The departure of Hollidaysburg Area High School girls soccer coach Jim Watt left open one of the most sought-after coaching positions in the area.
The Lady Tigers started at least five freshmen in the field in every game as they tore through the District 6 Class AAA competition en route to the championship last season and then had a strong run in the state playoffs. They have matured in the offseason and truly will come back with the realistic potential to capture the state championship.
The Hollidaysburg Area School District voted in its June board meeting to name former junior high school soccer coach Dave Soellner as head coach of the Lady Tigers. Soellner has limited experience as a scholastic coach but has been coaching at the travel team level for a number of years and should bring strong discipline to the team.
His daughter, Ashlynn, has been a scoring machine for the squad for the past three years and should be again as a senior.
There were, however, a couple of intriguing questions about other potential candidates for the position. For instance, Altoona boys coach Dave Alexander works with a number of the Hollidaysburg girls starters nearly nine months per year in classic play, indoor play and tournaments. Also, Hollidaysburg now has a gap that may be difficult to fill, the junior high coaching slot.
The high school team will be led on offense by the likes of Ashlynn Soellner, Taylor Vladic and Mackenzie Walter, along with the the thunder foot of Jamie McConnell, who is a threat from even 30 yards out. They will be a rugged task for any District 6 opponent to deal with, and the defense, led by the likes of Sara Cobbler and Taylor Wolf, should be solid.
It should be noted that these girls have been groomed for years by the likes of Soellner, Mike Vladic and Alexander.
The PA West State Cup Championships were a little disappointing for teams in our area as none managed to make the finals in any age bracket.
The traditional state powerhouses won most of the boys and girls age brackets from u-12 to u-19.