Training started last week and the first matches of the 2022 football season are less than a week away. Here are a few things to look out for as the girls soccer season gets underway.
The Fairfield girls are trying to get back to the top of the YAIAA-3
From 2016-2020. The Knights have compiled a 61-2-1 division record, earning at least a share of the title in each season. They went undefeated in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Their only blemish was a loss to Delone Catholic in 2017 and a loss and tie to Bermudian Springs in 2020.
The Eagles beat them twice to take the crown in 2021, and the Knights are looking to reclaim it this season.
“Bermuda had a very strong team last year and we had some injuries, including season-ending injuries to Ava Deming and Breanna Valentine,” head coach Owen Phelan said via email. “This year we need to be healthy and develop team discipline. We look forward to a competitive season, especially against the always strong Bermudian Springs and a powerful Delone team.”
Although YAIAA-3 first-team selection Hani Strosneider, defender and midfielder Emma Dennison have all graduated, the cupboard is not empty for Phelan.
It has Valentine, a first-team defender at forward, and second-team midfielders Audrey Cheska, Kadence Holmberg and Teresa Phelan. In addition to Deming, Kaylee Bollinger returns as defenders.
The Squirettes are looking to improve on a solid 2021 campaign
Delaunay was the third seed in the Class 1A District 3 tournament, but was upset by sixth-seeded Brandywine Heights in the quarterfinals, ending the season 10-7-1.
The team will need to replace forward Amy Rapp (19 goals, 11 assists) and defenseman Emily McCann, both of whom earned second-team YAIAA-3 honors. They also lost midfielder Mackenzie Lee, winger Abigail Wingsen (8g, 6a) and three-year starting goalkeeper Callie Gilbart.
Longtime head coach Derf Maitland will use the services of returning seniors Maddie O’Brien (25) and Fina Mochi (17) to build their offensive attack. Both were named to the YAIAA-3 first team.
“Looking at the division, there’s more parity than at any other time in my 12 years here. Any of the four or five teams could move up, and I’d like to think Delaunay will be at the top of the division with O’Brien and Mochi returning in addition to a few other starters,” Maitland said. “The main thing for us is to solve our defense after the graduation of Emily and Kali. Sophomore guard Molly Fleming is already impressive and we have a strong freshman and sophomore class that will be key assets.”
School records within reach for Rogers Biglerville
Conner midfielder Briley Rogers enters her senior campaign with 49 goals and 26 assists for 124 career points, and all three of those school records could fall this season.
2019 graduate Carly Stoner currently holds the all-time record with 66 goals, 35 assists and 167 points. If Rodgers were to repeat her 2021 season of 20 goals, 10 assists and 50 total points, she would finish her time in the Black & Gold atop all lists.
“Brillie is a very humble teammate. She makes everyone around her better and her teammates look up to her,” head coach Brooke Gates said via email. “She is the leader of our team and helps bring out the best in all of our players when they are on the field with her.”
Gates is in her first year as head coach after serving as an assistant to previous coach Les Heggan last year.
Rodgers isn’t the only returning starter for the Canners, with YAIAA-3 first-team selection Abriel Ponce, a sophomore midfielder, leading the list of returnees.
Also returning are senior goalie Emily Woolson, senior forward Masi Dinges, senior defender Amahirani Zavala and sophomore midfielder Marie Alvarez.
“Our goal this season is to have a winning record,” Gates said. “Last year, many games were decided in the last minutes. We have worked hard this offseason and hope our players can achieve a different result this season.”
Warriors 28-game YAIAA Division Unbeaten streak to Mid-Penn
Gettysburg captured its first division title in program history in 2019 when it shared the crown with Susquehannock. Then the Warriors captured both in the last two seasons.
The team’s success over the past few seasons has allowed them to participate in the district tournament for the past four years. But the Warriors failed to advance past the district quarterfinals, losing in that round in each of the past three seasons.
Susquehannock, the team’s top division rival in recent years, is off the list. But the York County Warriors will be replaced by Northern, a former opponent from Gettysburg’s last Mid-Penn Conference upset. The Polar Bears are regular contenders for the district title, making four championship appearances in the past decade, bringing home gold in 2013.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas