Share This Page

New group carrying defending PIAA champion Moon girls

| Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 10:42 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Moon's Megan Schoeneweis (17) celebrates her goal with Amanda Kachaylo during a game against Seneca Valley on Sept. 1, 2013.

Amanda Kachaylo and Sydney Schipani talked before the season, and agreed the Moon girls soccer team would win its share of games.

But this many?

With eight senior starters gone from last year's PIAA Class AA state championship-winning club?

No way, the two figured.

Gone is the nucleus from the 2012 Tigers team, a group that pushed the program to new heights, but a younger group of players has carried No. 3 Moon to a 15-1 record, including a 12-1 mark in Section 5-AA that has forced a first-place tie with No. 4 Quaker Valley.

“Preseason, we were nervous,” said Kachaylo, a senior midfielder. “We expected to win some of the games. Others … who knows. But I'm pleased with where we are. And I'm shocked, a little bit, to say that we're tied for the section lead.”

Antonia Grese scored 29 goals and added 38 assists, as Moon finally vanquished its state final woes a season ago; after suffering 2-0 losses to Downingtown West in 2004 and 2006, Moon broke through with a 1-0 victory last season.

But the bulk of the starters from that group graduated, and senior goalkeeper Macey Thomas tore her ACL, lumping the responsibility on the younger kids. Still, Moon reaffirmed its presence around the WPIAL by opening the season with a 1-0 victory over Class AAA No. 2 Seneca Valley.

“I knew there was a lot of talent, but there was a lot of untested talent,” Moon coach Bill Pfeifer said. “I knew the kids could play. It was how quick could we pull everything together. The win against Seneca Valley at the beginning of the season helped a lot.”

Perhaps no one has been more crucial than junior goalkeeper Kylie Downs, who was thrust into a starting role. Downs has responded by allowing seven goals, two in eight contests since a 2-1 loss at Quaker Valley on Sept. 18.

“We weren't sure how she'd be, but she's been taking a lot of good steps,” Pfeifer said. “We've been able to work with her. She wants to learn. She wants to get better.”

Downs' performance has been even more impressive when you consider that Schipani, who was a standout defender, moved up top to help the offense.

“It was never my thing to score,” Schipani said. “But that's why I like high school, because I get the chance to be offensive and score. It's fun.”

Another one of the key returners has been junior Kallie Conte, who was second to Grese last year with 22 goals. Freshmen Izzy Engel and Emma Thomas have shown the ability to score goals.

“I have to say, they're really good,” Kachaylo said of the two freshmen. “We get the ball to them, and they can score.”

Schipani knew that when she and Kachaylo weighed their team's chances in the preseason.

It's just that neither could expect how that would translate onto the field. Sixteen matches later, the answer should be fairly obvious.

“We did lose a lot of talent, but we got a lot of young talent that came up,” Schipani said. “Seeing us grow over the preseason and everything, I wouldn't say I'm surprised; I think things have been going well for a reason.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.