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Area girls soccer teams aim to be state contenders

By Bryan Davis
bdavis@medianewsgroup.com
@btdavis25 on Twitter

The girls soccer talent in Chester County runs deep and plentiful. Area teams have routinely been in the mix for district and state titles. This year should be no exception as a number of teams have made strong starts to the season.
Downingtown East went through the Ches-Mont League unblemished through 2020’s truncated season and is on a mission to defend its title. The Cougars made it to the District 1 4A semifinals before being beaten by Spring-Ford. East is led offensively by forwards Madison Shumate and Caroline McDonald.
Midfielder Lauren Reimold. who was a first-team Daily Local News All-Area member last season, returns to help patrol the middle of the park.
“Lauren is physically tough and tactically astute,” said coach Jason Luzak. “She is capable of quality first touches and making good decisions on the ball.”
West Chester Henderson looms as their main rival in the National. The Warriors, ranked in the top 10 in the district in the early going, are unbeaten and are proving to be the main player in the league. Henderson is strong defensively and opportunistic on the offensive end. Olivia Bradley is among the offensive for the Warriors.
Kennedy Stark headlines a strong goalie tandem that has helped keep teams at bay during the early part of the season.
Downingtown West has a first-year coach in Megan Brogan and will rely on senior experience to keep them in the thick of the Ches-Mont National race and a spot in the District 1 playoffs.
“This year, we are a combination of both youth and experience,” said Brogan. “We will look to our seniors to build continuity and a strong work ethic so that we have the opportunity to be competitive in every game and to improve from game to game.”
Those seniors are goalkeeper Chole Epps, midfielders Maddie Greco and Ava Minnier, defender Calista Jarman and forward Morgan Jones. Minnier is a creative midfielder who was on the first-team All-Area squad last season.
Bishop Shanahan had a disappointing, Covid-shortened season, but a strong season class is propelling a turnaround. Mariela Ramos and Maddie Blair in the midfield provides offensive prowess and a strong work rate. Senior Ellie Udo anchors the defense. Sophomore striker Madelyne Grigalonis is proving to be one of the better offensive talents in the area.
West Chester East is a young team gaining valuable experience. With a roster that features only four seniors, the Vikings have been strong defensively, but is trying to find goals.
Avon Grove made the District 1 playoffs last year and hopes to keep the momentum going by leaning on senior defender Maddie MacDonald.
“She was often tasked with defending the opposing team’s top playmaker and then starting the attack once we won the ball,” said Red Devils coach Joe Herman. “She also added a goal and an assist. They don’t make them any tougher than Maddie Mac.”
Coatesville continues to progress under coach Patrick Kinzeler. Scoring punch comes from Emma Bennett and senior Anna Kinzeler.
It may be a different year, but the story is the same in the American Division, can anybody bust up the Unionville, West Chester Rustin duo?
Unionville returns seven seniors led by captains Makenzie Malloy, Jules Muntz and Hope Politi. Those three will lead the attack with seniors Karine Jaenisch and Kya Brown holding down the defense. Mia Beaudet has provided steady goalkeeping.
For the Golden Knights, senior Lindsay Krafchick is the engine in the midfield. The senior leads a group that is technically strong and fast.
Senior Brienna Spano and junior Ellie Keefer provides options in midfield.
Defensively, the Knights are a strong mixture of youth and experience. Hope Donnelly and Meghan Quinn are a highly efficient center back tandem. “My season expectations are to keep the intensity high, chemistry strong, and have fun,” said coach Ashley Ainsworth. “I love working with all of the players as they are fun, great players, and great kids.”
Great Valley has one of top scorers in the league returning in senior Maggie Peterson. She was on the All-Areat first team last season.
“Maggie is very fast and skilled with the ball at her feet,” said Great Valley head coach Jennifer Michewicz
Kennett is proving to be a pain to be play, despite not having a deep bench. They are hard to break down defensively, thanks to the contributions of sophomore Molly Sallurday, senior Mary Harper, junior Monse Flores and freshman Charlotte Davies.
In the Central League, Conestoga will once again be one of the favorites. They have 16 seniors returning, headed by striker Abby Klebe, who scored 12 goals last year and was a first team All Main Line and All-Central pick last fall, Center back Haleigh Wintersteen was a second team All-Main Line and All-Central selection. The Pioneers should be a factor in the District 1 postseason, and the PIAA playoffs.
Villa Maria is seeking to be a force in the AACA, in part, due to the scoring of Kaelyn Wolfe, who broke out last year as sophomore, collecting 11 goals in just 10 games.
“Kaelyn is the complete package,” said Hurricanes coach Gary Christopher. “Her pace with and without the ball is already elite. She is as technical of a player as any player in our area.”

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