Lady Cougars have plenty of experience back
A year ago, the Charleroi Lady Cougars played stellar defense en route to a second place finish in Section 2A, and they only gave up 19 goals.
With eight starters back and several other players returning with plenty of game experience, fourth-year coach Jim Rue did not hesitate when asked about his main goal for the upcoming season.
“We want to win the section, and we are getting closer to where we want to be,” he said. “Defense wins championships, and we want to play solid defense again.
“We want to be more effective on offense as well,” Rue added. “Hopefully we get some scoring diversity and don't have to rely on just one or two players to score.”
Five of the returning starters for the Lady Cougars are seniors.
Chelsea Anderson, Ashlee Reibau, and Rachel Ritzer return in the midfield while Kayla Mosko and Demi Levandosky are back as key players on defense.
A pair of juniors, forward Halee Fedrick and sweeper Johnson, also return to the starting lineup as does sophomore midfielder Kyra Watkins.
“I feel good with who we have back and with who will fill in the spots from the players who graduated,” Rue said. “We have experience, and I like that we have a big sophomore class with 12 players.”
A quartet of sophomores and another of freshmen will provide the ever important depth.
The sophomores Rue mentioned include defender/goal keeper Kaitlyn McCann, midfielder Bailey Musser, striker Morgan Riley, and Kristen Stuyvesant.
The freshmen are midfielder/forward Jensen Fleming, outside midfielder Adrianna Gottheld, midfielder/defender Hannah Kondratik, and midfielder/forward Jessica Day.
“We have three or four positions still up in the air, but the girls will play,” Rue said of the girls who won't start. “It will all matter how it translates in varsity action.”
Rue also spoke about the key attribute to the season being successful.
“We have players who are good individually, but it will depend on whether players make plays for the betterment of the team instead of worrying about ‘me first',” he said. “If a different player has a better opportunity, then we have to move the ball.”
Rue was quick to point on the talent in the section.
“South Allegheny won the section title last year and both Serra and Bentworth are always good,” he said. “Plus we open with Chartiers-Houston and they are a rival.
“We have to get off to a good start.”
Bill Hughes is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.