Bishop Canevin, Carlynton, Chartiers Valley girls soccer team all chasing playoff success
By: Charles Curti
Thursday, August 9, 2018 | 10:27 PM
As girls soccer season opens, Bishop Canevin and Chartiers Valley will be looking to get back to the WPIAL playoffs – and stay longer. Carlynton, meanwhile, will try to claw its way into playoff contention after winning only three matches last season.
A look at each of the teams:
Coach Pat Egan’s main focus last season was defense. In 2016, the Crusaders yielded 75 goals but sliced that figure to 17 last season.
The theme for 2018 will be balance on offense and looking for a complement to senior captain Caroline Colantonio. Colantonio far and away was BC’s leading goal scorer with 21.
Freshman Ainsley Smith could make an impact in that area right away, but she will be one of the few newcomers to the Crusaders lineup. Egan returns 12 letterwinners and all but two starters from a team that went 9-5-1 (8-3-1 in Section 2A).
Junior Jennifer Burton anchors the defense from the sweeper spot and also is a captain. She and Colantonio were all-section performers.
Sophomore fullbacks Erin Egan and Tori Legleitner are expected to make bigger contributions, especially on the attack.
The Crusaders will be looking to go deeper in the postseason after losing to Vincentian in the first round last season.
“We’re a small school, so injuries and endurance will be the keys,” Pat Egan said. “We have all the skill in the world to be competitive, but in Class A, depth doesn’t run as deep.”
Though the Cougars had their share of struggles last season, coach Andy Bogats is expecting much different results. Carlynton’s primary asset: experience.
The team returns four fourth-year starters – keeper Morgan Harding, forward Lacey Rybacki, defender Bryce Bogats and midfielder Madison Samangy – and three third-year starters – Anya Carrasco, Olivia Robb and Savannah Sevacko. Sophomore Sara MacMurdo started as a freshman in 2017.
Rybacki finished second on the team in goals last season despite missing much of September with an injury. Bogats is expecting her and Sevacko to pressure opposing defenses.
“(Savannah) has come into camp the fittest I’ve ever seen anyone come into camp,” Andy Bogats said. “This junior year could be her breakout year. Those two together are going to be a dynamic duo.”
Senior Erica McGuire provides depth and another veteran presence for the Cougars.
The biggest area of concern is in the midfield, where graduation sapped the team’s experience. If some younger players can step in and perform right away, Bogats is confident of a major leap.
“I am expecting – all of us are expecting – big things,” he said. “We expect to compete for a section title.”
Coach Ron Moreschi led a veteran Colts team to a 12-5-1 mark and the Class 3A playoffs, but CV was defeated by archrival South Fayette in the first round.
A mostly new squad will try to make amends for that quick exit. Char Valley returns only four starters and graduated 14 seniors, several of whom were regular starters.
“We lost most of our back line and our top two goalies,” Moreschi said. “We have a lot more experience (up front). We have to build up our defense a little bit.”
The four returning starters are senior captains Olivia Mandus, Alexandra Ferrella and Emily Isaac and junior Coletta Ozbey. A handful of other returning players were part-time starters last season: Aviana Gutierrez, Morgan Montani and Brook Kelly. Gutierrez was an all-section selection despite playing primarily a reserve role.
Helene Cowan appears to be the frontrunner for the goalie spot. Cowan is a freshman and a basketball player, and Moreschi said he likes her height and athleticism.
The veterans are solid, but the younger players will have to mature quickly for the Colts to get back to the playoffs.
“We have more questions than answers, that’s for sure,” Moreschi said. “We’re not rebuilding, but we’re young.”
Charles Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CCurti_Trib.