Sewickley Academy girls chasing 9th straight playoff berth
The Sewickley Academy girls soccer team is rebuilding and faces an uphill battle for its ninth straight WPIAL playoff appearance.
Only four starters return from a squad that reached the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals last fall.
Seniors Grace Guerin and Amalea George are defenders, and juniors Olivia Ryder and Cameron Ivy are offensive performers.
A forward, Ryder led the Panthers with 10 goals and two assists last season.
Eve Matten, who had a team-high seven assists and scored three game-winning goals, graduated.
Sophomore Theresa Wilson will take over at goalkeeper after backing up Mackenzie Coles, who now plays for Duke.
“We have a very strong sophomore class that got a lot of playing time last year and are poised to take over big roles,” Panthers coach Jessica Peluso said.
The Panthers moved to Section 4-A, where their opponents will be Carlynton, Eden Christian, Ellis, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and South Side Beaver.
Their first section contest will be Sept. 12 at Carlynton.
George, 17, of Mars likes being an underdog.
“(We're working) hard to surprise people,” she said.
Quaker Valley will have a new look under first-year coach Jamie Birmingham after losing a large number of players.
Among the losses was Moriah Wigley, a four-year offensive standout who plays for Towson.
Senior Rachel Bould, junior Annie Luptak and sophomores Katherine Blaugrund and Grace Wirth are returning field players.
Senior Maggie Dobbins is back in goal after posting four shutouts last season.
Senior Isabella Brown joins the team after shining in cross country.
The Quakers are new to Section 1-AA, which includes Avonworth, Beaver, Freedom, Keystone Oaks, South Allegheny and Steel Valley.
They entertain Keystone Oaks on Sept. 7 after playing in a tournament at South Fayette this weekend.
“(We) expect to have a decent season,” said Bould, 17, of Sewickley, a Central Michigan lacrosse recruit.
Quaker Valley last made the WPIAL playoffs in 2013.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.