The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 11, 2013

Jon Gerardi's high school soccer column: Teams adjusting to graduation losses easily


Daily Item

---- — There's nothing new with schools having to replace talented players to graduation.

It literally happens every single year, just pick a school.

It's still early in the season, but it looks like all the holes a lot of teams had to fill from last year's graduation went off seemlessly and just about everyone's still clicking as if nothing changed.

Take this week's Selinsgrove at Lewisburg girls game. The Green Dragons have a new player in goal to replace the talented Sienna Fisher. Meanwhile, the Seals had to replace a handful of players, most notably scoring leader Jenna Fisher.

No problem.

Kirsten Blakeslee played solid against the defending District 4 champion Seals on Monday, recording nine saves and had two huge stops in regulation, including a great diving save to tip the ball backwards out of bounds.

"She's been great. Last year she had a few games. I thought she was great," Lewisburg coach Jose Vega said. "She played solid."

And for Selinsgrove, it was just a matter of finetuning an already great offense.

"We moved a lot of players around," Selinsgrove coach Matt Metzger said. "We had a lot of players step up. There's a lot of players that were on the bench last year that are stepping up and doing a real nice job for us this year, and that's nice to see."

Without Fisher up front, Selinsgrove now has relied on others to pick up the pace, such as Nicole Krebs.

Krebs leads the Seals with six goals on the season, second-best in the area in District 4. She also has a second-best four assists, tied with teammate Sam Rodkey.

One of the biggest question marks for a lot of area fans -- especially those in Turbotville -- was most likely who will step up and fill the shoes left by two-time Daily Item Player of the Year Taylor Landis?

All it took for the Defenders was looking for some seniors to step up, and that's exactly what happened for Jen Allen's squad in their first game.

Chloe Eisenhuth emerged as the senior leader on the team, scoring two goals in their opener against a solid Mount Carmel team and has a team-high four on the year.

On the boys side, Danville lost all-time saves leader Chris Dempsey to graduation, but it seems Jon Hauck has filled in to his new role as the Ironmen's goalie without problem. On Tuesday, Hauck shut out a talented Midd-West squad, 2-0.

And while Selinsgrove did lose David Aurand -- an extremely talented and fast player now at Susquehanna -- coach Chris Lupolt will definitely find some rhythm in his offense as this season rolls on.

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FOCUSING ON HER?: Before the season started, Mount Carmel coach Rich Miller admitted that he knew this year opposing defenses were going to key on Ali Varano constantly to prevent her from scoring and making plays.

If defenses are doing that, she's beating them anyways.

The Red Tornadoes have played four games so far and tallied seven goals this year. Can you guess who has scored every one of them?

That'd be Varano.

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DOUBLE TROUBLE: It isn't always easy to lead your team in both goals and assists.

It's not like in softball or baseball where you can lead multiple categories relatively easy.

But two players in the Allegheny Christian Athletic Association are making it look easy.

Northumberland Christian's Bethany Severn leads the area in goals with 15 while also leading in assists with 10. Meanwhile on the boys side, it's Northumberland Christian's Zach Newbury who leads in both goals (13) and assists (8).

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REMINDER: All area coaches are encouraged to call in their scores, win or lose, to ensure players get recognition.

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.