Delaware Valley girls hope to defend their titles
The addition of the 4A Class to the PIAA soccer classifications in 2016 has benefited Delaware Valley’s girls program immensely.
For the past three years, the Lady Warriors have nailed down the District II title. However, with the crown does not come an automatic bid to the state tournament as it does for other classes.
To get to the next level, the Warrior lasses must win a Subregional match against the 4A victor from District IV, that, perpetually, is Williamsport, the lone 4A school in District IV.
Consequently, the Lady Millionaires have become sort of a white whale.
“We’ve won the district title every year since we were freshman,” said senior Mia Van Wie. “Getting to states this year is a goal for team, especially the seniors.”
Should all things fall into place, DV will field eight players that either started or had significant time last season.
Virginia Yost, a senior, joins Van Wie in the back while classmate Grace Anagnost will likely occupy a mid-field position again.
A big chunk of the work done last year was by sophomores, and a lot of those girls are back again this season.
Juniors Skyler Molnar, Emily Thomas, Hailey Jordan and Meghan Byrnes all can see action as strikers or middies while Jenna Reich will likely fill a more defensive, midfield role.
Head Coach Jeff Rainear doesn’t see his squad being all that different than last year, except for the fact that they’ve improved in skill.
“It’ll be a challenge to replace graduates like Lexi Sickler and Brittany Brockman.” Rainear stated.
“So we’re looking to develop players to fill their former roles, but we had a good year last year and we were pretty successful. We want to score more and hope our sophomores and juniors can create some offensive opportunities.”
Rounding out the roster are senior Rachel Lejune, juniors Kaleigh Kuddar and Savannah Bailey, sophomores Brianna Matteson, Katelyn Tants, Sydney Bolles, Theresa Ficken, and Marisa Dambach, and freshmen Aracelia Denhalter and Sage Henry.
Among the returners, Thomas had the most points with six goals and an assist; Reich shook the net four times; Bolles tapped in three and lent an hand with one; Byrnes tallied three goals, and Anagnost scored twice.
The Lady Warriors closed with an overall 10-8-1 tally last fall.
In the off-season, the team has stayed busy.
Some play other sports too, but over the summer, the girls have been putting in significant time on the pitch.
“We’ve been getting together twice a week all summer working on skills,” said Anagnost.
“Our first week of official practice went well, too,” added Van Wie. “Our fitness level is up, and the coaches are pushing us.”
“They have been working hard,” Rainear said. “They all have a positive attitude, good communication, and they are a cohesive group.”
Improving on last year's record is a major goal.
Players and coaches alike recognize the need to earn victories against some perennial league foes.
This would give them a better position going into the post-season and serve as a litmus test in preparation for the playoffs.
The DV ladies kick things off at home with a non-league match against Pocono Mountain East on 8/30 at 4:30 pm.
Lackawanna League play commences on 9/3 when the Lady Warriors host Honesdale at 4:30 p.m.