’s three top scorers from last season. There is some offensive experience in the mix, with forward Danielle Iavarone and midfielder Deanna Rivello having found the back of the net a combined nine times last season.
The true strength of the Bucs is at the back. Seniors Sami Barnett and Melanie Brutch have a long-standing relationship working together as central defenders, while junior Stephanie Molino is a veteran left back in front of fourth-year starting goalkeeper Shannon Butler. The likes of Jennie Nania, McKenna McLaughlin and Corrine Blair will provide defensive cover, while Becca Reifer, Haley Fisher and Breanna Valverde will help pull the strings in midfield.
Chichester is looking to take a step forward from last season’s 8-10 campaign. Though they lose offensive dynamo Alyssa Blair from that unit, they have plenty of firepower left thanks to Kara Borowick and Marissa Sava returning to lead the line. Mackenzie Fredericks will be the anchor in midfield, while Theresa Mignogna returns with two years of experience in goal. In all, seven starters return for the Eagles, including that corps of four seniors, while a strong sophomore class is ready and waiting to contribute.
Off of last year’s four-win season, Bonner-Prendergast will have to build after the departures of several seniors. But there are plenty of underclassmen with varsity experience ready to step up.
Miranda Corrigan is in net for a third season, while Kayla Butts and Allison Hart will be two of the key figures in attack. Molly Sullivan and newcomer Brianna McCarty will man the defense, and Kelsey Czibik and Erin Carty are expected to contribute in midfield.
Archbishop Carroll’s team features a bevy of talented young players, among them junior Meghan Matey, sophomore Bella Sorrentino and freshman Rachel Matey to aid coach Frank Olszewski in his first season with the school.
Cardinal O’Hara is also under new leadership, thanks to Dave Cornish, who replaces longtime coach Jim Kutys.