Balanced attack leading Norwin girls soccer
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | 3:54 PM
Norwin’s girls soccer team is hoping to rediscover its championship recipe this fall.
So far, the Knights believe they have the right ingredients. Balancing them has been the key for the Knights, who opened the year with six wins, including four in Section 3-AAAA. Norwin outscored its opponents, 27-1.
“For us, it doesn’t matter who scores. We want to win as a team. As long as we’re scoring, it’s great,” junior Lacey Bernick said. “We all work really well together. It’s honestly been a blast. We all get along so well. We hope to keep that going.”
Nine Knights scored through their first six matches. Katelyn Kauffman led the way with seven goals, and Paloma Swankler and Dani Iannuzzo had five apiece. Bernick was next with four, and Megan Dietz added two. Melaina Walker, Morgan Sigut, Emily Shaw and Madison Rose also foudn the back of the net.
“A lot of us have scored so far. No one is greedy. We’re willing to give up the ball and pass. It’s so nice having a team that’s not selfish,” Kauffman said.
“We used to focus on just one player. The coaches want us to be more diverse and focus on the whole offense and not just having one player score all the goals. We’ll be more dangerous with five or six girls with the same amount of goals, rather than just one with the most goals.
“We’re just working together as a team. We’ve been combining well. In practice, we’ve been working hard together and that’s been important.”
The team’s midfield has been on the attack too, as all four starters (Iannuzzo, Bernick, Dietz and Shaw) have at least one goal.
“This year, we’ve become more aggressive,” Kauffman said. “Along with our speed, I think that makes us even more dangerous.”
With five shutouts, Norwin’s defense has been tough to beat. Defenders Ava Frankovic, Mara Hudson, Anna Durmis, Kylie Arnold and Emma Rigone have helped goalkeeper Liz Waszkiewicz keep balls out of the net.
“We have a good starting back line and we have good defenders to keep the energy up,” Kauffman said. “Liz is phenomenal, too. She is so good. She knows exactly where to be.”
Bernick added, “Our defense has been doing great so far. Everyone is working well together. We have lots of speed up front, so I think that definitely helps our offense.
“We’ve definitely come a long way from the beginning of the season and the first two scrimmages we had. I know we all hope to improve a little bit each game. We just have some little things we want to continue to work on.”
The Knights want to refine their game in order to make a long postseason run. Their quest to defend their state championship ended abruptly last year with a 1-0 loss to Peters Township in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals. Norwin’s last WPIAL title came in 2016.
“We’ve all been working really hard at practice. Our main goal is to go farther than last year when we fell a little short,” Bernick said. “We want to get back to the WPIAL finals.”
“We’ve had a pretty good reputation the past few years,” Kauffman added. “We don’t want to let that up. We want to try to win.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.