Rugged schedule sharpens Fox Chapel girls soccer for WPIAL playoffs

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Thursday, October 17, 2019 | 9:11 PM


After a tough schedule that saw his team finish with a 6-6 section record, Fox Chapel High School girls soccer coach Peter Torres believes his squad is ready for the WPIAL playoffs.

“For us to succeed in the playoffs, we need to continue to improve our in-game communication and finish our opportunities,” he said. “We have been successful building an attack during games, but our shots have either been off target or straight at the goalkeeper.”

Torres said the Foxes need supporting players such as juniors Lauren Marotte, Lizzy McKee and Sophia Oehrle, sophomores Addie Piper and Hope Mathis and freshman LG Goodworth to contribute significantly when given the opportunity.

Offensively, the Foxes have been led by junior Lucy Ream (10 goals), senior Blair Echnat (seven goals) and junior Emma Wecht (four goals). Senior Claudia DeMartino leads in assist with four followed by senior Sam Dockey and Ream with three each.

The FC defense has been led by senior Sophie Williams, sophomore Carlie Barnett, junior Britta Lagerquist and Dockey.

“These four have grown into their positions and have continued to grow as the season has progressed,” Torres said. “Sam and Carlie have led the group and provided a stabilizing back line.”

Torres said Ream has attracted the most attention from opposing defenses after starting off the season with hat tricks against Penn-Trafford and Butler. Kaylee Uribe has also been a key contributor in the middle of the field, he said.

Torres said Wecht, Echnat and sophomore Lauren Rabbit have also provided some sparks on offense. Rabbit scored the lone goal against North Allegheny, her first varsity goal.

Junior Sammi Dunlap and freshman Molly McNaughton have been getting valuable time in the net in preparation for the playoffs.

Torres has also received a pleasant surprise with the play of freshman midfielder Makayla Mulholland.

“She has played the most minutes of anyone on the team and has been a stabilizing force in the middle of the field,” he said. “She plays with confidence and poise. Another positive development was seeing Williams and Lagerquist move into new positions and playing excellent soccer.”

The team’s health was a concern for Torres during the season.

“Injuries have impacted the team during the middle of the season as we have had our fair share of girls in boots,” he said. “We have lost two players to season-ending injuries. However, as the season has progressed, we are getting healthy and game fit for the playoffs.”

Torres said he hopes that the team continues to do what’s needed to win in the playoffs.

“The keys to our success have been our ability to play a possession style of game and not turning over the ball,” Torres said. “We have had success against teams by connecting passes and spreading the field. Depending on the game, we have adjusted our tactics to offset the opponent’s strengths. The girls have adjusted for the most part.”

He also said he feels that the strong senior leadership provided by DeMartino, Dockey, Echnat, Claire Fenton, Paige Asbury, Sophie Williams, Lizzy Giuffre and Keara Yasko will benefit the Foxes.

“I believe that every team we could face will be a tough challenge,” Torres said. “Our section has prepared us for the playoffs, but we respect the opponent and know that the playoffs are a completely different level. We anticipate that we will be playing a highly seeded team that will be at their best for the playoffs. It is never an easy path, and that is especially true this year.”

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