Heading into the 2014 campaign with his young squad, Villa Maria Academy soccer coach Gary Christopher was the hoping the Bishop Shanahan Tournament would give his team confidence leading into a challenging AACA schedule.
Although the Hurricanes suffered two heartbreaking 1-0 losses against Springfield (Delco) and host Shanahan, they came away feeling positive.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,’ Christopher said. “Their work rate was exceptional. They did everything we asked but we got a little unlucky with the results.’
Senior co-captain Katie Manta added, “We have a great group of girls. We got a little unlucky with the results. These games showed us what we need to work on but as long as we relax a little and play our game we will be successful.’
Against Shanahan, VMA fell behind with 36:26 remaining in the first half when Emilie Tronoski knocked in a perfect cross from Allison Broomall. The tally came less than a minute after junior Olivia Kramer made a point blank save on Katie Longendefer’s shot.
Villa had an opportunity to tie the game with 23 minutes remaining in the first half but Emma Rodner-Timms came up with a key save on sophomore Morgan Monteith’s shot.
Despite controlling the midfield for much of the match, Villa was unable to net the equalizer.
“Our midfield was exceptional against Shanahan. We have the capability to play strong defense every match. Our offense is a work in progress but we will get there,’ Christopher said.
Having trouble putting the ball in the back of the net is unusual for a team that finished third in the AACA last season and advanced to the PIAA District One tournament.
Despite having some trouble this year, confidence is definitely not lacking for this team.
“Finishing is something we have struggled with,’ said Manta. “However we will click. We have a young team that shows promise with girls who have stepped up.’
Sophomore Isabelle Coloiezzi added, “Our seniors have been great. Katie (Manta), Jenna (Brignola) and Jill (Hoban) have been so positive and we are lucky to have them. They do a great job at picking us up and they are a major reason we have a chance to go far.’