Derry girls soccer continues to show improvement

| Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Derry girls soccer team's record over the past two seasons might not show it, but the Trojans are a program on the rise.

With just one win last season after a two-win season in 2012, Mark Curcio's team is looking ahead to continued improvement in his fourth year at the helm.

Increased roster turnout has been a big point of optimism; the Trojans welcomed an influx of talent two years ago as the roster grew from 17 to 33 players after Curcio's first season. It now stands at 28.

“What's really neat is, that big group of girls are now seniors, and they've been playing for two-and-a half years,” Curcio said. “When it comes to depth, this year is a lot more promising.”

With the addition of a junior varsity squad for the second consecutive season, the Trojans are hoping their increased team depth composed of more skilled players can help make them more competitive in WPIAL Section 1-AA after a 1-14-1 record a year ago.

“The idea that I actually have girls that can distribute the ball now, I have girls that talk to each other,” Curcio said. “They've been playing for two years and know exactly where they're going to be and can make plays up the field. … So I think that's the big thing that I'm most looking forward to.”

That team depth will be led by seniors Kaitlynn Piper (goalkeeper/midfielder), forward Renee Tempo and Megan Retallick. That group, along with juniors Elizabeth Skovira-Downey (midfielder) and Ari Bush (defender), will be counted upon to help lead the Trojans.

Curcio points to Piper and Tempo, the two lone freshmen on the roster when he took over the team in 2011, as examples of just how far the program has grown since their ninth-grade year.

“As I grew as a coach, these two grew up with me as players. … They know where it started,” Curcio said.

As the Trojans prepare for their first exhibition game on Wednesday against Ligonier Valley, the competition level has been evident in practice as numerous players are vying for a spot on the varsity team.

“The competitive edge at camp is quite evident,” Curcio said. “Anyone who shows up at camp would see that as soon as you showed up.”

“There's a lot more competition now over the years, a lot more girls have been coming out,” added Piper.

While Curcio and the rest of those within the program are optimistic that the increase in competition will prove to be beneficial, the goal for this season will not revolve around wins and losses as the team continues to build.

“To be honest … we're really not looking at record,” Curcio said. “Would it be nice to win a lot? Yeah, but just based on the last two years we're looking to turn that corner. Everything in our program is definitely growing.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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