Southmoreland girls soccer hoping to end playoff drought

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019 | 5:35 PM


Southmoreland has not qualified for the WPIAL postseason in girls soccer since a five-year playoff run from 2008-12.

After finishing 2-14 last year, the Scotties go into the 2019 season hoping to end that drought. Their early-season goals are more straightforward.

“My expectations are to roster a disciplined, fit, organized and possession-focused squad,” said third-year coach Aryn Askin. “The team showed up with an extremely focused and disciplined attitude and set realistic, measurable, achievable goals.”

Askin has been working with a small group of returning letterwinners consisting of junior forwards Ashleigh Barnhart, Taylor Klingensmith, Kayli Redmond, Hannah Schaeffer, Makayla Slack and junior defender Bailey Steban.

Slack transferred to Southmoreland last year after attending Rockwood Area as a freshman. She earned letters in soccer both years.

“I think our season is going to better than the (2018) season,” Slack said. “We had a lot of players last year, but our season was not so great. This year, we had a lot of good committed freshman come up who are putting in the work. And I think everyone has stepped up and has been putting in more effort.

“I believe all the hard work everyone did during preseason will show this season. We have a new setup for positions, and it works a lot better for the group of girls we have this year. We as a team will continue to improve. I think we can definitely make the playoffs.”

Slack, who played defense last season but also can play forward and midfield, discussed some of the Scotties’ team goals.

“One is to prove we deserve to play on the (same) field (as their opponent),” she said. “Another goal we discussed is we want to stay focused in the games and don’t let our head downs when we make mistakes or a goal gets scored on us.

“We also want to be confident. Last year, our confidence wasn’t so great, and it really affected all of us.”

Other players expected to have an impact for the Scotties include senior goalkeeper Marti Burke, freshmen midfielders Olivia Cernuto and Kendall Fabery; plus, defensively, sophomore Lanie Kerber and freshmen Skylar Koshar and McKenzie Hinkle.

Askin is a former soccer player at Southmoreland and St. Francis (Pa.).

She was an All-WPIAL selection in 2008 and ‘09 and led the Scotties to their first section championship, playoff win and PIAA tournament appearance in ‘09.

She started her high school career at Geibel, in 2006 with the boys team, and transferred from Geibel as the all-time leading scorer in girls soccer.

She also competed for the International Football Club, Century, PA West ODP and Region I soccer programs.

Askin, currently working as a manufacturer’s representative in the oil and gas industry, spent a year (2016) as the girls assistant coach at Southmoreland and a year (‘15) as coach of the girls middle school program.

“My primary coaching philosophies revolve around building hard-working, disciplined, resilient athletes that have a strong belief in themselves on and off the field,” she said.

Southmoreland will face the same section opponents as last year: Brownsville, Derry Area, Mount Pleasant, South Allegheny, South Park, Waynesburg and Yough.

The Scotties open their section and home schedule Sept. 4 against crosstown rival Mt. Pleasant.

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