Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017 Lycoming College Women’s Soccer preview: A fresh start

Joelle Winey returns in goal for the Warriors after making 19 starts in 2016. (Courtesy of Lycoming Sports Information)
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – After serving as the assistant coach in 2016, first-year head coach Kenny Fern takes the reigns of the Lycoming College women’s soccer program and brings in nearly two decades of experience with the game as well as a deep freshmen class of 10 newcomers. When you toss in the program’s first 100-point scorer and a two-year starting goalkeeper, Fern has some key elements to help the team challenge in the MAC Commonwealth. 

To get the team to challenge for one of the conference’s five tournament slots, Fern will have to quickly mesh the 13 new faces with five returning starters. 

“We lost 16 players from 2013 and we gained 13,” Fern said. “It’s completely different from last year. We’re just trying to get the girls to jell and do a lot of different things away from the field to build team spirit.”  

The Breakdown: The most prolific goal-scorer in program history returns in senior Jordan Lazarich (Deer Park, N.Y./Deer Park), as the speedy forward will look to add on to her program records of 103 points and 47 goals. The Third Team All-NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region selection from a season ago led the team with 40 points, 19 goals and six game-winning goals, all single-season program records. 

Lazarich’s running mate will continue to be sophomore Mackaella Goodwin (Madison, N.J./Madison), as the forward played in 17 games while starting five in 2016. Goodwin will look to add on to her already impressive start as a Warrior when she finished second on the team with 17 points and seven goals. 

Freshman Elle Sarracco (Wantage, N.J./High Point Regional) will also see time as a forward, as the 5-8 New Jersey native brings another speedy athlete in the same mold as Lazarich up front.  

Coach’s Take: “Jordan is very important to the team, but with the help of the new additions this year and the change of system, we won’t have to only rely on Jordan’s goals this season. We played a scrimmage the other day and won 6-1 with five different scorers. Regardless of opponent, that’s a massive difference from the past. I think Elle had just as many chances as Jordan which goes to show the difference in how we are looking to play. We changed the system this year with (assistant coach) Mikey (Hannon) coming in and a few new fresh ideas working with my ideas as well. We’re working to change into a more aggressive attacking game. Mackaella Goodwin, she’s having an unbelievable summer. She worked her backside off in preseason. She looks like one of the top players. Then we stick Elle (Sarracco) with her as well and I think the frontline will be a lot stronger than it was last year.” 

Who Returns: Jordan Lazarich, Sr., Deer Park, N.Y./Deer Park; Mackaella Goodwin, So., Madison, N.J./Madison. 

Newcomers: Elle Sarracco, Fr., Wantage, N.J./High Point Regional. 

The Breakdown: An experienced position group with a mix of young newcomers returns a combined 43 games played and 11 starts from a season ago in seniors Devon Mendler (Williamsport, Pa./Williamsport Area) and Hannah Rinaldo (Minersville, Pa./Minersville) and sophomore Michayla Hazard (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial).  

Mendler appeared in all 18 games as a junior with one start while Rinaldo, fighting through injuries for much of 2016, played in 12 games with nine starts while scoring two goals and adding two assists. Hazard played in 13 games as a freshman with a start. 

Mendler has improved throughout her career with the Warriors, while also seeing her playing time increase thanks to her great touch. A healthy Rinaldo will change the game for the Warriors, as her vision and touch have helped her post five goals and seven assists in 29 career games.  

Two sophomores make their way into the program this season in Madi McConnell (Turbotville, Pa./Warrior Run) and Evelyn Torres (Round Lake, Ill./Round Lake). After a stellar four-year career at Warrior Run, McConnell played her freshman season at Penn State Altoona. Freshmen Abby Flemming (Ocean View, N.J./Ocean City) and Matisha Kenyan (Amsterdam, N.Y./Galway) are both going to also see time in the midfield immediately. 

Coach’s Take: “Abby Flemming will play a vital role. Madison McConnell, as a transfer is awesome. She has a great soccer IQ. Devon Mendler has really knuckled down and is currently in her best form. Hannah creates a lot of chances and will also have a big impact on the team this year, so we have four that we’re really concentrating on. In preseason, they worked really hard, they’ve got the system down a lot quicker than I thought they would so we’re looking forward to seeing how they progress.” 

Who Returns: Hannah Rinaldo, Sr., Minersville, Pa./Minersville Area; Devon Mendler, Sr., Williamsport, Pa./Williamsport Area; Michayla Hazard, So., Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial. 

Newcomers: Matisha Kenyon, Fr., Amsterdam, N.Y./Galway; Madi McConnell, So., Turbotville, Pa./Warrior Run; Abby Flemming, Fr., Ocean View, N.J./Ocean City; Evelyn Torres, So., Round Lake, Ill./Round Lake. 

The Breakdown: Junior Allison Edwards (Muncy, Pa./Muncy Area) and senior Jessica Franco (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) are the only two returners from a defense last season that allowed just 1.66 goals per game, the fourth best mark in program history.  

Edwards, primarily playing on the outside, started all 19 games on defense in 2016 while Franco played in 16 and started four in the other outside position. This year, Edwards has transitioned into a center back role, giving her a larger portion of responsibility, which Fern feels she is ready to accept. 

Those two will mix with four freshmen defenders and junior Lex Perrin (New Columbia, Pa./Warrior Run), who played at Harford Community College in 2013 and competed in track and field at Lock Haven in 2015-16.  

Coach’s Take: “Any team would be lucky to have Allison (Edwards). She is great. Every practice, she gets better and better. We’re probably looking at a senior captain next year. She’ll run the defense. She’s going to be back there with three freshmen which is not easy. We brought in Sheila Whitman next to her who’s been excellent through preseason. Two fullbacks who will have to step up and shown there worth are Sam (Marvin) and Taylor Gessner.” 

Who Returns: Jessica Franco, Sr., Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional; Allison Edwards, Jr., Muncy, Pa./Muncy Area. 

Newcomers: Lex Perrin, Jr., New Columbia, Pa./Warrior Run; Emma O’Connor, Fr., Mechanicsburg, Pa./Homeschooled; Allison Ditty, Fr., Elizabethville, Pa./Upper Dauphin Area; Sheila Whitman, Fr., Lake Ariel, Pa./Wallenpaupak Area; Taylor Gessner, Fr., Lewisburg, Pa./Meadowbrook Christian; Samantha Marvin, Fr., Milton, Pa./Milton Area. 

The Breakdown: Starting 39 games in goal in her career, senior Joelle Winey (Mifflintown, Pa./Juniata) returns for her final season after making 151 saves, sixth-most in school history, and a .821 save percentage, also sixth-best in school history, in 2016. She leads a deep goalkeeping group with three freshmen in addition to the return of junior Helen Ross (Hellertown, Pa./Saucon Valley), who missed all of 2016 with an injury. In 2015, Ross started 17 games in goal, winning eight of them.  

Coach’s Takes: “Joelle’s big-time for us. You’re going to see a different Joelle this year. Last year, Joelle stayed on her line a little too much, this year she plays higher and she is quick off her line. I think she’s the best goalkeeper in the conference. Her kicking, she’s added 10-15 yards on her kicks over the summer, which is huge. She’s more comfortable in practice. But when you bring a 6-foot freshman (Madi Welliver) in, who was one of the best keepers in the area in high school, Joelle knew what she had to do. She’s done everything she can.” 

Who Returns: Helen Ross, Jr., Hellertown, Pa./Saucon Valley; Joelle Winey, Sr., Mifflintown, Pa./Juniata. 

Newcomers: Madi Welliver, Fr., Turbotville, Pa./Warrior Run.

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