HAC-I girls soccer: Williamsport sets high goals
Last year was last year. That’s how the Williamsport Millionaires look at this season.
Without question winning a district championship — the program’s first, in fact — was a highlight of the team’s and it was memorable, but that was 2016 and this is 2017.
“That was last year and it is a lifetime memory for the girls,” Williamsport coach Scott McNeill said. “It is a new year and we have more goals.”
And those goals include winning the HAC-I, repeating as District 2-4 Class AAAA champions and moving on in the state tournament. Lofty goals some may think, but the Millionaires return plenty of talent to attempt to accomplish all of those goals.
The Millionaires lost last year to Manheim Township in the first round of the state tournament and the team wants to get farther this year, and Williamsport returns most of its district winning team as well.
Just three players on the Millionaires roster last year were seniors in Kailey Bain, goalie Kaylee Hornberger and midfielder Louise Lovecchio.
Lovecchio was solid in the midfield for the Millionaires and Hornberger played excellent in goal, posting eight shutouts, fourth most in the area.
“A three-year starter is always difficult to replace, but we have three keepers who are working hard and will hopefully step in and do the job.”
Among those back though include Madison Bowman and Samantha Reeder, two solid offensive threats for Williamsport who both earned HAC-I second-team forward honors. The duo combined last year for 29 goals as Reeder scored 15, tied for fifth-most in the area with St. John Neumann’s Shayna McNamee.
And having that duo is only beneficial for the Millionaires.
“We have many returning who are working hard and are hungry to achieve their own goals,” McNeill said. “Madison and Samantha will be difficult to stop.”
Williamsport also brings back HAC-I first-team defender Nina Schappell on the back line and HAC-I second-team midfielder Abigail Berthold.
While the Millionaires had one of the best seasons in program history last year, both Jersey Shore and Central Mountain struggled in terms of win.
Jersey Shore went 4-13 last year, continuing a postseason drought that dates to 2006. But for Jersey Shore coach Rita Alton, they want to get to .500 at least.
“Our expectations of this year is to make .500, anything above that would be a plus. This year is really a building year on the next few years to come,” Alton said. “Lots of talent with this young group. The depth the seniors had that we lost will be missed.”
The Bulldogs return Baleigh Lorson, Kendra White, Annalise Eiswerth, Lydia Kirkendall and Hannah Kauffman. Lorson was a first-team HAC-1 all-star at forward last year. Jersey Shore also returns Hannah Kauffman, a HAC-I second-team goalie selection.
“Offseason training was focused on strength training and speed and agility workouts,” Alton said. “Improvement from last year to this season staff-wise is that I brought on more coaches to be able to focus on different areas with the players. The biggest thing we have been focusing on is building from the back, switching the field and attacking/defending as a team.”
Central Mountain historically has been solid in terms of girls soccer, but the last two years has missed making the postseason. But first-year coach Cole Black is looking to build off that past tradition and get Central Mountain back to the District 6 playoffs.
“We are very excited about the prospect of having the chance to build this program back up over time and restore it to its former glory,” Black said. “As with anything, it may take some time. A couple years down the road from now, though, I expect this program will be right back where it should be: contending for district titles on a yearly basis.”
Black was formerly at Jersey Shore helping build the Bulldogs into a playoff contender before taking the job at Central Mountain this year.
The Wildcats only won three games last year, but Black hopes the team will get to .500.
“We only won three games last season, but I believe that we have the personnel to win many more games than that,” Black said. “We’ve settled on aiming for a .500 season and qualifying for district playoffs.”
Central Mountain has a large roster, featuring 39 players, 11 of which are seniors. Sadie McCaleb, a midfielder, returns for the Wildcats, as does forward Sloane Tressler and defender Laurel Strouse. All three were named HAC-I all-stars last season.
Midd-West won the league last year, followed in order by Shikellamy, Williamsport and Selinsgrove, all of which made the playoffs.
Midd-West does return all-state selection Kelli Beiler at midfield, just a junior last year, and HAC-I second-team all-stars Erin Thompkins and Alyssa Keister. Shikellamy, who won the District 4 Class AAA championship last year, brings back Aleigh Heckman, a HAC-I second-team defender but did graduate Elise Brubaker and Paige Mancini.
Coach: Scott McNeill
Assistants: Kyle Bidelspacher, Alesha Emery
Classification: Class AAAA
Last year: 13-7-1 (7-5 HAC) (def. Hazleton in District 2-4 Class AAAA semifinals; def. Delaware Valley in championship; lost to Manheim Township in first round of PIAA tournament)
Last playoff appearance: 2016
Roster: Seniors: Hannah Lewis, Lauren Zangara, Madison Bowman, Nina Schappell, Haley Whitford. Juniors: Madelyn Bain, Sydney Bruno, Jenna Whitford, Samantha Reeder, Sydney Dieffenbach, Kaida Muise, Katrina Zaczkiewicz. Sophomores: Kathryn Schefsky, Tatium Butler, Aaryka Goodwell, Talia Lewis, Alexandra Lake, Angelina Morrone, Shawna Newcomer, Bree Patterson, Abigail Berthold, Lila Vogelsong. Freshmen: Jessica Robinson, Nevaeh Williams, Hannah Myers, Mary Hillman, Zola Daverio, Violet Lindsay, Kathryn Penman, Whitney Felix.
Coach: Rita Alton
Assistants: (not available)
Classification: Class AAA
Last year: 4-13 (3-9 HAC)
Last playoff appearance: 2006
Roster: Seniors: Kendra White, Baleigh Lorson. Juniors: Annalise Eiswerth, Lydia Kirkendall, Hannah Kauffman, Anna Fisher. Sophomores: Olivia Farr, Taylor Flemming, Sophie Lauer, Corrina Sarge. Freshmen: Rita Fisher, Megan Keegan, Maddie Maihle, Aubry Sechrist, Heather Smith, Kylie Hummer, Kylie Kirkendall, Harmony King, Elizabeth Shaffer, Elizabeth Fishel.
Coach: Cole Black
Assistants: Johnna Garbrick, Carter Kaufman
Classification: Class AAA
Last year: 3-15 (2-10 HAC)
Last playoff appearance: 2014
Roster: Seniors: Macy Akeley, Chelsey Chaplain, Alyssa Dickey, Ashley Kline, Karissa Lucas, Sadie McCaleb, Madison Moldovan, Brooke Muthler, Dayani Pillai, Tara Reese, Laurel Strouse. Juniors: Hunter Barger, Elizabeth Bottorf, Makayla Brungard, Sloane Tressler. Sophomores: Michaela Burkey, Yaudia Castro, Emily Coleman, Madison Courter, Kylie Dietz, Avery Eckley, Violet Lindsay, Amelia McCloy, Desmyn Moore, Skylar Reeder, Hailey Swartwood, Macenzie Walsh. Freshmen: Avery Baker, Abby Brinker, Bailey Brungard, Morgan Confer, MIller Fravel, Quinlynn McCann, Haley Mcollin, Grace Remick, Jocelyn Renninger, Porsche Woods.