The running of the All-Delco teams in the last week has formally closed the book on the fall season. With the transition of seasons, the final Super 7s got a little lost in the shuffle. But here are the final rankings that ran with the All-Delco packages and a few final thoughts on what we’re leaving behind this fall.
1. Agnes Irwin (14-3-1)
The team that produced Player of the Year Hannah Keating, that was bolstered by All-Delcos Kristin Burnetta and Claire Micheletti and a passel of really strong, tough, tactical players only loses a handful of contributors next year. The team’s core is comprised mainly of juniors (like the three aforementioned stars) that will be back trying to rectify the program’s lack of titles (Inter-Ac or PAISAA) to accompany their success the last few seasons. The scariest thing is to imagine just how good they’d be if they were devoted to soccer all the time.
2. Strath Haven (13-4-2)
Injuries and the inability to develop a consistent rapport across a starting XI this season hampered the Panthers, as did a less-than-favorable second-round playoff matchup with a Spring-Ford team that proved to be better than its eighth seed. Much like the Owls, seniors are few and far between for Haven, and both of their All-Delcos (junior goalie Katie Fisher and sophomore striker Lizzie King, plus sophomore second-team forward Maddie Forbes) are underclassmen. Great things lie ahead for Gino Miraglia’s team.
3. Garnet Valley (12-5-2)
It’s a shame that the Jaguars couldn’t capitalize on a home playoff game in their season-ending loss. This was a team that had arguably the county’s best defense thanks to the central defense pairing of Taylor Buckley and All-Delco Jackie Sever. On the other end of the pitch, 14 Jaguars registered a goal. That indicates what we already know about the pipeline of talent Paul Costa has been fostering through the years: That the Jaguars have a framework of technically-sound, skillful players that can compensate when one or two standouts graduate. Plus, two more years of All-Delco Britney Dragoni’s incisive midfield presence doesn’t hurt.
4. Penncrest (12-6-0)
The Lions surprised many people this season in the first year under coach Mike Deleo. For a team that’s had three head coaches in as many years, they somehow posted a phenomenal record this season. The fact that they did so without a surefire All-Delco (second teamer and midfield anchor Daniela Faux was pretty close) is a good portend for the future: It means that this season’s triumphs were the product of the system rather than one or two individuals. The fact that leading scorer Olivia Mancarella is just a sophomore and the hope that Deleo can bring some stability to the program is enough to make the future bright.
5. Episcopal Academy (7-11-2)
The Churchwomen were a bit of a puzzle. They played a tough schedule and found themselves buried under a formidable top three in the Inter-Ac. EA went 0-4-2 against the league-leading trio of Agnes Irwin, Germantown Academy and Penn Charter, with three of the four losses being by one goal. Despite losing a lot of production to graduation, Jessica Shanahan is back next year, as are talented sophomores Molly O’Brien and Lily Shaner. If the Churchwomen can find some answers and key positions, they could challenge for a higher spot in the rankings next year.
6. Haverford (10-8-0)
Things just never came together for the Fords this year. All-Delco Olivia Butera did her goal-scoring bit, Kayla Blair was pretty solid in defense, but it was all just so-so for the Fords. 2013 All-Delco Kelly Rogers’ void in goal proved difficult to fill, and there were cogs in the attack that needed to step forward for the team to progress from a season earlier that simply never did.
7. Radnor (8-7-1)
The options dry up quickly when just four Central League squads make the District One Class AAA playoffs (and Haverford was bounced in the revised play-in game). Delco Christian, which lost to Marple Newtown and two-win Ridley, didn’t do enough to get here, and Springfield is relegated to honorable mention status by its head-to-head loss to the Raiders. So, then, we’re left with Radnor, who had its moments under first-year coach Jon Pierce and return anchors at both ends of the field in defender Abby Lord and attacker Maura Holst.
Honorable mention: Springfield (9-8-1; two straight seasons on the cusp of playoff qualification and you wonder what it’s going to take to get over that hump); Delco Christian (12-6-2; the 5-0 loss to Christopher Dock in the District One Class A final is criminally unrepresentative of the effort the Knights put out this season. Replacing Delco’s leading scorer Julia Kyne next year is going to be no easy task).