With defense leading way, Franklin Regional girls soccer expects strong season

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Saturday, September 3, 2022 | 11:01 AM


After a 14-win season and a run to the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals, the Franklin Regional girls soccer team is primed to go farther.

The Panthers return seven starters, including junior goalkeeper Aris Lamanna, an All-WPIAL selection last season.

The others back are sophomore midfielder Abby Paterline, senior forward Sierra Todero, senior fullback Mauriana Dorsch, senior center back Riley Phillips, junior midfielder Lily Funari and sophomore fullback Eden Williams.

“With Aris and most of our starting backs returning, we should be very strong defensively,” Panthers coach Scott Arnold said.

Franklin Regional had eight shutouts last year and allowed just 16 goals in 19 games.

The question is, where will the offense come from with the top two goal scorers lost to graduation in Tribune-Review Westmoreland Player of the Year Sydney Lindeman and Morgan Walters.

“I expect the goals will be more spread out among a variety of players,” Arnold said. “We have players who can shoot well. It will be important to create good shooting opportunities. There are quite a few players competing for playing time as forwards, so we will see which players are most effective against actual opponents in our scrimmages and in the first few real games.”

The Panthers lost (2-1) on penalty kicks (5-4) to South Fayette in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Arnold still laments the game never should have reached a shootout.

“We are trying to be very detail-oriented this year. We have been working hard to understand how we want to play as a team in as many situations as possible,” he said. “If everyone is alert and on the same page, we can anticipate what is likely to happen next, which should give us an advantage versus most opponents.”

Arnold sees potential in some newcomers, including sophomore midfielder Natalie Keough, and senior fullback Ryleigh Jack, along with senior Natalie Ribar, and juniors Addy Lacey, Shaeley Reichbaum, Alana Otley and Leah Brockett and sophomore Reese Phillips.

Class 3A will be a challenge for any suitor, new or old. Class 4A champion Moon drops down a class along with Latrobe and Penn-Trafford.

Three-time defending champion Mars remains a strong contender.

“Our new section has three 2021 section champions (Plum, Latrobe, Franklin Regional), plus another former 4A team and perennial powerhouse (Penn-Trafford),” Arnold said. “Gateway is the only other team from our former section. They are going to be strong, too. Every game between Gateway and Franklin Regional has been really competitive and entertaining.

“It will be an extremely difficult section, full of talented players. We will be facing a lot of players who are committed to excellent college programs, so it will be incredibly challenging. We are expecting a lot of low-scoring, competitive, nail-biting section matches.”

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

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