State College will have to adjust after losing a Division-I talent to graduation.
After finishing with 17 goals and nine assists to spearhead the Lady Little Lions offense last year, Haley Crawford is now a forward at James Madison. She had a knack for creating opportunities offensively, something coach Bud Price said more players will have to do this season.
“From developing the attack and everything, we’re going to be looking at things a little differently this year and just implementing some different things to take on the talent that we have there and get the most out of them,” Price said.
Price is going into his second season after leading State College to a 12-6-1 record and its eighth straight district championship in 2015. He said the team has 12 returning players with starting experience at the varsity level.
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Though it will be tough to replace Crawford, Price said this group has plenty of talent.
Kelly Mejia, Saede Eifrig, Sophia Bollinger and Mya Jeffries are among the team’s top returning players.
Price said Mejia’s versatility will be valuable.
“She played striker for me last year,” Price said. “She played as a fullback for me also, so she can play pretty much anywhere on the field.”
Price thinks Mejia and her teammates are good enough to win a state championship.
“We’re pushing for that,” Price said. “We talk about how to get to that goal, which is doing the little things every day, the hustle factors and being all in every practice.”
Price is also stressing fundamentals like possession and awareness as the Lady Little Lions work toward that goal.
“Basics in soccer that we need to be masters of,” Price said.