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Kittanning players making adjustment

| Friday, July 27, 2012, 12:10 a.m.
Coach Crystal Heder (center) works with the restarted Kittanning girls soccer team during an offseason practice on July 20, 2012.

Kittanning's new girls soccer team has had a slow, but steady start and players are happy to finally have their own team.

In the spring, Armstrong School District officials made the decision to revive the girls' soccer program, hiring Crystal Heder as head coach.

The program had been dormant since 1999.

So far, the new team has had three voluntary workouts, and Heder is excited about the program and the upcoming season.

“It's phenomenal the attitude that I'm getting from them,” Heder said.

About 40 girls signed up for the team initially, but so far a group of about 12 girls have shown up for the workouts. Although Heder hopes to have more girls actively participating, she's content with the group's progress so far.

“I'd like more,” she said. “But I'm really happy.”

Prior to assembling the girls team, some girls had to play on the boys team via the six spots that were left open. Now the girls say they are content to have a team specifically for them and a coach that's understanding.

“It's a lot better than playing on the boys team,” said Sarah Hidinger, 17, an incoming senior.

Hidinger said she felt like she wasn't always wanted on the boys team.

“We didn't really get recognized like we should have,” Hidinger said.

A few of the girls have played soccer for most of their lives, but some of the players are new to the game and still catching up in ability.

Sophomore Kayly Lazaroff, 15, is cautiously optimistic about the team's potential, but still looking forward to the season.

“People are getting better because we're practicing,” Lazaroff said. “We just need to become better.”

The team will play an exhibition schedule this year, but Heder and the players say it won't slow the team down. This season will be an opportunity to build a strong foundation for the program as it prepares for future WPIAL competition.

“I'm going to treat it like a practice,” Heder said. “It's good practice for everyone.”

Fall practice begins Aug. 13 and officials are still finalizing this year's game schedule.

Sarah Kovash is a freelance writer.

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