Division change creates challenges for Abington Heights girls soccer team


By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com



Abington Heights girls soccer captains, from left, Ashley Mulherin, Allyson Derry and Bella Demo. Absent at the time of photo was Nicole Getz.


Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — The Abington Heights girls soccer team had a successful season in 2015, but a few games prevented the Lady Comets from reaching their ultimate goals.

Finishing with a 12-1 record in Lackawanna League Division 1 play, the team lost twice to Scranton Prep, once in a playoff game for the league title and once in the semifinals of the District 2 Class 2A playoffs.

Now the team is focusing on using that experience as motivation.

The team returns 14 players who registered varsity minutes last season and are expected to be main contributors this year.

Along with senior midfielder Ashley Mulherin, senior forward Allyson Derry and senior defender Bella Demo, a large junior class will make up a big part of the Lady Comets squad.

Midfielder/forward Hannah Kowalski, forward Kelly Seechock, goalkeeper/forward Carina Salerno, defender Abby Brown, defender/midfielder Meghan Noone, midfielder/defender Emily Mahoney, defender/midfielder Paige Morgan, midfielder Emily Clauss, forward Lauren Simakaski, goalkeeper Tricia Caucci and defender Kaila Steenback will all likely have a larger role this season.

Abington Heights head coach Roger Jacobs also believes members of the freshman class may be able to help the team this season.

“We handle the ball well and pass the ball well, but our scoring is still a work in progress,” Jacobs said. “They’re all good players, but I don’t know who will rise to the top. I think they all can contribute, they just need to do it.”

The team must replace forward Ally Christman, midfielders Emma Henzes and Tiana Yarns, defenders Emily Bonsick and Adrianna Green, and goalkeeper Johanna Show, who all graduated.

“Ally, Emma and Tiana took a lot of the responsibility of scoring goals last season,” Jacobs said. “Everybody needs to step up and they all have to play together.”

Mulherin believes if the group can improve ball possession, it may lead to more goals.

“We need to work together as a team to focus on moving the ball better and putting the ball in the back of the net,” Mulherin said.

With several new players in the starting lineup and others joining the squad for the first time, Demo feels developing team chemistry will be important.

“There are a lot of new girls on the team who are really good,” Demo said. “I’m hopeful we’ll be able to bond as a group and work together nicely.”

The team will remain in Class 2A, but will switch from Division 1 to Division 2 of the Lackawanna League.

“This will be our first year playing two or three teams who we haven’t played before,” Jacobs said.

In addition to a change in divisions, the team also has a challenging non-league schedule with games against Pocono Mountain East, Crestwood and defending District 2 Class 2A champion Coughlin.

Jacobs expects Wallenpaupack, the defending District 2 Class 3A champion, to provide the toughest competition in division play.

Abington Heights will host Wallenpaupack to open its league season at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7 at Clarks Summit Elementary.

Abington Heights girls soccer captains, from left, Ashley Mulherin, Allyson Derry and Bella Demo. Absent at the time of photo was Nicole Getz.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_ABJ-AH-Girls-Soccer.jpgAbington Heights girls soccer captains, from left, Ashley Mulherin, Allyson Derry and Bella Demo. Absent at the time of photo was Nicole Getz. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

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