The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 17, 2013

Jon Gerardi's column on h.s. soccer: Northumberland Christian freshmen make impact


Daily Item

---- — Northumberland Christian coach Amy Thayer, now in her fourth year, no doubt wondered prior to this offseason who was going to fill the shoes of former Warrior and ACAA all-star Alyssa Wesner?

When Wesner graduated, she left quite a void offensively, as she accounted for 53 goals last season alone.

Who would've thought that three freshmen would be up for the challenge?

Those three freshmen -- Bethany Severn, Allison Moore and Calista Ulmer -- form an incredibly talented trio, which definitely cause problems for opposing defenses.

Severn is off to an incredible start in 2013, leading Northumberland Christian not only in goals, but assists as well.

Last season as an eighth grader, Severn had 45 goals on the year, behind only Wesner.

"Bethany is a talented player, who has given us great offensive production," Thayer said. "She is still young, but her ability to contribute through both scoring and passing has been a big boost for us this season."

Those freshmen are a huge reason the Warriors are tied for the Allegheny Christian Athletic Association's top spot in the Eastern Division.

The Warriors did return six talented seniors this year, but they're all defenders. So while the defense has been solid, others had to step up on the offensive end.

"We have had to start people in some new positions offensively, but so far everyone is doing a good job working into their roles," Thayer said. "Bethany had a strong year last season, so we knew we had a good base to work around."

Many knew what Severn brought to the table, but Moore and Ulmer have been somewhat pleasant surprises.

This year, the two were moved to different positions and that has paid big dividends for the offense.

The freshmen trio has an incredible 41 combined goals this year, including 22 from Severn and 11 from Moore.

"I had high expectations coming into the season that they would be able to contribute offensively," Thayer said.

Severn recorded two hat tricks this week in consecutive days. It marked Severn's sixth hat trick on the year, more than Mount Carmel's Ali Varano (2) and Lourdes' Kelsey Williams (2) combined.

As a team, the Warriors have 59 on the year, meaning the three freshmen account for roughly 70 percent of their scoring.

"We have really focused on being balanced this year," Thayer said. "Having multiple players that can score consistently has been a big part of our successful season so far."

Severn also leads the team with 13 assists, while Ulmer is behind her with seven.

"I am pleased with the strong start we have had this year," Thayer said. "There are always things to improve on, and we have continued to get better as the season has progressed."

And if this year is any indication of what the three Northumberland Christian freshmen are capable of, they could reach the bar Wesner set a season ago.

n Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for The Daily Item. Email comments to jgerardi@dailyitem.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JonGerardi