Balanced attack leading Norwin girls soccer

Friday, September 13, 2019 | 6:52 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 four wins, including three in Section 3-4A play. Norwin outscored its opponents, 18-1.

“For us, it doesn’t matter who scores. We want to win as a team. As long as we’re scoring, it’s great,” Norwin 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.”

Eight Knights scored through their first four matches. Katelyn Kauffman led the way with five goals, while Paloma Swankler had four. Bernick was next with three and Dani Iannuzzo had two. Megan Dietz, Melaina Walker, Morgan Sigut and Emily Shaw also scored.

“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 squad’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 three 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.”

“Our defense has been doing great so far,” Bernick added. “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 4A 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.


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