For the Mirror
CRESSON?- The Mount Aloysius women's soccer team will look to a mix of experienced returners and talented newcomers in their quest for a spot in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conferenceplayoffs for the first time in program history this fall.
The 2013 Mounties fell four points shy of a playoff berth and stayed in the race until the final weekend of the season. Returning to lead the Mountie backline will be senior captain Elizabeth Josephson and junior captain Mackenzie Horne. Josephson, who has started all 50 games and scored 13 goals since her freshman season, brings speed and coverage to defense. Horne is a tough, physical central back.
In the attack, Olivia Woodley will look to build off of a freshman season in which she earned second-team all-conference honors at the forward position. Woodley was second in the AMCC with 14 goals a year ago, and she also added seven assists in her rookie campaign. Woodley will be aided by the arrival of freshmen Mary Durle.
The midfield will be led by the nucleus of sophomore twins Kady and Kiera Bills, who both started all 17 games for Mount Aloysius in 2013. Freshman Olivia Hannan, who notched nine goals in 23 league games in her most recent season with Club de Soccer Mont-Royal Outremont, will provide another strong threat going forward.
At the goalkeeper position, sophomore Zara Apakoh will be called upon after starting 11 contests a season ago. Apakoh registered 61 saves and two shutouts as a freshman.
The Mounties are coached by Matt Davis, previously an assistant coach for the last two seasons with the program. He will be assisted by Rose Lucidi and goalkeeper coach Jamie Greenwood.
Mount Aloysius opens its season at home this Friday against Lancaster Bible College and on Saturday against Bethany College.
The 2013 Mount Aloysius men's soccer team won a record 10 games and reached the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoffs for the first time in school history, where they defeated Penn State Altoona before falling in the semifinals to top-seeded Medaille College.
This year, the Mounties will look to build on that success with a deep roster of versatile players who are hungry to return to postseason play. Leading the Mounties on the pitch this year will be a trio of senior captains, two-time All-Conference selection Xavier Cardona, senior defender Zach Whittington and central midfielder Austin "Ozzy" Old.
On the backline, Cardona and Whittington will be joined by returning All-Conference defender Winston Crozier, a player dangerous on set pieces who notched two goals and three assists as a freshman. Todd Azeles returns after a strong freshman season at the outside back position, while sophomore Michael Clendenin is back on the field after missing all but one game last season due to injury.
In the midfield, Old is surrounded by a strong sophomore class that includes John Ouellette, Aubrey Brown and Jim Smith. Ouellette started 21 games a season ago on defense and in the midfield, and Brown was the only Mountie to start all 22 contests in 2013. Smith contributed nine goals and three assists in his rookie season.
In the attacking third, junior Patrick Chea will look to build off of a sophomore season which concluded with All-Conference accolades and a conference-leading 32 points on 12 goals and eight assists. He will be joined by striker Kevin Ouellette, who scored eight goals as a freshman for the Mounties.
Justin Hann will look to take over the goalkeeper position full-time after appearing in nine games and starting four in his first season.
The Mounties are coached by Davis, too. He will be assisted by Neil Harries and Greenwood. The Mounties open their season at home against Washington & Jefferson this Saturday.