2017 Berkshire County girls soccer preview capsules
Coach: Kathy Budaj (3rd year)
Last year: 11-8-1, lost to Monument Mountain in Western Mass. D-III quarterfinal
Key returnees: Ellie Field, Sr. F; Skyler Case, Sr. MF; Jess Halverson, Sr. D; Alie Mendel, Jr. MF
Outlook: Budaj is working on helping build the Hoosac program from the youth leagues on up. The Hurricanes are looking to go beyond their quarterfinal loss to Monument. One of the biggest question marks for Hoosac is in goal, where junior Kelsey Bulson and sophomore Grace Kronick are battling. The third-year coach said she's OK if she has to alternate keepers this fall. Field, Case and Halverson anchor things up the middle. Sophomore Riley Robinson gives Hoosac some athleticism on the back line, while Mendel, and juniors Claudia Bressett and Ashlee Meczywor will be keys to the Hoosac success. Mendel was All-North first team last year at fullback and was the only sophomore chosen. Hoosac will miss All-North picks Olivia Bressett and goalkeeper Kailynne Frederick.
Coach: Jess Platt (7th year)
Last year: 12-3-2, lost to Wahconah in Western Mass. D-III semfinal
Key returnees: Zufan Bazzano, Sr. F; Olivia Jaffe, Sr. MF/F; Masho McAllister, Sr. D
Outlook: The Spartans shared the North Division title with Wahconah, and then fell to their rivals in the Division III semifinal. Head coach Platt said the Spartans "are not focusing on our past accomplishments or failures. We are a new team with a fresh start." But there are still a number of important veterans back to help lead Monument. Bazzano was a first-team, All-North selection, as was junior midfielder Meri Powell. The Spartans graduated goalkeeper Emily Rada. Senior forward Hunter Hassett is out due to an injury.
Coach: Tom Ostheimer (11th year)
Last year: 8-9-1
Key returnees: Caroline Flynn. Sr. F; Madison Ross, Soph. F; Ella Dudley, Jr. MF; Karen McComish, Jr. MF; Isabella Nicastro, Jr. GK
Outlook: The Mounties just barely missed out on making the Western Mass. tournament, and that is something coach Ostheimer said he is hoping won't happen again this year. The Mounties graduated defensive anchor Sarah Stripp, but otherwise, the Mounties return fairly intact. Flynn and Ross combined to score 30 goals last year for the Mounties. Flynn was a first-team, All-North pick last year.McComish and Dudley will anchor the midfield, while Nicastro returns in goal. Ostheimer said with eight returning seniors, including All-North back Lauren Howard, the Mounties should be experienced and ready to go.
Coach: Andy Waluszko (10th year)
Last year: 5-10-3
Key returnees: Britney Perkett, Sr. F; Makailey Cookis, Sr. MF; Molly Tierney, Sr. MF; Sadie Supranowicz, Sr. D; Hayley Tobin, Sr. GK; Julia Eline-Wright, Jr. F
Outlook: Waluszko's team missed the tournament last year, a rare miss for the Generals. Waluszko called it a "very frustrating year," quickly adding that "this senior class doesn't want it to happen again." The Generals are strong up the middle, starting with Perkett up front, Cookis and Tierney at midfield and All-Berkshire defender Supranowicz. Then Tobin will be a second-year starter for PHS. Junior forward Julia Eline-Wright is also a presence on the front line. The Generals will miss midfielder Ilana Albert, who is on the roster at Williams College.
Coach: Meghan Smith (2nd year)
Last year: 13-6-2, lost to Granby in Western Mass. D-III final
Key returnees: Arden McKnight, Sr. F; Hannah Ronayne, Sr. MF; Bri Kasala, Sr. D; Sage Howes, Jr. GK
Outlook: Year one of the Smith era at Wahconah produced a Western Mass. Division III finalist. That's a memory the returning Warriors want to hold on to, but don't want to let it overpower their plans for a first title since 2014. Wahconah graduated All-North first teamers Amelia Dougherty, Emmy Cote, and Ashley Zink. McKnight and Kasala were also first-team picks. There are five seniors on the Wahconah team, five juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. Freshman midfielder Chloe Accardi has good wheels, as does midfielder Victoria Gamberoni. Howes and sophomore Michaella Moncecchi will be in net.
Coach: Maryjane Rumbolt (4th year)
Last year: 2-15-1
Key returnees: Laura Thomas Jr. D; Kelsey Haley, Jr. D; Hayley Shook, Jr. MF; Jacy Howland, Jr. MF; Alison Felix, Jr. F
Outlook: The Blue Devils graduated a pair of first-team All-South selections in midfielder Aubrey Rumbolt and defender Miranda Whitman. The Blue Devils don't have enough depth to field a JV team, but coach Rumbolt is optimistic that her young team will grow. The juniors who are key returnees have been varsity players for a while, and the coach is also expecting them to guide the younger Drury players along. Freshman forward Caroline Cellena may also be an important piece for Drury this fall.
Coach: Lauren Finnegan (8th year)
Last year: 8-9-1
Key returnees: Brianna Hawley, Sr. GK; Khali Zabian, Sr. D; Michelle Beliveau, Sr. D; Shannon Finnegan, Sr. F
Outlook: The Wildcats graduated five last year, so there is some rebuilding to do. But when you return your starting goalkeeper, that rebuilding may not be as tough. Hawley, named to the All-South first team, will get the start between the pipes again this year, and with veterans Beliveau and Zabian in front of her, the Lee defense could be a strong point. Senior Shannon Finnegan, a first-team All-South pick and freshman Lena Simone will play up front for coach Lauren Finnegan. The veteran coach said that if the Wildcats can get off to a strong start, they could make some noise.
Coach: Kyle Zinchuk (5th year)
Last year: 12-6-2, lost to Monson in Western Mass. D-IV semifinal
Key returnees: Kristin Parkinson Sr. D; Nicole Gamberoni, Sr. MF; Abby Schilling, Jr. F/MF; Julie Pehlert Jr. MF
Outlook: The Millionaires are looking for a goalkeeper, and Zinchuk says he has two young ones. Sophie Patella and Julianne Harwood are both eighth graders, and are being thrown into the fire because Taylor Knight suffered a preseason knee injury and will not play. Couple that with the graduation of three starters on the back line, and the Millionaires could be in a rebuilding mode. Parkinson and Gamberoni, who have both been varsity performers since eighth grade, will anchor the back and the midfield. Schilling and Pehlert will be counted on to score some goals.
Coach: Jess Murtagh (7th year)
Last year: 15-3-2, lost to Gateway in Western Mass. D-IV semifinal
Key returnees: Madison Ullrich, Jr. GK; Lauren Edwards, Sr. MF; Jaclyn Derwitsch, Jr. MF; Sarah Beckwith, Sr. D
Outlook: All-South co-MVP Gwendolyn Carpenter is still rehabbing her knee and will not play soccer. She was injured during last winter's basketball season. She and first-team, All-South pick Maya Neski, will be missed. The Eagles, who made it to the Division IV semifinals last year, have a good group of seniors, led by Edwards, Beckwith, Hannah Race and Logan Rathbun. Having Ullrich back in goal is a big help, as coach Murtagh said Ullrich is looking the best she has. Derwitsch and Edwards will anchor the midfield with good speed and ball control. Sophomore Madeline VonRuden will look to pick up where she left off last year.
Coach: Jenna Giardina (3rd year)
Last year: 5-11-1.
Key returnees: Jackie Boateng, Sr. GK; Jas Middleton, Sr. Sweep.; Jenna Bateman, Sr. F; Ally Lucas, Sr. MF
Outlook: The Braves had a pretty good turnout with 33 young women trying to make the varsity team. Giardina, who also played at Taconic, is optimistic that her team can improve on last year's five-win record. The Braves will play a 4-4-2 set up, and senior Bateman will be called on to help put the ball in the net from the front line. Middleton and Boateng anchor the back, and will look to keep the Braves in games. Middleton was the lone Brave to make the All-South first team last year.
Pioneer South League
Coach: Mike Dowling (17th year)
Last year: 13-8-0, lost to Gateway in Western Mass. D-IV quarterfinal
Key returnees: Aimee Dowling, Sr. F; Natalie Diesz, Sr. MF; Hannah Fuller, Sr. MF; Julia Esoldi, Sr. F; Krista Furlon, Sr. D
Outlook: The Hornets, who were in the Tri-County League for 15 years, move into a new league this year. They'll play Ware, Smith Voc, Mohawk, Pioneer, Smith Academy and Greenfield. Coach Dowling has coached the team for all 15 of those Tri-County seasons, and admits he isn't sure what the new league will be like. The Hornets return two Tri-County League All-Stars from last year in Dowling and Furlon. Ayrian Quinones, a junior, takes over for her sister Alanza in net.
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