Norwin girls soccer team wants to forge own identity

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Monday, August 26, 2019 | 4:58 PM


When its latest jaunt through the girls soccer postseason stalled earlier than usual last October, Norwin players and coaches knew the fuel for the following season would come easily.

Motivation was tailor-made after a 1-0 loss to Peters Township in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals that ended the Knights’ season.

“We wanted our younger girls to feel that loss,” rising senior defender Eva Frankovic said. “We don’t want to feel that again. No. Way.”

Norwin still believes it has plenty of talent to remain among the WPIAL’s elite.

Two years removed from a PIAA championship and a No. 1 ranking in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer, the Knights return a number of key players — fast, technically sound players who could present matchup issues for opponents.

“These girls feel like they have more to prove,” coach Lauren Karcher said. “Hopefully, they can shock some people.”

The Knights have two WPIAL titles and a runner-up in the last four seasons. But this team, like the last one, wants its own identity, separate from the all-everything seniors of two years ago.

“Things are different, and there is a different feel to this team but there is a lot of optimism,” Karcher said. “Those expectations were created by our girls during camp.”

Karcher is expecting her first child around Sept. 9. When she takes maternity leave from the team, assistant Samantha Fairbanks will fill in as interim coach.

“I’ll still be around,” Karcher said. “Maybe I’ll be up in the press box with the baby.”

Karcher doesn’t want to miss too much of this group’s maturation process.

“We’re not going to rely on one or two girls, go-to people like we have in the past,” Karcher said. “We have a lot of depth. We don’t have a huge roster like we have in past years, but we may end up subbing a lot more.”

Frankovic, junior forward Katelyn Kauffman and junior midfielder Lacey Bernick are Pitt commits and will play key roles for the Knights, who finished 15-3 and won the Section 4 title last year with a 12-0 mark.

Bernick and Frankovic are third-year starters. Frankovic was an All-WPIAL player last season.

“We’ll be more possession and speed,” Frankovic said. “We’ll be able to move the ball through the back and get wide.”

Additional college commits are junior midfielder Anna Durmis (William & Mary), junior defender Madison Rose (Duquesne), senior midfielder Emily Shaw (Lock Haven), and senior midfielder Megan Dietz (Pitt-Johnstown).

Other key returnees are junior Morgan Sigut, senior defender Kylie Arnold, and senior midfielders Danni Iannuzzo and Emily Shaw. And don’t forget about junior goalkeeper Liz Waszkiewicz.

“We don’t have a lot of size, but we make up for it with our speed,” Karcher said. “I really like our skill level across the board.”

Arnold said the success of the Knights ultimately could hinge on relaying information.

“One of our big goals is team cohesion,” Arnold said. “We want to work on communication and getting everyone working together.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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