Last season became feast or famine for Centre County’s girls’ soccer teams.
State College, playing in its first Mid-Penn Conference season, tied for third in the league and moved on to its fifth straight and 13th overall District 6 title with its triumph in the tournament.
Bellefonte also had a fine season, sharing the Mountain League title with Clearfield and earning the No. 2 seed for the District 6 Class AA playoffs.
Bald Eagle Area, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola all suffered through losing seasons.
State College (15-6-1) continued program excellence, improving the Lady Little Lions’ overall mark to 358-112-27 in 25 seasons.
Second-team all-Mid Penn selection Victoria Crawford headlines a group of seven returning seniors.
“Last year was a learning experience for the whole program - players and coaches. We’ll have a better idea about how to leverage a grueling three matches per week in the Mid Penn schedule and to be successful in a District 6 postseason,” State College coach Kevin Morooney said. “Because the regular season and postseason have almost no competitive overlap, it’s a real challenge — and one that this group is ready to take on.”
Morooney is especially concerned about the club’s graduation losses on defense. “For the second season in a row, a defense will have to be re-built which is uncommon territory for the team,” he said. “The first month will include lots of experimentation with the back.”
• Bellefonte (13-3) suffered significant losses. Five of the team’s graduating seniors are on college rosters this fall.
The Lady Red Raiders do bring back an interesting mix of nine letterwinners, which include four seniors and four sophomores.
“We’re coming into the season with high hopes and a sense of unity as a program,” Bellefonte coach Stacey Miller said. “We have a great group of seniors (Kaitlyn Womer, Carmen Barkley, Ashleigh Turner and Kiah Cronin) that are ready to take over the program and lead us through a successful season. We will continue to build on recent success and make a run for the Mountain League and District titles.”
• BEA (7-11) had a losing record, but the Lady Eagles tied a school wins mark. The Lady Eagles bring back 12 letterwinners, including seniors Meghan Peters, Samantha Rougeux and Makayla Donley.
“I believe we are going to have a good test in the Mountain League this year,” BEA coach Kerri Schmidt said. “We are looking to go to the next level and will be competing to make the districts this year.”
• Penns Valley (5-14) brings back 11 lettermen, including seniors Marcy Smucker, Rachel Long, Lauren Eberly and Ayla Olsen-Zelman.
The Lady Rams also have six freshmen on the roster.
“I’m excited about the upcoming season,” Penns Valley coach Jeff Smucker said. “We have a good mix of veterans coupled with a talented freshmen class. ... Once they gain some experience and confidence they will have a significant impact on the team.”
• Philipsburg-Osceola (5-12-1) improved by three wins from the previous season. The Lady Mounties feature a veteran group with nine returning senior letterwinners.
Senior Jordyn Powell netted a team-high 13 goals last season, while senior Carley Hahn stopped 151 shots in goal.
“We have a great group of seniors this year,” P-O coach Kristina McKenna said. “The girls understand the game and have matured with our program.
“They are gifted athletes and fair leaders and we are excited to see how they help develop our team this season.”