The Fox Chapel girls soccer team finished the 2016 season with an overall record of 16-7 and were section co-champions with a 9-1 record. The Foxes finished third in the WPIAL playoffs and made the PIAA tournament for the first time since 2000.
Fourth-year coach Peter Torres must find a way to replace a pair of all-state performers in Deena DeBaldo and Dixon Veltri.
“The team will be impacted by the loss of those two and also a very talented and accomplished senior group,” Torres said.
This year’s team will be led by returning starters Katie Livingston, Greta Lazzara, Sarah Sinnott, Kate Feczko and Julie Scheffler.
“Katie has been a starter since she was a freshman,” Torres said. “Our goaltenders (Feczko and Scheffler) have had success during the regular season and the playoffs. Both of them compete at a higher level and push each other to be the very best.”
Also returning are Fallon Curry, Maura Curry and Blair Echnat.
“Blair started several games last season,” Torres said.
Other returning letterwinners are seniors Diana Beasley, Kate Goodwin, Lainey Kasian, Julie Mallinger and Abby Pogue along with juniors Hannah Flanders, Theresa Heidenreich, Sabrina McQuarrie and Lexie Schutzman and sophomore Claudia DeMartino.
“We have a strong group of experienced players returning,” Torres said. “There are also several newcomers who expect to compete for time.
“We will field a team strong on experience and determination. The program has made the WPIAL playoffs the last four years, and we want to continue to progress.”
Torres is hoping the team will find a go-to scorer.
“Every team is looking for that player that is a reliable scorer that can draw opposing defenders in and allow others to have a scoring opportunity,” he said.
The Foxes will be competing in Section 3-4A, and Torres expects a tough section battle.
“Our toughest opponent is always Plum,” he said. “They are a very driven and passionate team that plays with a lot of heart and grit. They do not concede a lot of goals. Allderdice has shown their ability in the past, and Penn Hills is always competing and they’re getting better.
“Our expectations are to compete for the section title and advance through the playoffs. We no longer fly under the radar, so we must be ready to play every game. As in the past, we will play a brutal nonsection schedule. We have to play the best in order to have the necessary experience for the playoffs.”