Ligonier Valley girls soccer clinches 4th straight playoff berth
After clinching a spot in the PIAA Class AA District 6 playoffs, the Ligonier Valley girls soccer team has begun looking ahead.
Entering the second half of the season, the Rams were 7-1. Based on that record, they qualified for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
“We knew we had a good team, but we didn't want to look too far ahead until we made the playoffs,” coach Eric Vogelsang said. “Now that we have, we can start preparing.”
The Rams have outscored their opponents 53-13. They have been unbeaten since losing to Altoona, 6-2, in the first game of the season.
Senior Maddy Grimm is Ligonier Valley's top scorer with 28 goals and eight assists. In her career, she has 94 goals, the most ever by a Ligonier Valley player.
Junior Nikki Davis (10 goals, 15 assists) is Ligonier Valley's second leading scorer — she is second on the school's all-time list with 35 assists.
Sophomore Jessica Anto is third in scoring this season with five goals and five assists.
Senior Katie DeMayo has played well after moving to midfielder from defender.
DeMayo, along with Grimm, is one of only three four-year starters to have played at Ligonier Valley.
“Katie is very versatile and has done everything we've asked of her,” said Vogelsang, in his 11th year as coach.
Senior defender Michaela Long and senior midfielder Kelleigh Huber also lend experience.
In her first year at goalie, Breanne Wallace has been a standout with 80 saves and a save percentage of 88.
“We lost three of our goalies,” Vogelsang said. “The position was a big question mark.
“Breanne, who had been a midfielder and defender, volunteered to play there.”
Wallace, a first-year starter at any position, isn't surprised by her success.
“When I was recruited to play soccer, I was told I probably would be a good goalie,” she said.
Ligonier Valley is optimistic it can do better at the PIAA playoffs than it did last year, when it was eliminated in the quarterfinals after reaching the semifinals the previous two seasons.
“We have good leadership and a lot of confidence,” Wallace said.
Grimm said the team has good chemistry, but she is cautious about thinking too far ahead.
“We still have the second half of the (regular) season to play,” she said. “It's important that we do well so we have momentum going into the playoffs.” Ligonier Valley would like to break the school record of 12 wins set in 2006.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.