Ligonier Valley girls posted record-breaking season
A record-breaking season for the Ligonier Valley girls soccer team ended with a shocking loss that put a halt to a magical season.
A season filled with so much promise and prospects of a deep run into the state playoffs ended with a District 6 Class AA quarterfinal loss to Somerset earlier this month.
After trailing 3-1 at halftime, the Rams were able to tie the game at 4-4 with three goals from senior Maddy Grimm. But, the Rams weren't able to complete the comeback after Somerset scored with less than two minutes remaining to secure the victory.
“The second half was like the end of a Disney movie,” coach Eric Vogelsang said. “Everything went well, we got all the bounces, it seemed like destiny that we'd get that final goal. But, we didn't get the Disney ending.”
Grimm, one of the four captains on the team, wasn't worried about performing in the playoffs. But, in retrospect, with back-to-back losses to North Star and Berlin, she didn't think the group finished the regular season strong.
“I was kind of concerned about the game,” Grimm said. “We weren't coming into the game with a lot of momentum. In the games leading up, we had a some shaky first halves.”
The Rams started the season slow with three consecutive losses, two of which were scrimmages, where they were outscored 15-4. Immediately, Vogelsang noticed he needed to address the team and his captains in order to right the ship.
“After we lost our second scrimmage, I had a really productive discussion with my four captains and we all talked about some things we needed to change and some things we needed to stick with,” he said.
With renewed leadership, the Rams won 13 straight games, including one forfeit, and rewrote the record book at Ligonier Valley (13-4-1).
Offensively, Grimm scored 46 goals, a new school record that surpassed Emily Daugherty's 41-goal total in 2009. Grimm, who will play softball at Kent State next season, finished her Ligonier Valley career with 112 goals.
Statistically, Grimm had her best game against West Branch, when she scored five goals and two assists. Grimm also scored four goals against Conemaugh Township and Derry.
“Four to five times a week every week she'll do things so incredible that I just shake my head and tell whoever will listen than I'm just glad she's on my side,” Vogelsang said. “Maddy was admired by all of her teammates, and she will leave a lasting legacy on this program. All 27 of the returning girls looked up to her and I know will want to continue the tradition and legacy she's started.”
Junior Nikki Davis was another key part of Ligonier Valley's offense that set the school record with 94 goals. Davis recorded a single-season record 27 assists for the Rams, along with 17 goals.
Certainly, the coach of the record-setting team was excited to see his players succeeding on the field. But, most importantly, the coach was pleased with the way they handled their success.
“We went through an entire season without a single yellow or red card,” Vogelsang said. “We were good sports and hard workers in everything we did.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.