HAC-II girls soccer: Montoursville looks to get back to district final

There’s no doubt in the minds of Montoursville’s players and coaching staff that they can return to win a district championship this year and win a repeat championship.

They have the talent and ability to do so, but nothing in sports is a given, and that’s what Montoursville coach Vic Gorini knows. While last year was impressive, going undefeated in the regular season and winning a district championship, it’s already in the rearview mirror so to speak for the Warriors.

“Having an unblemished record like last year’s team is very difficult to do in our area and we just need to go out and play one game at a time and only focus on the team on the field with us,” Gorini said. “The wins and losses will simply happen based on how well we prepare during training and play during the games.”

The Warriors graduated a senior class that accomplished a lot by capturing three district championships and winning 71 games in those four years. But the shoes that group left is what Gorini hopes the current players aspire to fill and reach the same bar.

“Our hope is that we get that same level of determination and leadership out of our senior players this year,” Gorini said. “This year’s seniors have also been part of winning two district titles as underclassmen and we have high expectations for them.”

Montoursville went undefeated in the league to win the HAC-II, followed in order by Mifflinburg, Lewisburg and Central Columbia, who all made the postseason.

While Mifflinburg did graduate Madison Machmer, the Wildcats bring back five HAC-II all-star selections in Riley Griffith, Hailey Foresman, Marcie Schnure, Reagan Griffith and goalie Becki Weller. Central Columbia returns two HAC-II selections who earned honors as freshmen last year with Lauren Bull at midfield and Cally Lupashinski at defender.

One huge loss is Marlene Bassett in goal, one of the taller goalies in District 4 who made numerous great saves last season as she posted 11 shutouts, third-most in the area behind only Warrior Run’s Madi Welliver and Loyalsock’s Grace Schreckengast.

“Marlene made saves for us that few other female high school keepers will ever make. It’s just something we will have to adjust to,” Gorini said. “It’s atough position and we have some kids who are dedicated to playing it so we feel good about their development in the coming years.”

Montoursville returns a lot though after graduating Bassett, Lexi Marchioni, Bri Ulmer and all-state selection Gillian Mitchell, to name a few.

Kyleigh Balint returns, who had a breakout junior season last year by scoring 20 goals, second-most in the area behind only Sullivan County’s Macy McCarthy’s 30.

“We have big expectations for Kyleigh and she’ll be a big part of our team’s performance on the field. I believe everyone will see a stronger, faster player this season which will make her even more difficult for teams to contain,” Gorini said. “She scored big goals in our biggest games last year and we expect to see more of it from both her and fellow senior Caroline King this season.”

Balint seemed to thrive when the games were on the line. She twice drilled game-winning goals in overtime in consecutive district playoff games to get Montoursville to the district final against Loyalsock by beating Lewisburg and Mifflinburg.

And defensively, Montoursville was extremely solid and allowed the least amount of goals in the area and a big reason why was Lauren O’Malley on the backline, a returning senior this year.

“Lauren has been part of a very stingy defense the past few years. She’ll play alongside Kaylie Schans, another four year starter, and some returning underclassmen with solid varsity experience,” Gorini said. “She’s been doing an excellent job leading the team during our preseason training sessions and we expect her to have a great senior season.”

That loss to Montoursville in districts is something Lewisburg is using to motivate the girls this season.

“Last year’s loss in the playoffs to the best team in the district in overtime gave us the confidence and motivation to do better this year,” Lewisburg coach Jose Vega said.

The Green Dragons return Olivia Reish and Tatum Olmor, in addition to bringing back 10 starters from last season.

“We’re looking forward to see how Olivia Reish and Tatum Olmor play again and so far they both look great in practice and I believe that they will make the team better,” Vega said.

And while Milton hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009, coach Caitlin Landis — who was a senior when they last made the postseason — is excited for the season, especially after being competitive in numerous games last year.

“There were plenty of games we only lost by one or two goals. Our record just did not show it. We mostly need to work on finishing the ball and being more aggressive in the attack,” Landis said. “I’m pretty excited to see what our attacking players do this year, I’ve been seeing a lot of good things throughout the summer.”

Milton went 3-15 last year and return leading goal scorer from last year in Olivia Beaver.

“She is our little Energizer Bunny on the field and we can always count on her to give 100 percent every time she steps on the field,” Landis said of Beaver. “She was one of the leading scorers last year. I’m so excited to see what she does her senior year. She has already impressed so many with her talent and toughness.”

MILTON

Coach: Caitlin Landis

Assistants: Courtney Carman, Nick Ferguson, Dennis Landis

League: HAC-II

Classification: Class AA

Last year: 3-15 (0-10 HAC)

Last playoff appearance: 2009

Roster: Seniors: Olivia Beaver, Kacee Reitz, Alexis Lincoln. Juniors: Kylee Hill, Lexie Bennett, Zoe Doebler, Paige Treibley, Rachelle Campbell. Sophomores: Brelynn McCarty, Bevianna Girardi, Taylor Snyder, Leah Bergey, Kylie Roup, Aubrey Chappell, Kamryn Snyder, Mylea Neidig, Francis Agvilar, Sage Starks. Freshmen: Laura Wassmer, Jackie Stokes, Crystal Hamilton, Katy Weaver, Zoe Paul, Karina Yoder, Hailey Hardy.

LEWISBURG

Coach: Jose Vega

Assistants: Mark Gargano, Michael Ayers

League: HAC-II

Classification: Class AA

Last year: 9-10 (5-5 HAC) (lost to Montoursville in District 4 Class AA quarterfinals)

Last playoff appearance: 2016

Roster: Seniors: Olivia Reish, Nicole Cho, Sarah Beiler, Talia Host, Julianna Girton, Bethany Rippon, Tatum Omlor. Juniors: Sarah Ayers, Allison REed, Sarah Burns, Selena Permyashkin, Stephanie Shooter, Emma Hartung. Sophomores; Grace Rosevear, Chloe Michaels, Annie Batkowski, Hannah Drexler. Freshmen: Ella Reish, Rosalyn Noone, Lauren Gross, Chelsea Stanton, Grace Herbst, Morgan Harris, Catherine Simone, Taryn Beers, Tonya Omlor.

MONTOURSVILLE

Coach: Vic Gorini

Assistants: Alexandra Butler, Marissa Spitler, John McKenna

League: HAC-II

Classification: Class AA

Last year: 21-1 (10-0 HAC) (league champs; def. Lewisburg in District 4 Class AA quarterfinals; def. Mifflinburg in semifinals; def. Loyalsock in championship; def. Salisburg in first round of PIAA tournament; lost to Trinity in shootout in semifinals)

Last playoff appearance: 2016

Roster: Seniors: Maddie McDonald, Caroline King, Lauren O’Malley, Kyleigh Balint, Kaylie Schans, Tatyana Kraft, Lily Stutzman, Courtney Young. Juniors: Anna Schult, Marlea Fry, Alexa Mitchell, Samantha Huyck, Allyse Marchioni, Alaynah Grimes. Sophomores: Antone’ James, Lilly Saar, Bella Masias, Jade Neiman, Morgan Umstead, Avery Zales. Freshmen: Logan Carey, Grace Reighard, Mackenzie Cohick, Hannah Albert, Alivia McDonald, Kenna Mensinger, Marin Catino, Rei Saar, Katie Musto, Erin Witter, Tyler Johnson.

COMMENTS