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Can they win it again? Bedford girls return experience in attempt to repeat as PIAA Class 2A state champions

Mirror file photo As the defending PIAA Class 2A state champions, Juliana Taylor (center) and her Bedford teammates know they will receive everyone’s best shot this season.

The Bedford girls are in a position no team in the Altoona Mirror coverage area has ever been when it comes to soccer.

The Lady Bisons, who are the defending PIAA Class 2A state champions, are looking to repeat this year minus a few big stars from a season ago.

Gone are Amber Thomas, the all-time leading scorer in the history of the program, as well as Jenna Brown and Bailey Donaldson (all three were Altoona Mirror first-team all-stars).

However, Bedford returns plenty of potential stars with a wealth of experience from last season’s run in Mirror first-team all-star Lindsay Mowry, honorable mention stars in Robyn Casalena and Taylor Downs, and well as five other returning starters in Kiley Horne, Jordan Brown, Abby Donaldson, Josie Hampton and Sydney Taracatac.

The Lady Bisons will also be looking to capture their fourth straight District 5-6 Class 2A championship.

Another team looking to repeat on the district level is Hollidaysburg as the Lady Tigers will look to first-team Mirror all-stars Alyssa Bell and Rita Kendziora, and honorable mention star Natalie Despot to point them to a fourth straight Class 3A title.

The Altoona girls, led by first-team stars Darrian Berkheimer, Sarah Graham and Cassie Kyle are hoping to claim a District 6 Class 4A title of their own after falling to State College last year.

Other Mirror first team players returning are: Kelly Bassett of Cambria Heights, Maddie DeForrest of Huntingdon, Kaitlyn Maxwell of Everett and Sarah McClelland of Moshannon Valley.

Honorable mention players who are returning are: Summer Adams and Tristin Timblin of Moshannon Valley, Katie Aveni and Morgan Sarver of Altoona, Audrianna Barnes of Chestnut Ridge, Averey Black of Central, Auriella Brunner and Daniella Scipioni of Bishop Guilfoyle, Evie Long of Northern Bedford,

Here is a capsule look at all the teams in the Altoona Mirror coverage area:

Altoona

Coach: Derek Winterburn, fifth season

Career record: 40-29-4

Last year’s record: 13-5

Conference: Independent

Returning starters: Seniors: Katie Aveni, Ashlyn Irwin, Anna Knott, Jessica Worley. Juniors: Darrian Berkheimer, Sarah Graham, Cassie Kyle, Julia Lane. Sophomores: Lauren Kiser, Morgan Sarver.

Other returners: Seniors: Sierra Bryan, Delaney Crider, Caranda Perea, Emilee Stirk. Juniors: Lydia Baum, Shelby Smeal. Sophomores: Madison Cabell, Rebecca Dull, Brooke Harrington, Ashtyn Hileman, Danielle Mueller, Sadie Price, Tessa Wise.

Newcomers: Freshmen: Quinn DeAntonio, Sierra Francisco, Abigail Herncane, Maura Kiser, Madison Morelli, Brooke Thomas, Delaney Wisor.

Strengths: “With so many returning players, they are familiar with the system and expectations ahead of them. They are also looking to build upon the accomplishments of last year.”

Concerns: “Transitioning our newcomers into the high school program while also helping them understand the expectations and level of play during the short preseason.”

Overall outlook: It’s very exciting to see what the team can accomplish on the field this year. This group of players is very motivated and very competitive during our training sessions.”

Assistant coaches: Andy Aveni, Tom Lutz

Junior high coaches: Scott Berardinelli, Marc Frye, Kevin Thomas

Bedford

Coach: Jeff Thomas, fifth season

Career record: 81-6

Last year’s record: 22-0

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors: Taylor Downs, Kiley Horne. Juniors: Jordan Brown, Robyn Casalena, Abby Donaldson, Lindsay Mowry. Sophomores: Josie Hampton, Sydney Taracatac.

Other returners: Senior: Olivia Arnold. Junior: Alli Seager. Sophomores: Aemilia Foor, Shelby Ford, Lizzy Martz, Makenzie Pyle, Katelyn Shaffer, Juliana Taylor.

Newcomers: Freshmen: Emersyn Clark, Abby Custer, Cassidy DeHaven, Taylor Diehl, Chloe Donaldson, Taylor Koontz, Grace Sarver, Molly Tew.

Strengths: “Depth, balance, team effort and returning experience.”

Concerns: “Inexperienced players adapting to the high school level.”

Overall outlook: “Looking to build off of last seaon’s success for continued improvement.”

Assistant coaches: Kyler Myers, Todd Roadman, Cory Thomas

Junior high coach: Andy Martz

Bishop Carroll

Coach: Cory Cree, fourth season

Career record: 10-44

Last year’s record: 3-15

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Senior: Maggie Kwisnek. Juniors: Gracie Kirkpatrick, Molly Krumenacker, Ellie Long. Sophomores: Alexis Ditosti, Alayna Przybys.

Other returners: none

Newcomers: Seniors: Valarie Nealen, Lexi Popma. Junior: Courtney Hilyer. Sophomore: Julia McAndrew. Freshmen: Olivia Burk, Mahala Lieb, Lauren Long, Alessandra Menie, Jadyn Strittmatter.

Strengths: “The overall strength of the team is the six returning starters. The amount of improvements and strides forward that they can make both in soccer skills and their leadership abilities with the new players will help to determine the extent of our success as a team.”

Concerns: “For most of our team, this is their first year playing varsity soccer and for some, this is their first year playing organized soccer. Thus, the lack of experience is a major concern.”

Overall outlook: “Our goal is to improve upon last year’s season. We are an inexperienced, but an athletic team. Many of the girls play multiple sports. The amount we are able to add soccer knowledge and soccer skills to the newer girls’ already athletic abilities, along with the amount of improvement of our returning starters, will go a long way to determining our fate this season.”

Assistant coach: Mary Holtz

Bishop Guilfoyle

Coach: Joe DeLeo, fourth season

Career record: 25-30-1

Last year’s record: 6-12

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Senior: Gretta Levine. Juniors: Aurielle Brunner, Grace Callahan, Rachel Nosek, Daniella Scipioni, Rachel Simanski, Maren Stayer, Maren Steinbugl, Sophia Warner,

Other returners: Juniors: Piper Brunhuber, Hope Callahan, Abby Novak. Sophomore: Angelina Melgar.

Newcomers: Junior: Maddie Smith. Freshmen: Claire Cammarata, Lainey Farabaugh.

Strengths: “This team has worked really hard in the offseason to get better which should benefit us this Fall. We are excited about some of our young players that have recently joined the team. We are blessed with very knowledgeable assistant coaches that are always looking to make the kids better.”

Concerns: “We are still inexperienced. Although, we have many returning starters, we have only two players that have started more than two years. We also are not very deep which can be a concern over a long season.”

Overall outlook: We plan to build upon what we learned last year, win more games than we did in 2018 and hopefully return to the playoffs.

Assistant coaches: Paul Yingling, Erin Allison

Blair County Christian

Coach: Kari Dull, fourth season

Career record: 31-12-7

Last year’s record: 15-3-1

Conference: Allegheny Christian Athletic Association Western Division

Returning starters: Seniors: Keirsten Hileman, Addie Snyder, Mia Yingling. Juniors: Annelise Johnston, Melanie Miller, Maddie Snyder, Danielle Stoltzfus, Alexis Weyandt. Sophomores: Mallory Hileman, Sarah McCoy.

Other returners: Juniors: Micaylee Duey, Shelby Ebersole. Freshman: Chelsea LaMagna. Eighth graders: Miriam Claar, Lydia Hileman, Kira Suhoney, Anna Yingling.

Newcomers: Senior: Abby Gross. Freshman: Oni Campbell. Seventh grade: Gabriella Dull.

Strengths: “Our team is composed of ten returning starters. We also have a unified team that encourages one another on and off the field.”

Concerns: “We graduated our senior goalkeeper last year, who played keeper since before I become head coach. Because of that, our team needs to adjust to a new keeper as we move into the season.”

Overall outlook: We anticipate an excellent season as we strive to glorify God both on and off the field. One of our team Bible verses for the season is Ecclesiastes 9:10 which says, ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might’. Our goal is to please God by giving 100 percent as we play the game.”

Assistant coach: Chris Davis

Cambria Heights

Coach: Brittany Hrubochak, fifth season

Last year’s record: 8-7

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors: Kelly Bassett, Abbey Kinney, Maddie Getsy. Juniors: Kaitlyn Bailey, Abbey Lansberry, Emma Stockley. Sophomores: Molly Hayes, Karli Storm.

Other returners: Seniors: Rachel Bills, Shaniya Blake, Jada Nail. Juniors: Cassie Gooderham, Amelia Mozina, Zoe Plouse, Lydia Sherry, Winter Storm, Olivia Warner. Sophomores: Marissa Berzonsky, Diamondlynn Brennan, Haley Drass, Dolly Yarnish.

Newcomers: Freshmen: Emily Behe, Erin Behe, Elizabeth Kinney, Hannah Krug, Carly Lamb, Isabella Pritchard, Kiersten Stafford.

Strengths: “There is a good number of returning starters and a lot of potential, drive and improvement in the team as a whole.”

Concerns: “Both of our defensive wings graduated last year, and a strong player in the middle as well.”

Overall outlook: “I am very excited about this season. Everyone has showed improvement and have been pushing themselves to condition and work as a team on the field.”

Assistant coaches: Brittany Barcelos, Tatum Blake, Tyler Hrubochak

Junior high coach: Nikki Spanik

Central

Coach: Brian Campbell, seventh season

Career record: 76-38-3

Last year’s record: 9-9

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Seniors: Emma Lingenfelter, Tori Longenecker, Jenna Mock, Madison Eicher. Juniors: Alyssa Bartley, Sarah Stern. Sophomores: Averey Black, Kathryn Longenecker.

Other returners: Seniors: Jaida Oakes, Tamara Smith, Desire Shaw. Junior: Emily Dunn.

Newcomers: Sophomores: Carly Dixon, Leah Johnston. Freshmen: Ella Garner, Katie Ritchie, Julia Ebersole.

Strengths: “We have a nice combination of talent and experience.”

Concerns: “Lack of depth. We already have two starters out for the season due to injuries.”

Overall outlook: “We should be competitive in every game and have a chance to win.”

Assistant coach: Hannah Moore

Junior high coach: Shawn Kensinger

Central Cambria

Coach: Devin Shaner, fourth season

Career record: 33-18-2

Last year’s record: 7-9-1

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Senior: Abbey O’Brien. Juniors: Haylee Beamer, Chloe Croft, JoAnna Woods. Sophomore: Jennifer Russell.

Other returners: Juniors: Emily Bednar, Emily Hoppel, Hannah Kovash, Alicia Reedy, Jade Solnosky, Abby Thomas, Kailey Wendle. Sophomores: Ella Anderson, Miah Cade, Madison Dryzal, Rebecca Cree, Carlee Harvey, Melanie Jones, Gretchen Lambie, Ava Monborne, Allie Polchito, Emma Schweitzer, Simone Thorton.

Newcomers: Senior: Jocelyn Wisor. Sophomores: Autumn Cuppett, Bridgette Flanagan, Olivia Moist, Mia Ruddek. Freshman: Delaney Bunk, Jocelyn Holley, Julia Hoffman, Lydia Knarr, Sydney Solnosky.

Strengths: “Strong core. Although returning less than half of our starters, our returning substitutes from last year received a lot of varisty time last year which I believe prepared them for this year. This should give us a strong starting group.”

Concerns: “My main concern this year would be scoring. We relied on one player last year for a majority of our goals, and now it is time for the wave of forwards to take on that role. You can’t win a game without scoring, and it has been a main focus point for us during our offseason.”

Overall outlook: “I believe that we have a well-rounded squad. We have a solid returning group but our depth is a ittle on the young side is a little on the young side. So, it will be a free trial by fire learning curve for our substitutes, but I know they are up to the challenge.”

Assistant coach: Pam Novitski

Chestnut Ridge

Coach: Jeremy Barnes, third season

Last year’s record: 7-8

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors: Audrianna Barnes, Elyse Barnes, Bella Mishler, Kyra Pittman, Maycee Reeder. Juniors: Kennaly Heider, Ella Macdonald, Gabby Mishler.

Other returners: Senior: Kirsten Mock. Juniors: Hannah Beautman, Baylee Mickey. Sophomores: Natalie Claycomb, Emily Ewald, Hailey Miller, Essence Whisel.

Newcomers: Senior: Greta Wunderlich. Juniors: Ellie Emerick, Isabella Waud, Olivia Waud. Sophomores: Trinity Faupel, Leah Ickes. Freshmen: Bailey Blackburn, Malia Crouse.

Strengths: “We’re excited about the returning group of girls we have back, but we also have gained a pretty good group of newcomers that have been working hard.”

Concerns: “We lost some pretty talented seniors. Our challenge is evaluating the team and finding the right girls to fill those spots.”

Overall outlook: “Our first year in the Laurel Highlands started off strong, but didn’t finish the way we hoped. We’re looking to build off the experience gained last year and grow as a group to find ways to finish strong.”

Assistant coaches: Chad Mickey, Rick Macdonald

Junior high coaches: Andrew Ross, Cody Baker

Everett

Coach: Rom Kalinauskas, 40th season

Last year’s record: 12-701

Conference: Sideling Hill League

Returning starters: Seniors: Gabby Bulger, Kylee Cessna, Kristen Ewing, Kaitlyn Maxwell, Emily O’Brien. Juniors: Mary Hood, Violet Johnson, Regan Seville. Sophomore: Lilly Mills.

Other returners: Senior: Mikayla Leader. Juniors: Molly Cessna, Emily Rose, Addison Smith, Abby Walters, Tessa Weyer. Sophomores: Emily Browning, Rebekah Mills, Jordan Yarnell.

Newcomers: Freshmen: Makenzie LaSalle, Savanna Nesbit, Soriyah Northcraft, Kara Valentine, Brookelynn Vukavich.

Strengths: “Our primary strength will be our experience. The majority of our starting players have returned, and we have acquired a good group of freshmen with some soccer knowledge.”

Concerns: “Staying healthy, as always, is a main concern.”

Overall outlook: “Our hopes are to improve with each game, gaining more experience and soccer wisdom as the season progresses, and to succeed in the playoffs.”

Assistant coach: Alex Tuzikow

Junior high coaches: Justin Mills, Samantha Mills

Great Commission

Coach: Autumn Summers, first season

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record:

Conference: Allegheny Christian Athletic Association Western Division

Returning starters: Seniors: Rachel Pascual, Julia Willett. Junior: Lydia Cidor. Sophomore: Emily Longstreth. Freshman: Kelsey Moyer.

Other returners: none

Newcomers: Juniors: Holly Guise, Abby Kennedy, Emma Martinez, Jessie Waters. Freshman: Grace Baldwin. Seventh grade: Jaden Grove.

Strengths: “The team has a strong front line with improved passing and long range kicking as well as an aggressive defense.”

Concerns: “The team is young. We only have five returning starters and several who have never played soccer.”

Overall outlook: “They have a very special bond that is encouraging to me as their coach. I have complete confidence that my girls will be great this year, and bring their best to the soccer field every game.”

Assistant coaches: none

Hollidaysburg

Coach: Dave Soellner, 12th season

Career record: 133-64-6

Last year’s record: 15-5

Conference: Independent

Returning starters: Seniors: Meghan Cutshall, Jadyn Gallagher, Aubrea McIntire. Juniors: Alyssa Bell, Rita Kendziora, Paige Miller, Mackayla Reed. Sophomores: Natalie Despot, Lizzie Johnson, Paige Woods.

Other returners: Seniors: Jordan Becker, Shae Biesinger, Cameron Burger, Sarah Isenberg, Makayla Koelle, Hannah Merriman. Juniors: Emma John, Avery Matherine, Catrina Sciarrino, Riley Tryninewski. Sophomores: Emily Metrik, Falyn Leighty, Daesia Sheaff.

Newcomers: Senior: Andrea Hetrick. Sophomore: Chloe Peterman, Olivia Myers. Freshmen: Abigail Bell, Sedona Clapper, Kennedy McHugh, Ava Miller, Madeline Shanafelt, Abigail Steiner, Kiersten Williams.

Strengths: “A lot of depth.”

Concerns: “Staying healthy.”

Overall outlook: “We want to be in every game to win it.”

Assistant coaches: Shane Reffner, Crystal Stephens, Doug Reffner

Junior high coach: Will Fitzgerald

Huntingdon

Coach: Michael Armstrong, third season

Career record: 21-12-3

Last year’s record: 11-6-2

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Seniors: Jacee Deline, Mallory Woodward, Rin Reamer. Juniors: Megan Lynn, Amanda Gwinn, Sydney Sellers. Sophomore: Greta Staley.

Other returners: Seniors: Maddie DeForest, Lexie Fagan, Allison Troup, Mikaela Reed. Juniors: Simone Bilich, Kayla Cianci, Abbi Henney, Olivia Langenbach, Allison Rux. Sophomores: Brielle Green, Hilary Stromer, Alexis Troup,

Newcomers: Freshmen: Maddison Carns, Malia Carns, Cynthia Fagan, Lillian Greenfield, Caitlyn Hahn, Sophia Lauer, Maiya Linn, Norah McClain, Jordyn Patrick,

Strengths: “We look to have significant speed on our flanks and our possession game is always something we pride ourselves on and continue to push to have to be our core of who we are.”

Concerns: “We have moved some players around into new positions and just the uncertainties that come with that. As the season progresses, I’m sure their comfort level will rise and continue to provide a solid team.”

Overall outlook: “Looking to again challenge for a league title, but with consistently strong competition. Plan to continue to be present in District 6 play, and continuing to challenge for a district title.”

Assistant coaches: Maggie McMannamon, Mark Teeters

Junior high coach: Allen Gwinn

Moshannon Valley

Coach: Brian Wicker, fourth season

Last year’s record: 10-9

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Seniors: Summer Adams, Sara Hamm, Madison O’Donnell, Katie Tocimak, Sarah Tocimak. Juniors: Sydney Bubb, Tessa Switala, Tristin Timblin. Sophomores: Sara Caldwell, Emily Davis, Sarah McClelland, Grace Spencer.

Other returners: none

Newcomers: Freshmen: Sophia Demko, Kristyn Oliver, Janaye Shimmel.

Strengths: “Teamwork”

Concerns: “Fitness will be key to the season.”

Overall outlook: “Above average”

Assistant coach: Wynter Adams

Junior high coaches: Scott McClelland, Carlee Freeberg

Northern Bedford

Coach: Barbara Zanella, second season

Career record: 16-2

Last year’s record: 16-2

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Seniors: Becca Helsel, Taylor Miller, Taylor Nycum. Juniors: Grace Burke, Sidney Coffey, Olivia Higgins, Aylisa Morral, Paige Snider. Sophomores: Deerin Davis, Hailey Douglas, Ashley Kishman, Evie Long.

Other returners: Juniors: Montana Clapper, Calea Dively. Sophomore: Makayla Hall.

Newcomers: Freshmen: Emily Heck, Abbie Kline, Destiny Lafferty, Lydia Ritchey

Strengths: “We only had one senior leave the team, so we have a strong core of returning players. Our returning defense has strong communication skills and continue to develop their skill. All of the girls are focused and desire to perfect their game by living out our motto of ‘perfect practice makes perfect’.”

Concerns: “Injuries are a concern. If we have too many injuries, our lack of depth on the bench could be concerning.”

Overall outlook: Our team is made up of a group of highly motivated and dedicated girls who desire to improve their game. We are going to have a great season.”

Assistant coaches: Kandy Troutman, Valerie Grimes

Junior high coaches: Brandon Horton, Kevin Lawton

Northern Cambria

Coach: Matthew Weimert, first season

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 0-11

Conference: Heritage Conference

Returning starters: Not provided.

Other returners: Not provided.

Newcomers: Not provided.

Strengths: “With the team being so small, it becomes easier to work in better technique and positioning. We have a few girls that have nice shots on the team, and we are hoping to get them good looks throughout the season.”

Concerns: “My main concern is how low our numbers are on the team. Having 14 girls on the roster means we need to be in the best shape possible to be able to go 100-percent for 80 minutes.”

Overall outlook: “This going to be a building year as it is a fairly young team with only four seniors. Although, where we lack in experience, we will be making up for it in determination to win.”

Assistant coach: Jesse Turnbaugh

Penn Cambria

Coach: Mackenzie Walter, fifth season

Career record: 44-32

Last year’s record: 13-5

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors: Madison Grove, Sydnie Reese. Junior: Taylor Rabatin. Sophomore: Bayle Kunsman.

Other returners: Senior: Sarah McCready. Juniors: Cheyanne Beiswenger, Halie Kearney, Julia Podrasky. Sophomores: Devon Cornell, Emma Farabaugh, Sydney Greene.

Newcomers: Juniors: Luci McCabe, Maya Domonkos, Octavia Trice. Freshmen: Jordyn Farabaugh, Lauren Farabaugh, Ashley Galovich, Jenna Helsel, Maurah Krumenacker, Kandice Pratchard, Adanya Zunich.

Strengths: “Tight knit group of girls that meshes well together and understands how to play as a team.”

Concerns: “Losing nearly an entire starting lineup and transitioning new players into new positions.”

Overall outlook: “This year we are adjusting to losing a large, talented group of seniors. But, we have a group of girls who are dedicated and ready to put in the work to be successful.”

Assistant coaches: Michele Smith, Blake Walter

Tyrone

Coach: Mike Sparacino, third season

Career record: 6-26-2

Last year’s record: 3-12-2

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Seniors: Cate Baran, Madison Soellner. Junior: Kendall Markley. Sophomores: Mackenzie Latchford, Sophia Nelson, Lindsey Parks, Natalie Saltsgiver.

Other returners: Sophomore: Jaylee Shuke, Eva Toth.

Newcomers: Sophomore: Alaina Neff. Freshmen: Chloe LaRosa, Avalyn Moore, Allyson Partner, Eliza Vance, Hailey Vanish, Rayann Walls, Olivia Zimmerman.

Strengths: “We will be a young team, however, most of the players have been playing together for years.”

Concerns: Our young players getting used to the speed and skill level of the high school game.”

Overall outlook: “Hopeful that this is the beginning of a brighter new future in Tyrone.”

Assistant coaches: Steve Nelson, Gus Soellner, Alan Walls

Junior high coach: Jennie Maloney

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