LEONARD WILL LEAD PANTHERS
The Perryville girls soccer team appears poised for another successful season.
Dynamic midfielder Sam Leonard will once again be the catalyst for the Panthers. Midfielder Julia Trainor is a strong defender and Alex McCann and Emily Toland will both contribute.
Courtney Comer will start in goal.
Sweeper Natalie Gay and stopper Danielle Drennan will anchor the defense. Maddie Litwin, Emily Baker, and Mariah Fields are also slated to have important roles.
Tori Antoshak, who works very well with Leonard, returns at striker. Freshman Sam Koons played in a summer league with Leonard and is a hard worker and excellent communicator.
Freshman Lauren Carducci will also contribute.
The Panthers have depth with Becca Mason, Morgan Hazel, Amanda Rehbein, and Alexis Germeroth.
"We have shown a lot of potential with our communication and ball skills," said coach Kristy O'Hara, who took over during last season and guided the Panthers to the region title game. "We're in the fine-tuning stages."
Perryville is aiming for excellence on the field and in the classroom with a motto of "States and A’s".
TIGERS HAVE BRIGHT FUTURE
The future looks bright for the Rising Sun girls soccer team.
The present appears to be in good hands as well. Or, more accurately, in good feet.
The Tigers lost several key components from last year's outstanding squad which lost 1-0 to Fallston in the region semifinals.
And while a large portion of the Tigers' roster lacks varsity experience, coach Dylan Aiman sees a tremendous amount of potential.
"We're young and small but I think we're fairly talented," Aiman said. "They just have to learn that high school soccer is different than club ball and they are not used to the fact it will be rougher and faster. The kids they are playing against will be stronger."
Rising Sun has two seniors, two juniors, four sophomores, and nine freshmen on the varsity roster. The Tigers will also face a challenging schedule which includes Harford County programs that are fixtures in the state tournament.
"We're in the upper division which is very strong and I don't know how we're going to replace (star midfielder) Halley (Wisner), Brooke (Thompson), and (goalie) Madison Smith," Aiman said.
Aiman says the Tigers won't turn to one particular player to fill the voids, but rather rely on the team's depth.
"This year we actually have a strong bench," he said. "We're inexperienced but the skills are stronger."
Freshman Ciara Bartz will take over in goal. "I'm very confident in her ability," Aiman said. "She just needs varsity experience. She's fundamentally-sound and pretty solid."
Rugged senior Taylor Allen will anchor the defense. Aiman says sophomore back Jackie Barbon is one of the team's most skilled players.
A pair of freshmen will make an immediate impact in the midfield. Aiman says Alanah Bell is "very fit and very skilled".
Classmate Teresa Reid adds scoring punch.
"We're counting on her to score a lot of goals," Aiman said. "She's very skilled and has a nose for the goal."
Freshman forward Jillian Seay has a nose for the net and is expected to make a big contribution.
Aiman is fortunate to have versatile players Valerie Bragg and Taylor Mocknis. The coach is confident the talented duo is capable of excelling at whatever position they play. "We have high hopes and high expectations," the coach said. "We're going to surprise some people. The most important thing is to stay in the upper division. There's no doubt that in a year or two we're going to be a serious powerhouse."