2016 Berkshire County high school girls soccer previews
Coach: Kathy Budaj (2nd year)
Last year: 6-10-2
Key returnees: Olivia Bresett (Sr.); Allie Mendel (Soph.); Ashlee Meczywor (Soph.); Kailynne Frederick (Sr.), Claudia Bresett (Soph.), Carah Cote (Sr.)
Outlook: The Hurricanes return a solid group of seniors. Those include the key returnees listed above, plus Madi Vigna, Lily Kronik, Noelle Kronik and Madison Graves. Juniors Ellie Field, Skylar Case and Jess Halverson are key players, as well. Playing in the Berkshire North, Hoosac Valley will have another tough schedule in 2016. Olivia Bresett (midfield) and Graves are the team captains. Mendel and Cote will also play in the midfield while Meczywor will play on defense. Frederick is the goalie and Claudia Bresett is a forward.
Coach: Jess Platt (6th year)
Last year: 11-7, lost in Western Mass. D-III semifinals
Key returnees: Allison Kinne (Sr.); Crista Cardillo (Sr.); Daniella DeFelice (Sr.); Zufan Bazzano (Jr.)
Outlook: The Spartans return three of four first-team All-Berkshire North players from last season. Kinne, a midfielder with 12 goals and five assists in 2015, and Cardillo, a midfielder with six goals and six assists, both are back. Daniella DeFelice, a fullback, also returns for her senior campaign. Monument will have to replace first-teamer Ericca Broderick (12 goals, six assists) and honorable mention goalie Emily Shaw in 2016, though. Zufan Bazzano, another honorable mention from last year and now a junior, is also a scoring threat for the Spartans. Monument made a run to the Western Mass. D-III semis last year and finished third in the Berkshire North by two games.
Coach: Tom Ostheimer (10th year)
Last year: 7-8-2
Key returnees: Sarah Stripp (Sr.); Lauren Howard (Jr.); Ada De Gooyer (Jr.); Caroline Flynn (Jr.); Gabby Orpin (Jr.)
Outlook: The Mounties missed out on a tournament berth in 2015 by one point. Playing a tough Berkshire North schedule was the difference, as the Mounties weren't able to muster a win in the division. But this year's hopes will be carried by a strong junior class, in addition to Stripp, and others. There will be two new keepers in Williamstown, as senior co-captain Rachel Voller and Isabella Nicastro are being groomed in net. Stripp and Howard will play defense while De Gooyer is a forward and midfielder. Flynn, a striker, was last year's leading scorer while Orpin is also a midfielder.
Coach: Andy Waluszko (9th year)
Last year: 12-7, lost in Western Mass. D-I first round
Key returnees: Ilana Albert (Sr.); Lauren Daury (Sr.); Hannah Dargie (Sr.); Sadie Supranowicz (Jr.)
Outlook: After missing out on the Berkshire North title by one game in 2015, the Generals return three All-Berkshire players in Albert, Daury and Supranowicz. The team's leading scorer and assister from last year, Dargie, is also back for her senior campaign. Senior Lindsey Schnopp, juniors Brittney Perkett and Molly Tierney and sophomore Julia Elaine-Wright are also back, among others. In all, 10 starters return from last year's squad. The one starter that will have to be replaced is Allie Hunt, a three-sport star at Pittsfield for four years. Along with Albert, Daury and Dargie, Cassidy Moon will also captain the team. In addition to its Berkshire North slate, the Generals will again have a challenging non-conference schedule.
Coach: Meghan Smith (1st year)
Last year: 15-4-1, lost in Western Mass. D-III semifinals
Key returnees: Emmy Cote (Sr.); Arden McKnight (Jr.); Ashley Zink (Sr.); Kelly McMahon (Jr.); Victoria Gamberoni (Soph.)
Outlook: The defending Berkshire North champions return a lot of key players, including the five listed above. Cote will play forward/midfield while McKnight will play forward. Those were the team's two leading scorers last year. Gamberoni is an outside midfielder while Zink is a middle back and McMahon is a center midfielder. The Warriors will have to replace All-Berkshire North selection Kayla Kowalczyk in net, and sophomore Sage Howes is the one who has been given the task. Other key players include Hannah Ronayne (junior), Kate Matthews (freshman), Lily Pudlo (senior), Briana Kasala (junior), McKenna McIlquham (senior) and Allison Washburn (sophomore), among others. First-year coach Meghan Smith made it clear several times, though, that the entire roster was important to the team this fall.
Coach: Maryjane Rumbolt (3rd year)
Last year: 4-12-4
Key returnees: Allison Brassard (Sr.); Aubrey Rumbolt (Sr.); Miranda Wissman (Sr.)
Outlook: Drury has a lot of key players to replace in 2016, as four All-Berkshire South selections and two more honorable mentions have all graduated. The Blue Devils will look to do it with a strong senior class — nine in all — and four sophomores. There are also two freshmen and an eighth grader on the varsity roster. The nine seniors are Brassard, Jullia Cellana, Ashton Goyette, Maya Howland, Rumbolt, Kelly Therrien, Wissman, Andrea Blaisdell and Annaka Bradley. The team played .500 ball within the Berkshire South in 2015 — finishing with a 4-4-2 mark — but will need to improve outside of divisional play to make a run this year.
Coach: Lauren Finnegan (7th year)
Last year: 9-9-2, lost in Western Mass. D-IV semifinals
Key returnees: Brianna Hawley (Jr.); Mikayla DeSantis (Jr.); Shannon Finnegan (Jr.); Khali Zabian (Jr.); Abby Brown (Sr.); Erin Cook (Sr.); Karli Retzel (Sr.); Cara Walker (Sr.)
Outlook: In addition to the four senior captains — Brown, Cook, Retzel and Walker — the four juniors listed above will help lead the team. Hawley returns in goal while DeSantis (sweeper), Finnegan (midfield/striker) and Zabian (defense) are also back. The Wildcats will also look to sophomore Annie Macchi, junior Michelle Belliveau, sophomores Gabby Bridigan, and Paige Berry, and Maria Rodriguez, among others. Senior Maddie DeSantis, who played soccer from fifth to ninth grade, has come back to play for her senior season. Lee lost only two games in the Berkshire South last season — out of 10 played — and finished in second place in the division.
Coach: Kyle Zinchuk (4th year)
Last year: 13-5-3, lost to Monson in Western Mass. D-IV final
Key returnees: Jackie Hathaway (Sr.); Tova Brown (Sr.); Rose Pehlert (Sr.); Sarah Molk (Sr.); Shannon Meisberger (Sr.)
Outlook: Lenox lost only one senior from 2015, but that senior was the Providence-bound Alessandra Arace. The five seniors — Hathaway (defense), Brown (midfield), Pehlert (defense), Molk (defense) and Meisberger (goalie) — have all been on the team since they were freshmen, including Brown since eighth grade. Sophomores Nicole Gamberoni (23 points last year), Abby Schilling (11 points) and Shelby Lynch (10 points) will also be key for the Millionaires. Lenox won the Berkshire South last season. Junior Kristin Parkinson returns after missing all of last season with injury while sophomore Makenna Packard and freshmen Erin Czelusniak, Claire Lynch and Katherine Nichols are some key newcomers.
Coach: Jess Murtagh (6th year)
Last year: 11-6-1, lost in Western Mass. D-IV quarterfinals
Key returnees: Gwendolyn Carpenter (Soph.); Madison Ullrich (Soph.); Maya Neski (Sr.)
Outlook: The Eagles, coming off a playoff berth and a winning record in the Berkshire South, return sophomore and three-sport star Gwendolyn Carpenter while sophomore Madison Ullrich returns in goal. Maya Neski, a senior, is back as well after an All-Berkshire South honorable mention in 2015. Freshman Madeline VonRuden will play a key role, as will Sarah Beckwith. The Eagles start their season with the New Lebanon tournament, which sandwiches their divisional opener against Drury.
Coach: Jenna Giardina (2nd year)
Last year: 3-14-1
Key returnees: Kristen Borelli; Jill Scussel; Ally Lucas
Outlook: Borelli returns for Taconic while Scussel is back from an injury last season. Brooke Mangiardi, who missed last season completely, is also set to play for the Braves as the squad looks for some consistency. Lucas will be the center midfielder while Mangiardi can play goalie, but she'll probably be the sweeper. Jackie Boateng is stepping up from being the junior varsity goalie last season and should be the starting goalie in 2016. Coach Giardina thinks the team will be deeper this year, which should help the players stay fresher.
Coach: Mike Dowling (16th year)
Last year: 14-5-1, lost in Western Mass. D-IV quarterfinals
Key returnees: Aimee Dowling (Jr.); Allie Gibeau (Sr.); Jordan Budaj (Sr)
Outlook: McCann Tech won the Tri-County league last season, winning 14 games within the conference while only losing once and tying once. The Hornets return many key components of last year's team — three of the five first-team All-Tri-County selections are back — as Dowling, Gibeau and Budaj are on the roster in 2016. First-teamers Monique Martel and Jordan Reinhardt will have to be replaced, though. Goalie Alanza Quinones is back for her senior campaign while Natalie Diesz, one of the team's leading scorers from last year, also returns for her junior year.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.