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Mercury-Area Girls Soccer Preview: OJR, Spring-Ford primed for big seasons


Boyertown’s Lauren Haley (2) is congratulated by Kaleigh Gallagher (9) and other teammates after scoring her second goal  against Methacton. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Head coach: Bill Goddard, 18th season

Last year’s record: 6-3-1 PAC Liberty, 11-6-2 overall, District 1-4A second round

Players to watch: Seniors Shana Kabinoff, def.; Corinne Renninger, mid.; Hanah Mutter, mid.; Kaleigh Gallagher, fwd.; Adriana Sheridan, fwd.; Kylie Webb, mid.; Kylie Torrens, mid.

Outlook: The injury list ended up almost as long as the roster sheet for Boyertown a season ago in what was already a reloading season. Yet the Bears still managed an 11-6-2 season and a trip to the second round of districts. So while the Bears may not have the same preseason buzz as Spring-Ford or Owen J. Roberts, there’s reason to believe Boyertown can contend in the PAC. The spine has quality in All-Area second team midfielder Corinne Renninger, honorable mention defender Shana Kabinoff and the returning Kaleigh Gallagher at forward as part of a sizable senior class. If the injuries stay away this time, the Bears can have a say in the Pioneer Athletic title race and put together a quality postseason run.


Head coach: Tory Bilger, 2nd season

Last year’s record: 5-4-1 Berks I, 9-8-3 overall, District 3-3A first round

Players to watch: Seniors Cassidy Carroll, mid.; Hannah Starolis, fwd.; Madison Spitko, mid.; Julia Hansford, GK. Juniors Anna Lambert, mid.; Rachel Woomer, fwd./mid.

Outlook: Daniel Boone fields a deeper roster in 2017, which second-year coach Tory Bilger hopes translates to another winning season. “We are a young team this year,” Bilger said. “The upperclassmen will need to step-up with their maturity and lead the underclassmen through the season.” The Blazers’ goals aren’t automatic, but very attainable. “We have set two goals: A season goal is to have a winning season and make it as a team to counties,” Bilger said.


Head coach: Bret Smith, 15th season

Last year’s record: 2-8 PAC Liberty, 4-14-0 overall

Players to watch: Seniors Caitlyn McClure, mid.; Lexi Laconi, mid.; Lee Eubank, def.; Mariah Romano, def. Juniors Liz Greene, GK; Kendall Ozorowski, mid.; Lauren McNichol, mid.; Maggie Bordonaro, fwd. Sophomores Kate Evans, fwd.; Michaela Tommarello, fwd.; Juliana Keenan, def. Freshman Jess Lineen, def.

Outlook: Head coach Bret Smith is expecting a more stout defense from his Warriors this season as Methacton works to be closer to the .500 mark after a lean 2016. “We have a pretty good mix of experienced returning starters along with several players who will be making their debuts as full-time varsity players. If we can manage to play together as a single unit, we should be a much improved team this season,” Smith said. The Warriors will need to be as they try to navigate what should be a very strong PAC Liberty Division.


Phoenixville’s Sophia Kopko clears the ball from Owen J. Roberts’ Mahogany Willis. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Head coach: Joe Margusity, 22nd season

Last year’s record/accomplishments: 7-2-1 PAC Liberty, 12-8-1 overall, PAC runner-up, District 1-4A qualifier

Players to watch: Seniors Kylie Cahill, def.; Caroline Thompson, mid.; Mahogany Willis, fwd.; Julia Dalton, mid.; Kali Pupo, def. Juniors Kenzie Milne, def./mid.; Mia Baugartner, mid.; Kylee MacLeod, mid.

Outlook: Once a highly-touted freshman class, it’s the last hurrah for this year’s Owen J. Roberts senior class. This fall the expectation is to have plenty of hurrahs along the way. The Wildcats return their entire team from last year’s PAC runner-up, with PSCA All-State defender Kylie Cahill, three-time Mercury All-Area first team forward Mahogany Willis and midfielder Caroline Thompson leading the charge. OJR came up short to Spring-Ford in last year’s league final and lost in the first round of districts, a reality the squad is determined to rectify. “Optimism is running high,” said coach Joe Margusity. “The junior and senior classes now have experience at making deep runs in districts and underachieving in them as well. This will help the team and its approach to the playoffs including getting to and competing in the PAC final four.” The Wildcats have the talent to win the PAC championship and contend for the school’s first PIAA playoff berth since 2011 … provided the postseason problems are a thing of the past.


Head coach: Kim Paulus, 13th season

Last year’s record: 4-5-1 PAC Liberty, 9-8-1 overall

Players to watch: Seniors Leslie Adams, GK; Jocelyn Moore, def.; Kelsey Marino, fwd. Juniors Alison Devers, def.; Joanna Gorrell, def.; Sydney Marasco, mid.; Margaret Sell, mid.

Outlook: The defense-first approach of coach Kim Paulus was in good standing last season when the Vikings and All-Area first team goalkeeper Leslie Adams recorded 10 shutouts, overcoming an 0-5 start with a 9-3-1 finish. The same can be expected with the return of an experienced defense led Adams and center back Jocelyn Moore. Offensively, PV expects to be led by Kelsey Marino and Sydney Marasco. “We’re looking to build off of the past three seasons as they were largely rebuilding years. Last year’s group turned a corner, and we are expecting this group to keep PV in the discussion for potential league leaders,” coach Kim Paulus said. “As competitive athletes, we always hope to make playoffs. For us, this is never off the table, and of course we would like to earn a spot in district play.”


Phoenixville’s Gabriella Perrotto

Head coach: Tim Raub, 5th season

Last year’s record: 9-1 PAC Frontier, 14-6-1 overall, Frontier Division champions, District 1-3A quarterfinalists

Players to watch: Seniors Jesi Rossman, mid.; Kelli Olsson, def. Juniors Gabrielle Perrotto, fwd.; Leeza Galli, mid./fwd.; Hannah Sands, GK; Rosa Palazzolo, mid. Sophomores Maddie White, def.; Lily White, def.; Marlee Brown, def.; Mary Michaud, mid.

Outlook: Every team faces an unfailing question each season: where are the goals going to come from? The 2017 Phantoms are as well positioned as a team could hope. Gabrielle Perrotto, who scored more than 20 goals as a sophomore, returns to lead the line, joined by winger Leeza Galli and returning midfielder Jesi Rossman, who was not with the team in 2016. The scoring firepower will help offset a largely underclassmen defense. Phoenixville is far from senior-heavy – only Rossman and defender Kelli Olsson feature for the class – but it’s a team full of returning starters that claimed the PAC Frontier Division and won a game in districts. The Phantoms look primed to battle for the Frontier Division again with Pope John Paul II and should have an extended run in District 1-AAA,


Pope John Paul II’s Kayla Mesaros (21) pokes the ball past Sun Valley goalkeeper Amy Parker for her first goal during a District 1-AAA playoff game. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Head coach: Stewart Sherk, 4th season

Last year’s record/accomplishments: 8-2 PAC Frontier, 12-6 overall, PAC semifinalist, District 1-3A qualifier

Players to watch: Seniors Kayla Mesaros, fwd.; Julia Owens, def.; Colleen Morton, GK; Carson Tracy, fwd.; Elizabeth Kropp, fwd.; Casey Genovese, mid.

Outlook: The Golden Panthers are a known commodity entering the season and that’s a great thing for PJP. With many influential returning players, including PAC-leading goal scorer Kayla Mesaros (All-Area first team), goalkeeper Colleen Morton and defender Julia Owens, similar success is the expectation. The PJP senior class has ‘molded the program over the last three years,’ according to coach Stewart Sherk. “The girls are focused and understand we must be at our best at all times in the tough schedule that lays ahead. We must improve every time they step on the field, while playing relaxed and being detailed oriented,” Sherk said. PJP should be neck-and-neck with Phoenixville for first place in the Frontier with a return trip to the District 1-AAA playoffs likely.


Head coach: Steve Mellor, 7th season

Last year’s record: 5-5 PAC Frontier, 8-10 overall

Players to watch: Senior Alex Gnoza, def. Junior Sarah Rybacki, def. Sophomores Rebecca Delp, fwd.; Skylar Glass, mid.; Hannah Phillips, def.

Outlook: Despite the departure of talented midfield tandem Maddy Thierry and Dalia Abbas, coach Steve Mellor sees similar potential in sophomores Rebecca Delp and Skylar Glass. “We will be strong through the middle this year with Delp and Glass returning to spear our attack,” Mellor said. “We are a young team who needs to learn lessons early to be able to compete in a strong division.” The Falcons will face consistent challenges in a solid Frontier Division but have set a goal of qualifying for the District 1-AAA playoffs.


Head coach: Gary Mock, 9th season

Last year’s record: 0-10 PAC Frontier, 1-16-1 overall

Players to watch: Senior Ebony Reddick, mid. Sophomores Emme Wolfel, GK; Melissa Coleman, mid; Aniya Hoskins, fwd.

Outlook: Gary Mock has given stability to the Pottstown girls’ program in his nine seasons. He’s rewarded with a similar stability: Pottstown’s top two players, senior Ebony Reddick and sophomore goalkeeper Emme Wolfel, return this season. Wins are rarely easy to come by for the Trojans, a fact that will remain in 2017, but Mock has a knack for keeping things in perspective. “We have the same goals every year: improve every day and compete until the last whistle,” he said. “Win or lose we will learn something about ourselves.”


Spring-Ford’s Molly McHarg tries to make a turn as Owen J. Roberts’ Kali Pupo defends. (Austin Hertzog – The Mercury)

Head coach: Tim Leyland, 4th season

Last year’s record: 9-0-1 PAC Liberty, 21-2-1 overall, PAC champion, District 1-4A fifth-place game

Players to Watch: Seniors Allie Christman, mid.; Laura Fazzini, mid.; Kelly Franz, fwd.; Alayna Gairo, fwd.; Gabby Kane, mid.; Molly McHarg, def.; Mackenzie Mitchell, fwd.; KK O’Donnell, def. Junior Claire Sites, def. Sophomore Ella Curry, mid.

Outlook: Spring-Ford faced questions ahead of the 2016 season about how it could respond to losing its most accomplished class in school history. The Rams simply responded by opening the season on a 21-game unbeaten streak and winning the Pioneer Athletic Conference crown before having their postseason halted with a loss in the District 1-AAAA fifth-place game. Despite the losses of a couple key players in All-Area first team defenders Libby Andrews (Lehigh) and Missy Moore (Duquesne), the vast majority of the deep squad returns, namely All-Area Player of the Year, midfielder Gabby Kane, and first team defender Molly McHarg. The Rams will be as technically sound as ever and will have grown from last year’s late-season letdowns. The talent is there for a return to the top of the PAC and potentially the PIAA tournament.


Head coach: Mike Freed, 9th season (27th overall)

Last year’s record: 7-6 PAC, 8-9-2 overall, District 1-AAA qualifier

Players to watch: Seniors Taylor Kearney, mid.; Kayleigh Durning, mid.; Emma Long, def.; Casey Smoll, def.; Jess Schaut, mid.; Hannah Ang, fwd.; Hannah Leight, fwd.; Natasha Carpenter, mid. Junior Kaitlyn Mundy, mid. Sophomore Hannah Landis, GK.

Outlook: Upper Perk isn’t short on continuity with half its starters returning from last year’s district qualifier. To repeat the feat those players will need to shoulder more of the scoring load than in the past. “Graduates/departing players contributed 26 of the team’s 37 goals last year, so finding players to fill the roles of goal scorers will be key,” coach Mike Freed said. With Frontier contenders Phoenixville and PJP having scoring heft, the Tribe must take it up a notch with sights sets on a third-straight trip to the district playoffs. “The team’s success will depend on how quickly new players can acclimate to playing high school soccer,” Freed said. “Getting off to a good start is vital for the team to be successful. Goal scoring won’t be expected to come from one or two players – there will need to be multiple players stepping up to share the load.”

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