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Scotties looking for ways to generate offense

| Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 1:31 a.m.

Bob King isn't worried about his defense.

The fourth-year Southmoreland girls soccer coach does, however, have some concerns about his offense, which is a work-in-progress.

Southmoreland's leading scorer last season, Paige Weaver, is back after scoring 25 goals as a junior.

But an injury to junior defender Brittney Leonard has forced King to shuffle his lineup. Weaver will start at midfielder and still be part of the attack, but may not see as many scoring chances.

“We're trying to find combinations that work for us,” King said.

Up front, King will take looks at freshmen Maddy Bodenhiemer and Olivia Porter.

King hopes someone steps up to become a legitimate scoring threat.

“Both Maddy and Olivia are very aggressive and like to go to the ball,” King said. “Normally, Weaver would be one of our players up front, but I've had to switch some things around. We want to find out how Maddy and Olivia are going to react.”

Southmoreland has nine returning starters, including seniors Jenna Morgan (defense), Heather Overly (defense), Kaylee Cummins (midfielder), Rylee Dixon (midfielder), Alex Kitta (midfielder) and Weaver.

King also lost a strong group of seniors to graduation, including Lauren Virgin, Emily Helms and Alyssa Argento. All three are playing soccer at the collegiate level.

“Out of our returning starters, we have a strong group of seniors,” King said. “They will give us leadership on and off the field.”

Junior goal keeper Emily Burkhart also is returning.

King said he believes Burkhart is one of the best goalkeepers in Section 1-AA.

“I don't want to take anything away from the girls at Mt. Pleasant and Yough, but Emily is right up there,” King said. “She makes the big saves when you need them.”

Southmoreland opened its season with a nonsection loss to Latrobe, then followed with a win at Derry in its section opener. Southmoreland returns to action Saturday with a nonsection match against Bentworth. The game will be played at Southmoreland Elementary School.

Joining Southmoreland in Section 1-AA are Derry, Greensburg Salem, Mt. Pleasant, Uniontown, Waynesburg and Yough,

“We're trying to find our identity,” King said. “I think we'll be fine on defense. We're just going to have to find that offensive group that can put it together.”

Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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