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Gerardi: Camp sessions by Ream at Jersey Shore beneficial

Alexa Ream is no stranger to traveling around during the summer to put camps on at different high schools and universities. She’s been Clarion’s women’s soccer coach for two years and it helps her build the game while reaching possible recruits.

But she’s also a Jersey Shore graduate. So when she saw a chance to put on a camp for her alma mater and work with the Bulldogs’ girls soccer team, Ream didn’t hesitate.

“Being a Jersey Shore alumni, I was really excited for the opportunity to work with the team,” Ream said. “I reached out about planning a camp prior to Ben (Comfort’s) hire, but was very pleased to hear that he was taking over the program.”

For three days over the course of the late summer, Ream worked at Jersey Shore with the Bulldogs and put on a mix of sessions and getting to know some of the players.

Comfort and Ream talked about areas he wanted to focus on for the camps and Ream helped develop training sessions from there.

“It was also a chance for the team’s freshmen and new players to become more familiar with upperclassmen and returners, especially building team chemistry prior to the start of the preseason which is very important,” Ream said. “Coach Ben was also watching every session, so it allowed him to se the players perform and work together.”

Comfort was more than happy to have Ream come back to Jersey Shore and help out the team. Comfort is in his first year as the Bulldogs’ coach and he wants to help turn the program around.

“She came in with the girls about three nights, two hours at a time. It was nice just to give the girls someone else to learn from,” Comfort said. “It’s a good experience for the girls and nice for them to hear another coach’s opinion or voice. They can always learn something new from someone else’s thoughts and soccer background.”

Both Comfort and Ream want to see the Bulldogs’ program become a contender. Jersey Shore hasn’t made the playoffs since the mid-2000s, and have won seven games in a season just once in the 2010s.

Ream’s camps are something Comfort believes can help get the team going in the right direction and give the program a beneficial experience not just for 2021, but down the road too.

“I think it’s something we need to look forward to, not just this season but year’s down the road here,” Comfort said. “It’s going to take some time to build the program to where I think we can get to. But that’s certainly a good step forward in getting there.”

“I would absolutely love to see the program continue to grow. Coach Ben is the right coach to do so as well,” Ream added. “The team has a lot of potential, and the ladies are so motivated to develop. It’s not easy building a program, but coach Ben and these ladies are well on their way to doing so.”

A TOUGH SCHEDULE

Montoursville opened the season with its annual Burke Tournament and had to play Northumberland Christian and Wyoming Valley West. Both teams were in the playoffs last year in their respective districts.

The Warriors beat Northumberland Christian, 8-2, before winning the tournament title with a 4-1 win against Wyoming Valley West.

The schedule didn’t get easier from there as the Warriors traveled to State College for a road game in which Montoursville won, 6-0. There’s also a home game later in the season against Dallas (Oct. 18).

“We wanted to really see where we’re at early on in the season so we know what we need to do as we get closer to districts. It’s part of the plan,” Montoursville coach Vic Gorini said.

And it’s only benefitting Montoursville. The Warriors are 7-1 and have an offense that has been superb so far this year. Montoursville has scored 43 goals so far and defensively have yielded just five.

The team’s offense has plenty of playmakers including 50-goal scorer Lily Saul, Madison Moll, Lydia Earnest and others.

“We’re committed to using our depth this year especially. We rarely sub on our back line and this year we’re even subbing our back line because we have kids that are so close in quality,” Gorini said. “It’s usually a different starting 11 each game.”

In boys soccer, Williamsport is in a similiar situation, having a brutally tough schedule.

The Millionaires lost to undefeated Danville on Thursday afternoon, 3-1, before having to have a gauntlet of a schedule. The Millionaires beat Altoona, 6-0, on Saturday and have games against Selinsgrove and Midd-West looming. Far from an easy week for Williamsport, but it’s something that will be beneficial.

“They’re strong games. So hopefully that is a benefit and a plus come the end of October. We’ll have to see,” Williamsport coach Lee Kaar said following the loss to Danville. “I told the guys ‘I’m OK with us not peaking now, but lets learn from this and move forward.'”

50-GOAL CLUB

A two-goal performance by Caiden Alexander gave North Penn-Liberty a 4-1 win against Towanda. But more importantly, it put Alexander into an exclusive club as he recorded his 50th goal in the process.

“When he first came on the team in ninth grade til now, he hasn’t stopped working to be good at soccer and now that he’s a senior, I’m glad he hasn’t stopped working hard to achieve this milestone,” North Penn-Liberty coach Matt Grinnell said. “But he couldn’t do it without the help from his teammates from every year and from his family.

“Having Caiden on our team means a lot to us. He always finds a way to score. He’s a leader and a teacher to the younger players. Now seeing everyone on the team working hard to help him achieve this goal is the best,” Grinnell added. “I don’t think I could ask for a better team right now.”

Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at jgerardi@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGerardi.

Jon Gerardi’s Top 5 rankings:

GIRLS SOCCER

1. MONTOURSVILLE (7-1): The Warriors are proving theyáll be a tough team to beat this season. Not only can Montoursvilleás offense put up numbers — 43 goals and counting — but defensively, the Warriors have allowed just five. Add in a huge win over defending Class AA state champion Southern Columbia on Saturday, and Montoursville is an all-around solid team.

2. MILTON (7-0-1): The Black Panthers tied Loyalsock on Monday, 1-1, in double overtime as Janae Bergey scored. The Black Panthers enter a schedule coming up against undefeated Central Columbia (9-0), five-win Shamokin, five-win Warrior Run and five-win Southern Columbia (defending Class AA state champions). Thatáll be a tough gauntlet for the Black Panthers to get through.

3. SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (7-0): Seven wins and seven shutouts? Last I checked that’s pretty impressive. The Mounties have yet to allow a goal this season and last beat Jersey Shore, 6-0. The Mounties have a potent offense led by Aleigha Rieppel, Piper Minier and Olivia Casella, among others.

4. WILLIAMSPORT (3-2): The Millionaires have had a bit of a skid, falling to Shikellamy and Altoona in consecutive games. But combined, Altoona and Shikellamy are 11-5-1 this year and are two tough opponents. Kailee Helmrich has been helping keep Williamsportás offense in games.

5. WARRIOR RUN (5-3): The Defenders improved to 5-3 with a 2-0 win against Hughesville on Monday afternoon as Alayna Wilkins and Maggie Sheets scored. It comes two days after a win over Millville. Raygan Lust is at the top of the area scoring leaders with 13 and is proving to be a weapon for Warrior Run.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Lily Saul, Montoursville

Saul earns her second player of the week honor after she scored two goals and had an assist in a huge 4-0 win over defending Class AA state champion Southern Columbia and had a hat trick in a 6-0 win Monday against Midd-West. Saul’s proved last year she’s a player defenses have to mark and she’s showcasing why yet again in 2021.

BOYS SOCCER

1. LEWISBURG (6-0-1): The Green Dragons consecutive win streak of 28 games came to a halt when Susquehannock tied Lewisburg on Saturday in double overtime, 1-1. Susquehannock is second in the York-Adams League standings and gave Lewisburg its toughest game so far this season.

2. SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (5-0): The Mounties have a big game upcoming with Mid-Penn foe Millville on Wednesday. The Mounties are looking to remain undefeated and have played great this season. South Williamsport’s defense has allowed just one goal, and while the offense is full of playmakers and scoring threats, the defense is arguable the teamás biggest strength.

3. WILLIAMSPORT (5-2): After a tough loss to Danville on Thursday, the Millionaires responded with a convincing 6-0 rout against State College on Saturday. As my column noted, Williamsport has a tough schedule since the Danville game with Altoona, Selinsgrove and Midd-West. Consider it a good baromoter for the Millionaires as districts loom in late October.

4. MONTOURSVILLE (4-4): Big win for Montoursville on Saturday, defeating a tough Wellsboro team, 3-2, on the road to get back to .500. Dominic Pulizzi has emerged as a scoring threat, leading the Warriors with nine goals while Wyatt Fry has seven assists.

5. WELLSBORO (4-2-2): The Green Hornets’ loss Saturday to Montoursville is just their second loss of the year. Wellsboro has plenty of playmakers up top — Jack Poirier has 10 goals while Matt Richards has eight — and are a tough team to beat once the offense gets rolling.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Jimmy Pombor, WILLIAMSPORT

What a week for the Millionaire standout. Pombor had a hat trick and assist in a 5-2 win against Shikellamy, had Williamsport’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to a tough Danville team and came back and scored twice in a 6-0 rout over Altoona. Pombor has 12 goals already this season and is tough to contain.

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