Canevin, Chartiers Valley, Carlynton girls soccer teams look to stay on track for playoffs
Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 9:00 PM
The 2018 season brought mixed results for the three area girls soccer teams. Only one, Bishop Canevin, qualified for the playoffs. Carlynton narrowly missed, and Chartiers Valley struggled in a tough section.
Each enters this season with playoff aspirations. A brief look at the three teams:
After losing in overtime to eventual finalist Bentworth in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals, the Crusaders were left with a sense of what might have been. Coach Pat Egan said the returning players are using that as fuel.
“They thought they should have won the game,” said Egan, who guided the team to a 10-3-1 record last season. “They feel like they have unfinished work. They aren’t mad about it, but more like a determination.”
The Crusaders will be led by a defense that includes all-section sweeper Jennifer Burton. She will serve as a captain along with midfielder Rosa Dugan. Also returning are stopper Erin Egan and midfielders Sienna Smith and Linda Ashby.
Smith is coming off an ACL injury.
A pair of sophomores who were the team’s Nos. 2 and 3 scorers last season spearhead the offense: Ainsley Smith and Lauren Kirsch.
But the coach acknowledged the offense will need to get contributions from more players, so defense will be the team’s calling card, particularly early until the offense catches up.
Though the Cougars (8-8, 5-7) finished tied for fourth in Section 4-A, they lost out to Eden Christian on tiebreakers and sat at home for the playoffs. Coach Andy Bogats believes his team can contend this season, but staying healthy will be key as there are only 13 players on the roster.
“We don’t have a lot of depth, but I have a full squad of girls who know how to play soccer,” he said.
A quartet of seniors leads the way for the Cougars: Defenders Anya Carassco and Olivia Robb are three-year letterwinners, as is forward Savannah Sevacko. And Haley Williams, who returned to soccer last season, helps to anchor the defense.
Bogats also will rely heavily on his freshmen: midfielders Garin O’Leary and Mikayla Walker and defender Jaidalyne Smith.
“One hundred percent I believe we can and will challenge for the section title,” Bogats said. “I know we lost some key girls, and we lost some offense. But we also know what we have coming back.”
The Colts, coming off a 3-8-1 season in Section 4-AAA, are under new coach Zach Hamilton, a Chartiers-Houston grad who played collegiately at Washington & Jefferson. Despite what Char Valley’s 2018 record shows, Hamilton believes he has the pieces to contend in the section.
“The girls can play … as long as we prepare them the right way,” Hamilton said. “As long as we don’t get in our own way, the girls will be perfectly fine.”
A pair of Division I recruits leads the way: junior Cleveland State commit Brooke Kelly and senior St. Francis (Pa.) commit Colletta Ozbey. Senior Aviana Gutierrez is expected to be among the leading goal scorers.
Juniors Morgan Montani and Honora Armfield help to anchor the defense, and sophomores Mackenzie Minney and Mackenzie Day are expected to play significant roles.
The Colts play in what Hamilton considers the toughest section in Class AAA, with Ambridge, Montour, West Allegheny and South Fayette. That doesn’t mean he is lowering expectations.
“I see a lot of promise,” Hamilton said. “There’s depth. There’s plenty of talent. Their work ethic is great. Their soccer IQ is there. They don’t lack confidence and know how good they are.”