Franklin Regional girls soccer misses postseason, but finishes strong
By Doug Gulasy
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
With their backs against the wall after a three-game losing streak near midseason, members of the Franklin Regional girls soccer team needed to close the season strong in order to give the team a chance at the postseason.
While the players did just that, the Panthers ultimately fell short of their preseason goal of qualifying for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
Nonetheless, coach Rich Garland was pleased with the way the team finished the year: on a 5-1-1 run that left it just a half-game out of a playoff spot.
“We found a way to deny opponents scoring opportunities, and we played more consistently towards the end of the season,” Garland said. “That was fun to watch.”
Franklin Regional (8-8-2) allowed just five goals in its final seven games of the season, with three of those coming in one game: a 3-1 loss to section champion Penn-Trafford. The Panthers shut out four opponents, including Norwin. The resulting 0-0 tie in that game ultimately kept the Knights from sharing the section championship with Penn-Trafford.
Garland said before this season he hoped to compete better with Penn-Trafford and Norwin, traditionally the top two teams in Section 1-AAA. While the tie with Norwin pleased him, he said the players weren't totally satisfied with it.
“It was kind of a two-handed reaction,” he said. “When they walked off the field, they weren't happy. But what we took away from that match is we can play. Despite having some weaknesses in some positions, we can play, and we can play hard.
“The fact that we had an impact on the section spoke well of our girls. They could have just pulled up and just mailed it in, but they didn't. They came to compete. … It was a great contest, so we developed some confidence about it. But we weren't happy with the result, (which) shows the maturity level of the girls who are ready to compete at the highest level.”
Injuries hampered Franklin Regional for much of the season, with the most significant one sidelining sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Thomas in the preseason.
Junior Dana Altman, previously a midfielder, stepped in for Thomas for much of the season before suffering a concussion. She was replaced by Danielle Brand, who played a few games before Thomas returned in time for the final four contests.
“At key times, those kids stepped into that role,” Garland said. “Obviously, they were nervous about it, but they stepped up and really served their teammates well.”
Although this season ended without a playoff appearance, Garland said the team could gain confidence from its strong end to the season, particularly because the team has a strong core of underclassmen returning.
“Next year looks promising,” he said. “A lot of the kids that played a lot of minutes this year, you'll see back next year, which bodes well if we can refocus ourselves to paying attention to details of our possession and defending.”
Franklin Regional will lose four seniors in Gionna Fonseca, Cassidy LeDonne, Mallory Leiper and Molly O'Toole. Fonseca and LeDonne were starters and key players for the Panthers this season.
“From a team standpoint, they all had roles to fill, and they filled them well,” Garland said of the seniors.
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
Show commenting policy
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.