Like the Christmas and taxes, some things can just be counted on year after year.
The State College girls’ soccer program is one of those teams that just seems to put together winning season after winning season, adding to its trophy case each fall.
The Lady Little Lions are coming off their sixth straight District 6 Class AAA championship, and once again have one of the state’s most successful coaches at the helm. Kevin Morooney brings 324 career wins, and a .764 winning percentage, into the season. Only Hampton’s Frank Christy (435) has more career victories among girls coaches.
Morooney and the team have had their eyes set on another district trophy since long before the first practice of August.
The area’s other programs also are seeking success this season.
State College (16-6) will have a number of new faces on the field this season.
The team returns one of its top scorers in Haley Crawford, but lost a lot of starters and bring a lot of question marks into this fall. The team also brings back starting keeper Caitlyn Fosnacht.
In two seasons as a member of the Mid Penn Conference Commonwealth Division, only Cumberland Valley has a better won-loss record.
“We’ve got a large number of players who will split their time with varsity and JV to help develop the team as fast as possible within a season,” Morooney said. “That’s a good sign because the near term future looks good, but this introduces challenges in managing this season that will require the players to be patient and persistent.”
Bellefonte (13-6) was expecting more success last season, but was upset by Somerset in overtime of the district Class AA semifinals.
While several key players graduated from last season, the Lady Red Raiders bring back a deep and experienced roster with 12 returning letterwinners, and only four seniors dot this season’s roster.
Bellefonte also was the Mountain League runner-up last fall, while coach Stacey Miller earned her 100 th career win last season.
“We’re coming into the season with unfinished business,” Miller said. “We have a large group of players coming into season with a bad taste in their mouths. Losing in (the) playoffs to district champions Somerset … last year is still on their minds. They are ready pick up where they left off and build on last season to make a run for the Mountain League and district titles. We have several tough games scheduled this season, which will give us early tests to see where we are, and how hard we need to work to improve before district playoffs in October. Ultimately, a district championship is our goal.”
Penns Valley (6-11-1) is hoping to bounce back this fall.
With a larger roster and plenty of experience after much of last season’s team has returned, the Lady Rams have a promising outlook for 2014.
“I'm really looking forward to the coming season,” coach Jeff Smucker said. “We have a young team but the freshman and sophomores have been playing a lot of soccer together and they bring experience and enthusiasm to the program. We have more depth at every position than we have had for many years.”
Bald Eagle Area (5-13) has a new leader this season.
Jared Moore takes over the program after longtime coach Kerri Schmidt stepped down. With a small graduation loss last season, the Lady Eagles expect to bounce back with plenty of experience this fall.
“I am very excited to be beginning my first year as head coach at Bald Eagle and I have high hopes for this season,” Moore said. “The girls have been working hard in the offseason and I feel our chances are good for a very successful season.”
Philipsburg-Osceola (7-10) has a little bit of of rebuilding to do, with the loss of 11 players to graduation.
The biggest loss was Jordyn Powell, whose 22 goals led the team last season. Sophomore Maggie Peck leads the returnees after earning first-team Mountain League All-Star status. Cheyanne Cowfer, Jordyn Bertothy and Makenzie Myers are team captains.
“Although we graduated a whopping 11 seniors last year, we look forward to a large group of talented newcomers” coach Kristina McKenna said. “The girls work hard and have excellent chemistry on the field. I look forward to what this very special season has in store for the Lady Mounties.”