Signal Item girls soccer preview: Chartiers Valley chasing playoff berth in competitive section

Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 10:16 PM

Girls high school soccer teams that succeeded last fall begin this season trying to build on that momentum while those who stumbled look to a new year as a building block.

Such it is for the Chartiers Valley girls soccer team. Last season, the Colts missed the playoff for a second straight year and finished 6-8-2 overall.

“My early take on this year’s Colts team is that they’re an experienced group, with plenty of talent from top to bottom,” Chartiers Valley coach Zach Hamilton said. “With last season being the first year under my coaching staff, they handled the change well and grew throughout the season. Now in Year 2 with us, we’re looking to take some major steps forward and turn some heads in our section and beyond.”

Chartiers Valley will lean on players such as senior centerbacks Morgan Montani and Brooke Kelly, senior midfielder Honora Armfield and junior midfielder Mackenzie Minney.

Last year, the Colts finished sixth in the seven-team Section 4-AAA, but only a game and a half separated CV from third place.

“I expect more of the same, if not more,” Hamilton said. “We arguably have the toughest section outside of the Peters, (Upper) St. Clair, Canon-Mac section in the entire WPIAL.”

South Fayette also is part of Section 4-AAA.

The Lions finished fourth a year ago to qualify for the playoffs, however they were blanked in the first round by Oakland Catholic, 3-0.

South Fayette will be in the running again this season with the return of two all-section performers — senior Sophia DiMartini and sophomore Rachel Black.

Bishop Canevin is coming off a good season when the Crusaders finished 12-2-1 and beat McGuffey, 2-1, in overtime in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs before being eliminated by Freedom, 6-0, in the quarterfinals.

“I think we are well positioned for the 2020 season based on having an experienced core of players returning from last season and a talented group of returning non-starters and freshmen who are competing for the open positions vacated by our departed seniors,” Bishop Canevin coach Pat Egan said.

Among the players to watch are senior goalie Tori Legleitner, who had eight shutouts a year ago, plus seniors Erin Egan, Abby Sysak, Sarah Barron and Lizzy Volz; and juniors Ainsley Smith — who led the Crusaders in scoring — and Lauren Kirsch, who was second on the team in scoring in 2019.

The Crusaders finished second in Section 4-A last year behind Seton LaSalle. The Rebels have moved to Section 2 while Sewickley Academy takes their place.

“I do expect a very competitive season as many of the teams in our section had a lot of young talented players last season,” Egan said. “Also, the coaches do a great job in preparing their teams to compete hard in each and every game.”

One of those other teams is Carlynton.

The Cougars have reached the WPIAL playoffs in two of the past four seasons, including last year when Carlynton finished 8-5-2. The team lost to eventual Class A runner-up Greensburg Central Catholic in the opening round of the district playoffs.

Senior keeper Sara MacMurdo is back, along with a pair of players who enjoyed success as freshmen last season in Mikayla Walker and Garin O’Leary.

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