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HAC-I girls soccer: Despite key losses, Williamsport will look to keep up winning ways

SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Members of Williamsport’s girls soccer team hold up the District 2-4 Class AAAA championship plaque after winning their fourth consecutive title last fall. The Millionaires have set the bar high and lost some key pieces to last year’s championship team.

Lila Vogelsong, Abigail Berthold, Angelina Morrone, Alexandra Lake and Talia Lewis entered Williamsport’s soccer program as freshmen with the team having never won a district championship before. They left last year as a group of four-time champions. That group of seniors left their mark at Williamsport by becoming the most successful senior class the program has ever had and it set the bar remarkably high.

The expectations are no longer just to make the postseason. It’s now to win a district title and make it the norm.

Williamsport lost a lot from last year’s district championship team. Vogelsong was a solid goalie for the Millionaires, Lewis helped control the midfield and Abigail Berthold was one of the area’s best defensive players over the past few years. Throw in the fact that all-time leading scorer Katie Penman graduated a year early to enroll in college and there’s quite a few holes for Williamsport to fill.

But Scott McNeill is a seasoned coach who’s used to having to replace players. And while there’s holes to fill, there’s plenty returning.

The Millionaires bring back Hannah Myers, Mallory Pardoe, Kailee Helmrich and Matayah Deitrick. Penman was a force all year at forward, constantly using her speed to fly by defenders and she ended up scoring 25 goals. But Helmrich returning provides a huge boost to the offense as the junior scored 14 goals last year and dished out a team-high 12 assists.

Adelia Engel got some time in goal last year, which should be beneficial since she has to replace Vogelsong

THROUGHOUT THE LEAGUE…

Lewisburg lost in the District 4 Class AA championship game to Central Columbia, but made it to the state tournament. The Green Dragons graduated just two players from last season, which means the team has a lot back. But one of those graduated players was Chloe Michaels, a superb defensive standout player who was named to the Sun-Gazette all-decade team of the 2010s.

“You don’t fill or replace a Chloe Michaels, she will be missed for sure. Her attributes go beyond just her play, but we have some solid players that are working hard to keep the back line strong,” Lewisburg coach Terry Gerlinski said. “Elena Malone and Matty Still will be anchors back there. Madison Cardello is a returning starter on the back line, so we should hopefully jell pretty quickly.”

From an offensive standpoint, the Green Dragons should be just as solid as last year. Ella Reish, Sophie Kilbride, Ameila Kiepke, Taryn Beers, Chelsea Stanton and Mikela Long all are returning players who will give Lewisburg a lot of firepower up top.

Reish and Kilbride were Lewisburg’s top scorers last year with 17 and 11 goals, respectively. Kilbride also had a team-high 10 assists and will only get better as she was just a freshman last season.

“Ella will for sure be a huge piece and will drive the team. It will be interesting to see how things shape up and who else steps up to be the big components of the squad,” Gerlinski said. “I see Sophie and Mikela, hopefully Ameila, being big scoring threats and producers.”

Montoursville is another area team which had playoff success last year. The Warriors fell to Lewisburg in the quarterfinals and Montoursville should again be a tough team to beat in the HAC-I this season.

The Warriors had five freshmen on the field at any given time last season and that experience is something coach Vic Gorini thinks will be incredibly beneficial, especially for a team that wants to get to the district championship game.

“With at least five freshmen players on the field at any time las tseason we believe we have the ability to continue to make progress and get back into the district championship and state playoffs,” Gorini said. “District 4 Class AA girls soccer is a tough tournament, but we expect to be a strong contender for the title.”

Like last year, Montoursville is a young team. Of the 40 players on the roster, 33 are sophomores or freshmen. But that young talent is what Gorini is expecting to step up.

“Our focus this year is on bringing our young talent into the offensive mix. You can’t defeat the top team wtihout having a diverse and balanced attack,” Gorini said. “We have been working hard on Lily (Saul) being able to combine with her teammates which will ultimately improve her ability to be effective and score more goals against the top opponents.”

Saul was a nightmare for defenses to slow down last season as she scored 18 goals as a sophomore.

Defensively, Montoursville will rely on Hannah Albert, Mackenzie Cohick, Payton Bragalone and Natalie Reeder on the backline, a foursome that rarely came out of games and did excellent shutting down opposing teams. No team scored more than two goals against them in a single game and many came from outside their defensive area.

Jersey Shore is coming off a four-win season and the Bulldogs will look to improve this year. It’s something first-year coach Jacob Maneval expects his team to be able to do.

“If we get to play a full season, playoffs are definitely wtihin the realm of possibility if the girls play up to their potential,” Maneval said.

The Bulldogs return a handful of plays from last year, including Madison Maihle, Aubrey Sechrist, Kylie Kirkendall and goalie Elizabeth Fishel.

Central Mountain went 1-17 last year, and while the 2019 season was a bit rough and disappointing, Jeff Brinker is looking forward to what this season holds for the Wildcats.

“We have a great group of girls coming back and a lot of freshmen that are fighting for their place on the varsity team,” Brinker said. “I am anticipating the girls competing at a high level and look foward to more wins this season.”

The Wildcats return two HAC all-star selections in Avery Baker and Abigail Brinker who both should help give Central Mountain a boost and provide some leadership.

LEWISBURG

Coach: Terry Gerlinski

Assistants: Kaylin Watts, Adam Gross

League: HAC-I

Last year: 16-6-1 (8-3-1 HAC-I) (def. Montoursville, 1-0, in first round of District 4 Class AA quarterfinals; def. Warrior Run, 5-1, in semifinals; lost to Central Columbia, 4-1, in championship; lost to ELCO, 3-0, in PIAA Class AA playoffs)

Roster: Seniors: Lauren Gross, Ella Reish, Amelia Kiepke, Taryn Beers, Theresa Zeh. Juniors: Madison Cardello, Medha Yenireddy, Alyssa Coleman, Elena Malone. Sophomores: Serena DeCosmo, Olivia HOckenbrock, Mikayla Long, Sophia Kilbride, Charlee Keister. Freshmen: McKenna Meadows, Ella Koontz, Kara Brazier, McKenzie Johnson, Izzy Wood.

WILLIAMSPORT

Coach: Scott McNeill

Assistants: Mackenzie Bowman, Kyle Bidelspacher

League: HAC-I

Last year: 13-5-3 (7-2-3 HAC-I) (def. Hazleton, 2-0, in District 2-4 Class AAAA semifinals; def. Delaware Valley, 1-0, in district championship; lost to North Penn, 5-0, in first round of PIAA Class AAAA playoffs)

Roster: Seniors: Hannah Myers, Violet Lindsay. Juniors: Paige Porter, Kailee HElmrich, Matison Cramer, Matayah Dietrick, Riley Shipman, Kendall Hennigan, Sarina Beiter, Mallory PArdoe, Adelia Engel. Sophomores; Ciara Beaghley, Miah Jones, Ava Matz, Kaelyn Sennett, Eva DiSalvo-Carnevale, Mia Clark, Riley Terrano, Nevaeh Bower, Sarah Spring, Addison Bower. Freshmen: Lillyana Sponhouse, Kyasia Ruff, Elizabeth Shultz, Ella Wilson, Chloe Campbell.

MONTOURSVILLE

Coach: Vic Gorini

Assistants: Alexandra Butler, John McKenna, Olivia Erb, Amanda Walter, Maddy Gorini

League: HAC-I

Last year: 10-6-4 (5-3-4 HAC-I) (def. Milton, 2-0, in first round of District 4 Class AA playoffs; lost to Lewisburg, 1-0, in quarterfinals)

Roster: Seniors: Hannah Albert, Marin Catino, Mackenzie Cohick, Alexa Ulmer. Juniors: Lily Saul, Jacee Millheim, Alexa Tupper. Sophomores: Kierstyn Dawes, Ashlynn Loe, Makennah McCourt, Kayla Bainbridge, Madison Moll, Shyanne Klemick, Shyloh Klemick, Maria HIras, Natalie Reeder, Cassady Wood, Maya Neiman, Alaina Marchioni, Kyra Shaner, Lydia Earnest, Payton Bragalone, Finley Bragalone, Abby Zartman, Drew Seese. Freshmen: Reese Bainbridge, Natalie Bennett, Anna Baylor, Carlie Bryant, Emily Carson, Emma Cline, Madison Cohick, Marissa Hartland, Jillian Irion, Karleigh Koenig, Bryn Jacopetti, Nyla Kutney, Ava Lilley, Jayden Phillips, Emma Wood.

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Coach: Jeff Brinker

Assistants: Daniel Brinker, Madison Courter, Mac Walsh

League: HAC-I

Last year: 1-17 (0-10 HAC-I)

Roster: Seniors: Avery Baker, Abby Brinker, Bailey Brungard, Damaris Hall, Hayle MCollin, Olivia Miller, Jocelyn Renninger. Juniors: Alyssa Vangorder, Rylie Swortwood, Emily Short, Kylie Quiggle, Aubrielle Pinero, Mia Kopysciansky, Riley Kaluzny, Maren Grubb, Sydney Cooper, Roxanne Condo, Madison Briggs, Ava Bair. Sophomores: Traci Thompson, Briley Lewis, Kiahna Jones. Freshmen: Samiah Anderson, Taylor Campbell, Paige Confer, Elise Cygan, Lily Hendricks, Danica Kelly, Valerie Kitchen, Halle Lodek, Ava Renninger, Julia Smith, Morgan Temple.

JERSEY SHORE

Coach: Jacob Maneval

Assistants: Alexis Loughry

League: HAC-I

Last year: 4-13-1 (2-10-1 HAC-II)

Roster: Seniors: Elizabeth Fishel, Rita Fisher, Kylie Kirkendall, Madison Maihle, Aubrey Sechrist. Juniors: Sara Pecchia, Emma Tovar, Harmony Waxmunsky. Sophomores: Emma Kauffman, Averi Maihle, Aliyah Neece, Julia Sorgen, Ella TenEyck, Destiny Umstead, Devon Walker, Grace Welshans, Morgan Witt. Freshmen: Lilly Branton, Madison Klopp, Ashlynn Witt, Bryanna Witt.

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