The Main Line high school soccer scene this fall should feature a good number of strong teams. Coming off particularly noteworthy 2015 campaigns are Conestoga boys (21-2-1, undefeated Central League champions, PIAA state semifinalists), Episcopal Academy girls (10-1-1 in the InterAc), Friends’ Central girls (7-1-1 in the Friends Schools League), Haverford School (19-2-2 overall, 7-1-2 Inter-Ac), Malvern Prep (16-6-2, lost in PAISAA championship final), Shipley boys (15-5-2, undefeated Friends Schools League champions), Harriton girls (8-1-2 in the Central League) and Episcopal Academy boys (second place in the Inter-Ac).
What follows are previews of the Main Line high school soccer teams:
Academy of Notre Dame
Head coach: Ben Davey, second year.
Last year’s record: 7-13 overall, 3-9 Inter-Ac.
Key returnees: senior midfielder Brooke Spino, senior defender Claire Nappi, sophomore midfielder Maggie O’Brien, sophomore forward Juliet Marchesani.
Others to watch: sophomore midfielder/defender Sophie Pinnie.
Lost to graduation: Phoebe McClernon (playing for University of Virginia).
Outlook: Davey said, “We’re looking to build on from last year. We have a strong team ethic which will hopefully stand us in good stead this upcoming season. Having lost some key starters [from] last year, I’m looking for the returning players to step up and make a big impact in our games throughout the season.”
Head coach: Mike Welsh, first year.
Key returnees: senior goalie Kendall Shein, senior center midfielder Annie McConnon, senior winger Lydia Bartosh, senior center midfielder Alicia O’Neil, senior center midfielder Grace Smith.
Others to watch: junior winger Maria Pansini, sophomore defender Grace Bartosh, freshman striker Natalie Pansini.
Outlook: Welsh said, “From what I’ve seen in these first few days [of pre-season practice], I think we’ll create and score goals. … We have graduated defenders and are light in that area.”
Archbishop Carroll (girls)
Head coach: Frank Olszewski, third year.
Last year’s record: 6-9-2 overall, 4-8-1 Catholic League
Key returnees: senior midfielder Bella Sorrentino (was first team All-PCL and Patriots’ leading scorer last fall), junior defender Lara Ramirez (third team All-PCL), sophomore forward Paige Mastripolito (was team’s second-leading scorer with five goals), junior midfielder/goalie Claire Boylan, junior midfielder Rachel Matey, junior midfielder/goalie (four shutouts) Grace Gallagher, senior defender Morgan Rake.
Others to watch: sophomore defender Lexi Hagan, junior defender Divonne Franklin, junior midfielder Lauren Nigro, senior midfielder Maddie Ferriaoli, senior midfielder Abby Ferriaoli, senior midfielder Rose Kokol, senior midfielder Molly McFadden.
Lost to graduation: forward Mandi Rafanello, forward Juliet Rossetti, defender Bridget Boylan.
Outlook: Senior midfielder Bella Sorrentino, recently signed at Temple University for soccer, will put the team on her back as she has since her sophomore year. With the solid junior goalkeeping tandem of Claire Boylan and Grace Gallagher, organizing the back, Carroll will not be giving away easy goals. Returning defenders, Lara Ramirez and Morgan Rake bring experience and leadership to the team, while Paige Mastripolito will try to build on her excellent freshman year.
Head coach: Adrian Cox, second year.
Last year’s record: 9-10-2 overall, 3-7-2 InterAc (fifth place).
Key returnees: Senior defender/forward and co-captain Jennifer Dietrich (was All-Main Line honorable mention last fall), senior defender/midfielder and co-captain Kahlaa Cannady (All-Main Line honorable mention, four assists last fall), junior midfielder Rachel White (four goals, six assists), junior defender Carly McIntosh, sophomore midfielder/defender Natalie Sgro (All-Main Line honorable mention, 10 goals, three assists), sophomore midfielder/forward Gia Vicari (10 goals, 12 assists, second team All-Inter-Ac, second team All-Main Line.)
Others to watch: junior defender Olivia Dewitt (four goals), junior midfielder Marissa McGarrey (four goals, five assists), sophomore goalkeeper Simi Bleznak, sophomore defender Lauren Bracken, sophomore midfielder Celia Page (three assists.)
Lost to graduation: forward Ellie Greenberg (Middlebury College -soccer, track & field; was second team All-InterAc and second team All-Main Line last fall); defender hayden ivey (University of Richmond); goalkeeper Samantha O’Keefe (Moravian College – softball; was second team All-InterAc and second team All-Main Line last fall.)
Outlook: Cox, in his second year at the helm, is optimistic about the growth of the Polar Bears’ soccer program, noting that there are close to 50 players participating in the Upper School program, and that this year’s varsity squad “has a lot of depth” and returns 10 key starters and 75 percent of its offensive production from the 2015 campaign. He added, “The team is focused on playing strong defense and will attack in numbers with speed, intelligence and creativity.” Last fall, Baldwin experienced a number of injuries to key players and the team suffered five losses by one goal. Cox said, “The team has concentrated on strength and conditioning in the offseason and is ready to finish close games on a positive note. The 2016 schedule will test the program. The Polar Bears will play some of the top private independent schools in the state and will be ready to compete against all the Inter-Ac opponents. Baldwin will be fun to watch this fall and is poised for a breakout season.”
Barrack Hebrew Academy (girls)
Head coach: Kim Gillio, 19th year.
Last year’s record: 11-3 overall, 6-0 Tri-County League (champions), 4-2 Penn-Jersey League.
Key returnees: senior goalie Sarah Nelson, senior striker Tamar Cahana, sophomore defender Yasi Stein, sophomore forward Shira Perloff, freshman midfielder Mia Erlbaum, eighth-grader center midfielder Isabella Jacobson.
Others to watch: senior defender Elise Black, senior midfielder Natalie Luftman, sophomore defender Julia Nahmani, sophomore midfielder Juliet Hirsh.
Lost to graduation: Lindsay Chevlin, Sarah Levin, Amanda Josephs. Also lost nine juniors for the season that are studying in Israel.
Outlook: Gillio said, “We have excellent senior leadership this year. Our defense, led by all-league goalie Sarah Nelson, is striving to shut down most offenses this season. With fantastic ball movement and power, our offensive unit will look to spread the field and take shots all around the 18 box. This is by far one of the fastest, experienced, driven teams that I’ve coached. Sixteen girls showing up for non-mandatory preseason, gives everyone involved great energy, and is a terrific sign of what’s to come this season. The team is hoping to defend the Tri-County League title, and to win our first-ever Penn Jersey League championship.”
Head coach: David Zimmerman, 15th year.
Last year’s record: 21-2-1 overall, 11-0 Central League (champions), advanced to PIAA state semifinals.
Key returnees: senior midfielder Blaise Milanek, senior defender Gabe Harms, senior midfielder Mason Miller.
Others to watch: junior defender Nick Jennings, junior forward Chris Donovan, junior midfielder Rodrigo Martinez.
Lost to graduation: keeper Will Smith (Lehigh).
Outlook: The Pioneers return the majority of the attacking players from a squad that made it to the PIAA state semifinals last fall. According to Zimmerman, goal scoring should be a strength; however, gone are three starters in the back line and the goalkeeper. The big question will be how well will the Pioneers defend?
Head coach: Benjamin Wilson, first year.
Last year’s record: 5-12-1 overall. 5-5-1 Central League.
Key returnees: Senior tri-captains Katelyn Perz (center mid). Madie French (outside mid/back), Elisabeth Ingersoll (center/outside back).
Others to watch: junior center-back Hannah Morgan, junior center-mid Caitlyn Ellerbeck.
Lost to graduation: midfielder/defender Alice Reagan (playing for Loyola University Maryland). midfielder Sami Silverstein, goalie Jules Horning.
Outlook: Wilson said, “Coming off of a very down year result-wise that stemmed from a number of key injuries, the girls are going to be fired-up and focused on climbing back to the top of the Central League. The greatest strengths of the team should be in the speed and creativity of the attack, and the depth we have off of the bench that should allow for a fast tempo to be sustained throughout the game. The sum of all parts should make for a strong line-up. The biggest challenge the team faces is staying healthy. So our focus will be on training smart, and recovering well after games to keep fresh. The other great challenge is the level of competition that we will encounter all season long. This is a challenging league and district to compete in, so no opponent can be taken lightly.”
Head coach: Tim McNally, second year.
Last year’s record: 12-7-1 overall, 6-5-1 league.
Key returnees: senior goalkeeper Jimmy Loftus, junior midfielder Drew Maslanka, junior midfielder A. J. Gardiner, sophomore forward Nick Bello.
Others to watch: junior defender Frank Byrd, junior midfielder John Curran, junior forward Charlie Verna, sophomore forward Connor Kelly, sophomore defender Jake Thomas.
Lost to graduation: forward Tanner Daggett (playing for Randolph Macon College), forward Matt Bevilaqua (playing baseball at Lehigh University), midfielder Tony Gallo (playing baseball for Lehigh University), Matt Kelly, Andrew Welsh, Grant McKnight, Mike Love, Joe Heater, Harpreet Cheema, Anthony Walker, Andrew Betts.
Outlook: McNally said, “Our biggest strength is our defense, led by our fourth-year starter in goal, Jimmy Loftus, and the experience and speed we have in the back, led by Maslanka, Byrd and Thomas. On offense we are blessed with speed as well, with Verna, Bello and Kelly. Our biggest challenge is to integrate the new players into a system that features ‘Team First,’ and to get everyone familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We will try to do this in time to return to the district finals, and maybe take the next step.”
Episcopal Academy (boys)
Head coach: David Knox, eighth year.
Last year’s record: 14-7-4 overall, 5-3-2 Inter-Ac (second place).
Key returnees: senior midfielder and captain Quinn Dudek, senior midfielder Ramon Gallegos, senior forward Brandon Sheppard, senior goalkeeper AJ Marcucci, junior midfielder Johnny Cunningham, junior defender Nick Wallick.
Others to watch: junior forward Spencer Higgins, junior forward Chris Bassett, sophomore midfielder Harrison Malone, sophomore midfielder Samuel Wilson.
Lost to graduation: forward Zach Viscusi (playing for Swarthmore), defenders Matt de Pillis and Matt McDevitt.
Outlook: Knox said, “We have a very deep and determined squad looking to improve on last year’s second-place finish in the Inter-Ac.”
Episcopal Academy (girls)
Head coach: Andy Fraggos, first year.
Last year’s record: 13-4-2 overall, 10-1-1 InterAc.
Key returnees: senior forward Molly O’Brien, senior defender Lilly Shaner, senior midfielder Jacqueline Dzwonczyk, senior midfielder Kelsey Slack, senior midfielder Reilly Wright, junior midfielder Josie Konopka, junior goalie Morgan Messner, junior goalie Hannah Moriarty, junior midfielder Annie Doig.
Others to watch: senior defender Sarah Keffer, senior midfielder Brooke Royer, sophomore midfielder Olivia Dirks, sophomore midfielder Madeie Loughead, sophomore midfielder Anna Salvucci.
Lost to graduation: midfielder Jes Shanahan (LaSalle), defender Julia Hondros (playing lacrosse for Brown), midfielder Meg Manley (playing lacrosse for Wesleyan University), defender Claudia Becker (playing lacrosse for Davidson College)
Outlook: Fraggos said, “Our team’s biggest strength will be the leadership from our upperclassmen, and our high number of returning players with varsity playing experience. Last year, finding the back of the net was frequent for the team, but our challenge will be how quickly we are able to find consistency across the lines after graduating four key starters, including two All-Delco selections.”
Friends’ Central (boys)
Head coach: Galen Guindon, fifth year.
Last year’s record: 9-7-3 overall, 6-3-1 Friends Schools League.
Key returnees: senior midfielder Chris Annas, senior forward Asa Bell, senior midfielder Matt Blackman, senior goalie Nolan McGrann, senior midfielder Matt Nguyen, senior defender Max Valenci, senior forward Robbie Winward, senior defender Jake Zaoutis.
Others to watch: sophomore forward Ingram Dillingham, sophomore forward Miles Johnson, sophomore midfielder Carson Lonner, sophomore Lucas McGrann, sophomore defender Liam Sullivan.
Lost to graduation: defender Mark Charamella, defender Gil Dreyfuss, defender Joey Lawall.
Outlook: Only losing three players to graduation, Friends’ Central looks to build upon last year’s second place finish in the FSL. With three starting defenders lost to graduation, the Phoenix will need to find a new combination on the back line to support senior goalie Nolan McGrann in net. Going forward, FCS returns a core of seniors led by Matt Blackman, Matt Nguyen and Asa Bell. These three combined to lead the team with 20 goals and 14 assists in 2015 and will need to turn their dynamic play-making into goals for the team to be successful this fall.
Friends’ Central (girls)
Head coach: Luke Nowell, second year.
Last year’s record: 15-4-1 overall, 7-1 Friends’ Schools League.
Key returnees: senior center mid Lorna MacFarlane, junior center back Morgan Crowley, junior center back Ava Forman.
Others to watch: sophomore midfielder Phebe Guenther, senior midfielder Olivia Comstock, junior defender Emily Lorry.
Lost to graduation: center mid Jesse Rubin (playing for Washington University St. Louis), center mid Anna Leone, midfielder Rucha Alur, midfielder Miranda Mastrocola, defender Avital Schweitzer.
Outlook: Nowell said, “Our biggest strength is definitely our strong core of returning upperclassmen. If they can use their experience to help guide some of our younger players, we should be in great shape for another strong season. As always, though, it all depends on how quickly we can come together and mesh as a team both on and off the field.”
Head coach: Biff Sturla, 15th year.
Last year’s record: 11-7-1 overall, 6-4-1 Central League.
Key returnees: junior defender and co-captain Ethan Rodgers (was second team All-Central League last fall), sophomore center midfielder Alex Kades (was honorable mention All-Central League), junior forwards Serhat Sakarcan and Noah Cox, senior defender Brian Lorenz, senior goalkeeper and co-captain Jake Putnam.
Others to watch: sophomore midfielder Evan Tracy, junior midfielder Byron Rivas.
Lost to graduation: Felix Serlin (was first team All-Central League) and “our entire defense” according to Sturla – Anthony Calligaro, Willie Marks, Matt Binnion, Aaron Dickman, Noah Hunt-Isaak and goalie Lukas Serlin.
Outlook: Sturla said, “We lost our entire defense from last year, many of whom were two- or three-year starters. We need to create a new defense from scratch and get them working together. We have a lot of attacking players back so we should hopefully be able to score some goals.”
Head coach: Jeff Rhodes, seventh year.
Last year’s record: 11-5-2 overall, 8-1-2 Central League.
Key returnees: senior defender Ella Milani, senior defender Juliet Milani, senior defender Amanda Costa, senior striker Carly Harad, senior striker Nadine Horneck, senior midfielder Marlee Zales. senior goalie Sarah Root.
Others to watch: junior forward Morgan Rees, sophomore midfielder Filippa Graneld, sophomore midfielder Gabriella Mazzoni, sophomore midfielder Allison Schwab, sophomore defender Reilly Short.
Lost to graduation: forward Samantha Bigham (Millersville University), goalie Claire Coyle (Wesleyan University).
Outlook: Rhodes said, “We are looking to be competitive in the Central League.”
Haverford High (boys)
Head coach: David Cassanelli, first year.
Last year’s record: 6-9-3 overall, 3-6-2 Central League.
Key returnees: senior center back Josh Cunningham, sophomore midfielder/forward Marc Mays, junior winger Matt Billbrough, senior midfielder Chris Rioboli, junior center back Connor Brown.
Others to watch: senior forward Sean Cannon, senior goalie Nick DeFeo, junior back/midfielder Wilson Dodds, junior winger Chris Rose.
Lost to graduation: forward/midfielder Cole Mays, midfielder Steve DiSippio.
Outlook: Cassanelli is a Haverford High grad who was Main Line Times Athlete of the Year (public school boys) in 2008. He served as the Fords’ varsity assistant coach the past three seasons. Cassanelli said, “Our biggest strength will be experience and familiarity with each other. – many of our starters played significant minutes on varsity last year. Many of the boys play high level club soccer together. Our biggest challenges will be learning to win at the varsity level – every opponent brings 100 percent, and the games aren’t always pretty. Can we win the ugly, close ones even if we aren’t playing our game? We’ll have to see.”
Haverford High (girls)
Head coach: Alexandra Hill, fourth year.
Last year’s record: 10-5-3.
Key returnees: senior defenders Brianna Blair and Maddie Santoro, senior forward Amelia Durfee.
Others to watch: junior midfielder Sadie Gold, sophomore midfielder Annalena O’Reilly.
Lost to graduation: Hannah Dodds (Washington and Lee), Athena Pilato (University of Northern Colorado).
Outlook: Hill said, “This season we will look to build on last year’s strong finish and be a strong competitor in the Central League. We have several strong seniors with a solid back line and a young, but very athletic keeper. Our speed and strength up top will be fun to watch.”
Head coach: Bill Brady, sixth year.
Last year’s record: 19-2-2 overall, 7-1-2 Inter-Ac.
Key returnees: senior midfielder Caleb Clothier, senior fullback Josh Ridenhour, senior fullback Evan Scott, junior goalie Will Baltrus.
Others to watch: senior midfielder Solomon Dorsey, senior fullback Dean Manko, junior midfielder Parker Gravina, sophomore forward Nick Pippis, sophomore fullback Griffin Wada.
Lost to graduation: fullback Shane Bradley (Villanova), midfielder Conor Bradley (Villanova), forward Connor Gregory (Brown), fullback Senan Farrelly (Notre Dame), forward Alec Haas (Wesleyan), fullback Jimmy Tricolli (Emory), forward Jerry Karalis (Colgate), midfielder Grant Yu (Pomona).
Outlook: Brady, who sees the Fords’ biggest strengths as team chemistry and solid senior leadership, said, “It’s always tough to replace eight starters who have all gone on to play at amazing college programs. …. We will have competition for every spot on the field, with a strong core of younger players battling for significant roles in the team this year. Players will have to mature quickly into their roles.”
Lower Merion (boys)
Head coach: Nico Severini, seventh year.
Last year’s record: 5-3-3 Central League.
Key returnees: senior striker Ryan Tillman, senior Midfielders Alex Moureaud and Andreas Blobel, senior defender David Smith, junior defender Thomas Podrasky, senior goalie Sebastian Jenkins.
Others to watch: junior midfielder Max Shapiro, senior midfielder David Novacich, sophomore midfielder Tim O’Hare.
Lost to graduation: Anthony Haines, Quinn Vagnoni.
Outlook: Severini lists the Aces’ biggest strengths as playing the ball quickly and passing. He added, “The players have a great attitude and work to put the team and their teammates first. We graduated several key players and will have new players that will have to learn the system.”
Lower Merion (girls)
Head coach: Kevin Ries, 13th year.
Last year’s record: 7-8-2 overall, 3-6-2 Central League.
Key returnees: senior forward Lexie Sutton, senior forward Alexa Cotler, senior midfielder Lizzie D’alonzo, senior defender Julia Utkus, senior defender Cammy Tabb, junior defender Kaitlin Vagnoni, sophomore midfielder Isabelle Kuszyk.
Others to watch: sophomore midfielder Bella Peterson, freshman defender Teresa Cato, junior forward Sophie Riverso, junior goalie Lindsay Palish.
Lost to graduation: defender Louisa Ebby, midfielder Abby Ritterband, goalie Mo McConnell.
Outlook: Ries said, “We have a nice blend of experience and youth. We have a strong core group of experienced leaders who will work to bring the six underclassmen up to speed as quickly as possible. Also, key this season will be to gel as a team quickly, and learn to play and defend as a unit. We look to improve as the season goes on and strive to be competitive in the Central League.”
Head coach:Andrew Kummerer, second year.
Last year’s record: 16-6-2 overall, 5-5 InterAc, lost in PAISAA championship final.
Key returnees: Senior forward Billy Coyle, senior defender and co-captain Cullen Pina, senior defender and co-captain Nate Albergo.
Others to watch: Junior forward Michael Castaldi, junior defender Conor Dillon.
Lost to graduation: midfielder David Bettenhausen (Villanova), midfielder Chris Savino (Scranton), forward Michael Narzikul (Catholic University).
Outlook: Kummerer said, “Our biggest strengths will be the amount of experience we have on defense returning. Our entire backline and goalie are returning. … Our biggest challenge will be to replace the amount of offensive production our seniors provided us [last fall].”
Merion Mercy Academy
Head coach: Reinaldo Olivo, first year.
Last year’s record: 1-14 overall.
Key returnees: senior forward Cala Olivo, senior forward/midfielder, Michaela Copper. junior goalie Leah McCray, sophomore midfielder Teresa Hgarty.
Outlook: Olivo said, “Our biggest strengths this year include a strong work ethic and team unity – we will win and lose as a team and hope to improve greatly from last year. The coaches have high expectations for the team this year. Our biggest challenge is that we don’t play together year-round, but we will make up for that in hustle and hard work.”
Head coach: Joe Caruolo, fifth year.
Last year’s record: 10-7-2 overall, 7-3-1 Central League.
Key returnees: senior forward Jack Miller, senior goalkeeper Ben Toomey, senior center back Calvin Congleton, senior center mid Andrew Boujoukos.
Other to watch: senior midfielders Miles Maesaka and Jordan Lian.
Lost to graduation: forward Max Barish (playing for Ithaca College), center mid Alex Egg-Krings, center back Auguste Dardel.
Outlook: Radnor looks to compete once again in the Central League and earn a bid to the PIAA District One playoffs, this year being in Class AAA. A solid core of seniors are returning, and and a lot of new faces come to the varsity squad this year, especially on defense. Radnor will look to mix up some possession style with some direct play to create chances in the attacking third. Scoring will pose as another challenge for this Radnor squad and will need to be spread out this year by the roster.
Head coach: Jake Solderitsch, first year
Last year’s record: 11-4-5 overall, 6-1-4 Central League.
Key returnees: senior center midfielder Maura Holst, senior midfielder Allison Lanzone, senior goalkeeper Alexa Solomon.
Others to watch: senior defender Annika DeRoos, senior midfielder Nicole Massimino, junior midfielder Carolyn Eckstein.
Lost to graduation: Abby Lord (University of Richmond), Fallon Quinn (Columbia University), Emily Games (Tufts University.)
Outlook: Solderitsch lists the Red Raiders’ biggest strengths as strong senior leadership, a balanced attack and an experienced midfield. He lists their biggest challenges as the new coaching staff, defensive growth and consistency.
Head coach: Thomas Schauerman, 11th year.
Last year’s record: 15-5-2 overall, 10–0 Friends Schools League (champions)
Key returnees: senior midfielder Ashkon Ashrafion, senior midfielder Jack Dougherty, senior midfielder Matt Blumenthal, senior forward Bradley Lawrence, senior goalkeeper Jesse Haines, junior forward Ronan Higgins, junior midfielder Ian Mcgrath, junior defender Zach Bradlow, junior defender Griffin Gallagher, junior midfielder Nolan Hamilton, junior defender Emlyn Thorogood, junior goalkeeper Kyle Blumenthal, sophomore midfielder John Lenart.
Lost to graduation: forward Henry Farr (Trinity), defender Michael Burns (Trinity), midfielder Joe Bradley (Swarthmore College), defender Josh Liss (McGill University), midfielder Wyatt Page (Juniata College).
Outlook: Schauerman said, “The Gators’ biggest strength is that we return 10 varsity players form last year’s roster. Our team will be very technically skilled so the outlook is to build a possession style type game. This group is also very tight as a unit and their friendships and camaraderie will push them every day to work hard. They have all played together for a long time and some have grown up together playing club soccer together. The other great thing is that our team has a good balance of athletes as well as soccer players.
“The biggest challenge we face is that we will need to figure out the best style and system of play to play and where everyone belongs on the field. We have two games in our short second week of preseason and we have a very challenging out of league schedule that we are sure will prepare us for the league.”
Head coach: Dakota Carroll, third year.
Last year’s record: 5-7 overall, 4-3 Friends Schools League.
Key returnees: senior forward Juelle Love (team’s leading goal scorer), senior forward Natalia Joseph, junior defender Eliza Green, junior forward Bela Trachtenburg, junior midfielder Cami Johnson, sophomore goalkeeper Grace Gordon, sophomore defender Elizabeth Talluto.
Others to watch: freshman midfielder Hannah Brainsky, freshman midfielder Liv Hamilton, freshman defender Sarah Cotteta.
Lost to graduation: forward Hope Roehrs (playing for Occidental College), defender Christina Piasecki, defender/midfielder Emily Talluto.
Outlook: Carroll said, “This year our team’s biggest strength is how technical we are overall. We have a solid freshman class who understand the game very well. Many of our freshman will be getting significant playing time this year. As always keeping the team healthy this year is the biggest challenge. Last year we had so many serious injuries our goal this year is to manage the injuries to keep our team with strong numbers. I am very excited for this season, I think we have great leadership from our senior and junior class with great additions from our freshman class.”
Valley Forge Military Academy (boys)
Head coach: Bob Denney, second year.
Last year’s record: 6-12.
Key returnees: Senior goalkeeper Cam Saunders, junior center mid/center back Thomas Stovall, junior wing Sehoon Byun, junior back Damien Fromback.
Others to watch: junior striker Matt DiSisto, junior center mid Marcello Bruzzone, sophomore wing Braeden Bushyager, sophomore wing Andrew Cully, sophomore back David Luthke, junior goalie Yury Nadareyshvili, junior back Donald Ochei.
Lost to graduation: centerback/ACM Isaac Lowell (was first team All-BAL last fall), center back Javier Diaz (was second team All-BAL).
Outlook: This year’s squad looks to build upon last season’s success, when the Trojans tripled their total victories from the previous year. Denney, who served as top assistant coach to Sam Holt at Radnor High School from 1984 to 1996, said, “[We] will be strong down the center of the pitch, led by goalie Cam Saunders, who is one of the top keepers in the state, speedy center backs Thomas Stovall and Sehoon Byun, attacking center midi Marcello Bruzzone and striker Matt DiSisto. With 13 new players including six new starters, our challenge will be to quickly come together as a squad behind the leadership of our captains, Saunders and Stovall. When that happens, this team will be strong contenders for the PIAA District One Class A playoffs.”
Villa Maria Academy
Head coach: Gary Christopher, 11th year.
Last year’s record: 10-7-2.
Key returnees: senior defender Marissa DiGenova, senior midfielder Tori Kent, senior defender Morgan Monteith, junior midfielder Christina DiGuilio.
Others to watch: senior defender Audrey Fantazzia, senior defender Belle Colaiezzi, senior midfielder Emily Gillin, sophomore midfielder Sarah Goldblum.
Lost to graduation: defenders Jules Bradbury (James Madison University) and Beth Eversman (Loyola University).
Outlook: Christopher said, “We have excellent senior leadership, and a lot of experience on the field. Our biggest challenge is that we play in a very competitive league with many excellent players, coaches and programs.”