Donnelly, potent scoring attack poised to lead Pine-Richland girls soccer

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Friday, August 23, 2019 | 8:28 PM


In each of the last nine seasons, the Pine-Richland girls soccer team has totaled double-digit wins.

While the team graduated three all-section players, the tradition of success in the program that has accompanied coach Jodi Chmielewski’s tenure gives plenty of reason to believe the Rams won’t skip a beat in contending for the Section 1-AAAA crown again.

Another reason for expectations to remain high is the Rams offense. The group could have a prolific season behind Megan Donnelly. The junior racked up 31 goals last season, and has totaled 54 in her two seasons at the varsity level. Last season, Donnelly was named to the all-state team and also received All-American honors from the United Soccer Coaches.

“We feel like it’s always a team effort every time you win a game, but it’s nice to have that X-factor,” Chmielewski. “Your best teams always have a kid that can turn a game on a dime and can do things that other players can’t.

“We’re fortunate to have her around for another two years, but we also have other players around her. Our attack is so dangerous that you can’t mark Megan out of a game because we have other players that can step up, too.”

One of last season’s key attacking players, Allie Malobicky, is still working her way back from injury but, in her stead, freshman Ava Boyd is geared up to provide a 1-2 scoring punch alongside Donnelly.

Meanwhile, Boyd’s older sister, senior Izzi, will lead the midfielders with junior Katie Rishel. After receiving all-section honorable mention as a defender last year, Rishel likely will play in the midfield to help replace Alaina Kalin and Caroline Swan, two longtime midfielders who graduated.

“Center-mid is such an important position that you really need some experience there,” Chmielewski said. “You really need to anchor it down to be successful.

“We think Rishel could really end up being a great complement to Boyd in the middle. Katie is a little more defensively focused, but she’s versatile and she’s really smart player. Swan and Kalin really helped control the game for us, so we want to have Rishel and Boyd pick that up this year.”

Ella Karmanos and Rachel Bashe will spearhead the Rams defense. Behind them, second-team all-section keeper Katherine Kelly, a junior, returns.

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