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Pearson, Grmusa keep Baldwin girls on winning track

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By Jennifer Goga
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Baldwin girls' soccer team made the WPIAL playoffs last year for the first time in more than 30 years.

They're following up that historic season with another strong showing in 2013. Through nine games, the team was 7-1-1 and tied for first place with last year's section champion, Bethel Park.

“Our goal was to win the section. We're on the right track,” said Caley Troutman, Baldwin's first-year head coach.

The Lady Highlanders played to a 0-0 tie with Bethel Park on Monday night. Though it wasn't a win, the stalemate was an improvement from last season.

“Bethel Park is the only team that beat us twice last year,” said Troutman, 27.

The Baldwin squad has nine seniors, seven who start every game.

“This is a pretty experienced group,” Troutman said.

Among them is Katy Pearson, a senior forward and the team's leading scorer with 12 goals.

“She's our best offensive threat right now,” Troutman said.

Playing center-midfielder is senior Amanda Grmusa, with eight goals. Grmusa is one of four co-captains, along with Sam Yule, Carla Nicola and Liz Spegar.

“(Grmusa) controls the whole mid-field,” Troutman said.

Holding down the backfield for the Lady Highlanders have been Yule and Kelsie Balsam, a junior.

“They have quick foot skills,” Troutman said. “They're both really smart players, both offensively and defensively.”

Spegar is Baldwin's starting goalkeeper.

“She's a great goalie, but she really hasn't been tested yet,” Troutman said.

Nicola also has been a big contributor for the Lady Highlanders.

“She's such a strong player on the outside, and she's been scoring goals for us,” Troutman said.

Some underclassmen also start, including sophomore Gwen Schemm, a center-midfielder.

“She's an all-around tactical player,” Troutman said.

Sophomore Khori Weaver and freshman Marissa Stenglein have been contributing on the defensive end.

“They've been a huge force in the back,” Troutman said, “especially being young and inexperienced.”

Two other senior contributors are Lydia Fennell and Carly Baumann.

Troutman is convinced her squad can continue to succeed this season.

“The girls need to get up for every game,” she said. “I think these girls have the ability to beat any team they step on the field with.

“It's all about confidence now.”

Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.

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