Fueled by playoff win, Panthers aiming for more success in 2016
A difficult campaign ended on a high note for the Perryville girls’ soccer team last fall after it followed a three-win regular season with a victory over rival Havre de Grace in the second round of the 1A East Region Section I playoffs.
With a new coach on the sideline and the return of several key contributors from last year’s team, the Panthers (4-9 overall, 2-4 Susquehanna) enter the 2016 season hoping to maintain the momentum garnered from their postseason triumph.
“Last year was definitely a learning experience for the girls. Winning the opener in the playoffs, especially against Havre de Grace, showed them the importance of perseverance,” said first-year coach Cayla Weller, who takes over on the sideline after one season as the team’s assistant coach. “I am hoping that they use the feeling they had during and after that game to energize for this year and to help see past any obstacles this season.”
Sophomore forward Madison Carr is back after leading the team in scoring last season. The team will also be aided by the return of senior defensemen Sam Koons and Taylor DiPietro.
Both Carr and DiPietro received All-County honorable mention accolades in 2015.
“Madison is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with again this season. Not only does she have more support up top this season, but she has grown in skill and character since last season. I think that she will be [near] the top with goals and assists,” Weller said.
The first-year coach pointed to a trio of sophomores whose additions should help Perryville this season. Weller highlighted incoming midfielders Alex Koons and Chloe Ports and goalie Shannon Poole.
“Shannon has looked strong and aggressive in net this preseason,” Weller said. “She is the backbone to a strong defense.”
The Panthers will open the season late next week when they visit Bohemia Manor in a non-divisional contest—the first of two games against their incounty rivals.
“I feel the unity that exists between the returning players and last year’s freshmen that moved to varsity will help the team achieve more. The team looks strong and has displayed increased skill, team work and love for the game during the two play days we had,” Weller said. “The team and coaching staff are working together to use last season’s successes as a spring board to achieve even more this season.
“It’s hard to pinpoint the biggest strength of the team. If I had to try, I would say the bond the team already has this early in the season,” she added. “If they can continue to grow as a team, I truly feel that they will go further than they have in the past.”
Follow Jordan Schatz on Twitter: @Jordan_Whig
Senior defender Samantha Koons returns for a Perryville girls’ soccer team hoping to rebound from a four-win season.