By: TRIB-LIVE, Tuesday, August 20, 2019,
Last season was a learning experience for the Fox Chapel girls soccer team.
As the Foxes battled in a new section against some of the top teams in Class 4A, injuries to several key players tested their mettle.
Coach Peter Torres said several younger players got opportunities to show what they could do as the team went through the section schedule.
Fox Chapel finished 6-9 overall, 4-8 in Section 1-4A and was uncharacteristically on the outside of the WPIAL playoffs.
But with several starters and other letterwinners returning this season, Torres said his team has the potential to make a charge at the postseason.
“There still are so many variables,” Torres said. “You always want to compete for a playoff spot and finish as high in the section as you can. Once we get in the section and the every-day grind of playing these teams, we’ll be able to see things play out and see where we fit in.”
Torres said Monday’s scrimmage against Franklin Regional provided an indication of where his team stands heading into the season. He said he saw players perform in different situations.
“The mission was to build off of what we had been working on in the offseason and throughout preseason camp,” Torres said. “We want to be able to maintain possession, not get into a foot race with teams, and create scoring chances. We did a really nice job of building some attack and doing what we’ve been practicing.”
The Foxes lost eight players from last season to graduation, including Sarah Sinnott (Pitt, forward/midfield), Katie Feczko (Grand Valley State, goalkeeper) and Alexis Schutzman (West Chester, midfield).
Sinnott and Feczko, past All-WPIAL performers, missed significant portions of last season.
Fellow grad Maura Curry scored five goals and added seven assists, and Julie Scheffler played eight games in goal for the Foxes in her final season.
Fox Chapel started 2-1 in section but suffered four straight section losses and five straight overall. One of the games was a 1-0 double-overtime loss to eventual section champion Seneca Valley with three starters out of the lineup.
“They are usually one of our toughest games,” senior midfielder Claudia DeMartino said. “We didn’t win the game, but I think we finally got the hang of the section and how we needed to come together as a team.”
Torres said: “The section is so unforgiving, but, through some of the losses last year, we were thinking long-term development, and we kept seeing a lot of positives.”
Juniors Britta Lagerquist and Emma Wecht led the returning players in goals scored last season with four apiece. Torres said they will help form the team core with DeMartino and returning seniors Blair Echnat, Sam Dockey Claire Fenton and Sophie Williams.
Junior Lucy Ream and sophomores Carlie Barnett and Kaylee Uribe gave valuable experience last season.
Torres said other players hoping to contribute include juniors Katie Eisengart, Lauren Marotte and Sophia Oehrle, and sophomores Hope Matthis and Lauren Rabbitt.
“We hope we can build decent depth,” said Torres, who said it would be ideal to be able to have a rotation of up to 16 or 17 players for varsity games. “No position is set in stone. Everyone is battling to get on the field. The season is so long. You never know what can happen. We saw that with the injuries last year. Hopefully, we have a lot of girls continue to step up and show they are ready.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .