Damsel soccer team hopes to build on success of 2013 squad
Thursday, August 28, 2014
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
AMESVILLE - It took 13 years for the Moshannon Valley girls soccer team, but the wait finally came to an end last season as the Damsels made the playoffs for the first time in program history.
Now, Matt Kephart is back for his second season as the Mo Valley head coach, and will have eight letterwinners returning from the 2013 edition of the Damsels that also set the school record of eight wins.
"You have to keep that level of expectation," said Kephart. "I think a lot of (the success) last year was picking our heads up and realizing that we can play with anybody.
"We had a 1-0 loss to Richland in the 72nd minute (in the district quarterfinals), and Richland went on to the state quarterfinals. If nothing else, that game showed us that we can play with anybody. I think that confidence should show this year.
"Our level of expectation is we're going to play a great game every time we go out. If we can do that, good things are going to happen."
Kephart will have one of the biggest weapons in the area at striker in senior Wynter Adams, who led Mo Valley in goals for the last two years. Adams also tied for first in assists on the team with her sister, Autumn, and both should provide much of the offense again this season.
"She's going to be a key component to our season," said Kephart of the elder Adams. "She had such a successful year last year. We need her at the top of her game, and healthy. She's healthier this year than last year, which should be scary for other teams.
"Autumn is in her second year of varsity. We're going to expect that same level with Autumn as well."
Kephart will also be looking to not just Wynter Adams to provide leadership, but also the rest of the five seniors. Out of the five seniors on the roster, four lettered last year - Wynter Adams, Kaleigh Domanick, Julie Stillman and Alex Vadeboncoeur.
Juniors Jennie Iraca and Brittany Oliver, as well as sophomores Autumn Adams and Emily Harsomchuck are the top returners from last year.
Although the seniors will ultimately be the core group, Kephart is also excited for the talented freshmen he has received.
"I pulled up six freshmen this year from junior high, and they all played year-round in Keystone leagues in Clearfield this year," said Kephart.
"We were playing teams from West Virginia and Ohio in tournaments. They show that they want to win. They're hungry. Hopefully we're just going to build from last year."
Not only are the returners benefiting from another year of experience, but Kephart also feels that he is going to reap the benefits of having a year under his belt as the head coach.
"I've always felt comfortable on the sidelines," he said. "I find myself more comfortable at practice and with identifying what the team needs. My head was spinning a little bit last year, especially when we got into the playoffs. Hopefully a little more experience for me will help out."
The Damsels will also look to be better defenders, which improved over last year after they installed a new defense.
"It was something that the girls had never played before," said Kephart. "They did well last year, and I think they're going to continue that this year. If our defense plays tough, we're going to do well this year."
Kephart is once again assisted this season by Frank Stillman.
Mo Valley will get its season under way on Sept. 4 as it visits Everett.
*Wynter Adams, *Kaleigh Domanick, Emily Smith, *Julie Stillman, *Alex Vadeboncoeur.
*Jennie Iraca, *Brittany Oliver.
*Autumn Adams, *Emily Harsomchuck, Tapanga Timblin.
Bryanna Bowser, Michaela Kitko, Mackenzie Lansberry, Elaina McClelland, Bailee McGlynn, Abbie Stanton.
*Denotes returning letterwinners
4-at Everett; 8-at West Branch, 4 p.m.; 9-Tussey Mountain; 11-Bald Eagle Area; 15-Penns Valley; 16-Northern Bedford; 20-Philipsburg-Osceola, 10 a.m.; 24-Everett; 27-at Bald Eagle Area Tournament, 9 a.m.; 29-at Grier, 4 p.m.
1-at Ligonier Valley, 4 p.m.; 6-West Branch; 13-at Penns Valley, 4 p.m.; 14-at Tussey Mountain; 16-at Northern Bedford, 4:30 p.m.; 20-Grier.
All games begin at 6 p.m. unless noted.