With deep senior class, Quaker Valley girls soccer in position for successful season

Sunday, August 14, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Maggie Behun and Rachel Loudermilk are soccer aficionados.

Both are back again as co-head coaches of the Quaker Valley girls soccer program this season. Behun is in her ninth year as field boss; Loudermilk joined her on the sideline five years ago.

The QV coaches are excited for their team’s chances in 2022 as they welcomed nine returning starters to preseason practice.

“Our goal this season is to win,” Behun said. “We would like to have another shot in the playoffs and progress further than we did last season. We hope to better showcase what this group of girls has to offer and leave it out there on the field.

“We have a larger senior class than we have had in the past. This particular class brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team. They are close-knit and have been patiently waiting for years to establish their role as leaders for this QV squad.”

The Quakers ended up 4-5-1 in Section 1-2A last season, good for fourth place behind North Catholic (9-1), Avonworth (8-1-1) and Beaver (6-4).

QV edged Elizabeth Forward, 2-1, in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs before losing a 1-0 decision to Shady Side Academy in the quarterfinal round.

Returning starters include senior goalkeeper Anjo Pagbeleguem, senior midfielders Nora Johns, Nikita Venkatasamy, Keira Currier and Tia Pethel, junior defenders Megan Campbell and Mia Strelec and sophomore center back Mia Modrovich.

“We are excited to have Keira Currier returning to the starting lineup.” Loudermilk said. “She experienced an injury toward the end of last season and was not able to be on the field for our playoff run. She brings a lot of energy, dedication and leadership.

“Anjo Pagbeleguem and Mia Modrovich are our two players who received all-section accolades, in addition to team MVPs. Anjo is a solid force in the back as our keeper and we look to her to set the tone for the team, while Mia has solidified herself as one of our top younger players. We are looking to Mia to continue to raise our level of play, helping us compete with the top teams in our section.”

Modrovich is hoping the Quakers storm through the regular season and playoffs and advance to the WPIAL championship round.

“My expectation as a team would be to advance to the WPIAL finals,” Modrovich said. “Last year, we were able to make it to the second round of playoffs, but this year I expect us to make it even further. I feel like our team strength is our chemistry on and off the field. We are very team oriented and play for one another and I think that was a key part in all of our success last season.

“I am very excited for the upcoming season, and I think all the work our team is putting in during the offseason is really going to pay off.”

Modrovich started playing soccer when she was 5 and joined her first cup team at age 7. She also used to compete in basketball and track but upon entering high school she decided to make soccer her main priority along with academics.

“A personal goal of mine is to make the All-WPIAL team,” Modrovich said, “as well as put a few in the back of the net. Last year as a freshman, I was rather quiet both on and off the field. But this year I’d like to challenge myself to be more of vocal leader.

“I started out playing center mid last season then about halfway into the season, I moved to center back where I finished out the year. This year, I expect to be playing center back, but I am comfortable and willing to play anywhere that’s beneficial for the team.”

Currier is a three-sport athlete at Quaker Valley. She competes in soccer, swimming and track and has earned seven varsity letters (three for soccer, two for swimming and track).

She believes the girls soccer team can make a strong playoff run this season.

“I have pretty high expectations,” Currier said. “We have a lot of talent coming up from younger classes as well as some more seasoned players with the opportunity to step into leadership positions. My class gets along really well, so I think we’ll be able to maintain a good atmosphere on the team.

“One of our biggest strengths has always been playing as a team. We play the best when we’re working together, and I think that as we get into the preseason, we’re going to see that build back up. We have a really great group with a lot of hard workers and I can’t wait to see how we grow as a team. Maggie and Rachel lead us super well and I’m looking forward to their ideas for the team this year.”

Currier, who has played soccer for 13 years, will be a center midfielder for the Quakers this season.

“My personal goal is to be a strong player in the center midfield,” she said. “Last year, I played outside mid for most of the season, and while I love that position, being in the center gives a lot more opportunity to be in control of the play. Of course, I’ll be happy to play wherever will best benefit the team.

“Another goal is to get some time on the field with my younger sister Emma, an upcoming freshman who plays outside midfield or outside back. We haven’t gotten to play on the same team virtually ever, so that’s pretty exciting.”

Currier’s cumulative GPA is 4.70 (weighted). She plans to major in biology on the premed track in college.

The QV girls have been working on the basics in preparation for the regular season and use the preseason as a tryout session for this year’s team.

“We wholeheartedly agree that the focus for preseason is team bonding, fitness and developing each player’s game,” Behun said. “Losing the seniors from the previous year and welcoming in the new freshman class is like having a new team each year. Everyone starts on an even playing field.

“We use preseason as a chance for returning players to prove themselves and incoming players to show us what they’ve got. It is a fun and intense time to see which players are going to emerge as our impact players. We’re always looking for girls to step up into the starting lineup. Nothing is ever set in stone. We’re anxious to see who worked in the offseason hard enough to earn a starting spot.”

The Quakers had the opportunity to participate in the South Fayette futsal tournament earlier this year.

“The girls played great,” Behun said. “We won games against bigger schools with lots of talent, which was exciting for us as coaches to see.

“Most recently, seventeen of our players attended Edinboro University’s soccer camp. The girls who went had a great time and said it was a great experience for bringing the team together. We hope we can carry their enthusiasm coming from the camp into the start of the season.”

Quaker Valley is a member of Section 2-2A along with Ambridge, Avonworth, Beaver, Central Valley, Hopewell and North Catholic.

There are 26 teams this year in the WPIAL Class 2A division.

“We are in one of the toughest sections in the state, having two teams, Avonworth and North Catholic, that both made a run for the state title in 2021,” Loudermilk said. “We added Central Valley to our section, which raises the level of competition and makes the playoff spots even more coveted.

“Every section game will be a fight for a playoff spot, but we like it that way. It makes the season that much more intense and meaningful when every game matters.”

Quaker Valley ended up 7-9-2 last season and outscored the opposition 23-16. Pagbeleguem was credited with eight shutouts and allowed just one goal in eight other games.

“We’re excited to see what this season brings and how the seniors drive their teammates to having a memorable season,” Behun said. “As always, ‘accountability, trust, respect and teamwork’ is our motto. We work hard and we play hard.”

QV soccer teams were absent from the WPIAL playoffs in 2020 because of coronavirus protocols. The QV girls had advanced to the postseason the previous four years.

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