Boyertown girls soccer team ready to three-peat

Boyertown's Maddie Balga, left, and Owen J. Roberts' Emilie Kupsov battle for possession Monday night. (Photo by Tom Kelly III)

The Boyertown High girls’ soccer team has won back-to-back PAC-10 titles, including a 1-0 on penalty kicks last year against Owen J. Roberts at Coach McNealy Stadium in Royersford. The girls’ soccer team has made the district playoffs, but has yet to reach their goal of making the state playoffs.

It took the Lady Bears some time to get the monkey off their back, winning their first PAC-10 title a few years ago. He’ll be the first to tell you that he has had great kids and great student athletes. Being able to win back-to-back titles (three of the last four) was a great feeling. He’ll be the first to tell you that winning never gets old and success never gets old. “It says something about the program and the people in it,” said Goddard.

“I can’t even describe it” said senior Emily Diehl. “We’ve worked hard every day in practicefor it.”

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“It feels really good,” said Jill Bertino. “I was on the JV team the first year and being able to be part of the team and play in the game was great last year.”

So far this year, things are looking good. The team has 10 seniors, six juniors and three sophomores that all have seen playing time last year.

“We have a good group of kids,” said Goddard. “We have experience back, and we have a good mix of juniors and sophomores.”

The pressure of being the two-time defending champs and knowing that everyone in the league is gunning for you is tough. Diehl feels that the pressure, but that makes them even better.

The team is returning three of its four defeneders in Courtney Goddard, Ashley Becker and Maria Valenti.

Other seniors on the team are, Maddy Balga, Jill Bertino, Lily Fanock, Megan, Emily Diehl, Taylor Haltman and Emily Saxson.

Goddard is looking for them to bring experience to each game. They’ve been through the battles and they know what to expect in the games. “They know what’s expected of them and what has to be done with their experience,” said Goddard.

Also returning are juniors Darien Ruyak, Hannah Schell, Megan Chriswell Leah Eble, Oliva Fraiser, Casey Sheahan. He’s looking for the juniors to gain experience and understand what has to be done.

Sophomores returning are Saraphina Valenti, and Maria Garafola.

“Maria and Saraphina were starters last year, and were a very important part of what we did,” said Goddard. “They picked up quickly what were doing and the team benefited.” Taylor Sassaman was a JV player and could possibly start at midfield. She will give them much-needed depth.

“Saraphia Valenti handled the pressure of a freshman goalie, especially in the PAC-10 championship game which came down to penalty kicks. Goddard saw her handle the pressure all year. As a freshman she was thrown into the battle and everybody saw her grow up quickly.

“She responded very well,” said Goddard. “She wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressurewithout the players she had in front of her. She was wise enough to know that she couldn’t do it on her own.”

The expectations for the team never change from year to year. They want to play well enough to make the PAC-10 playoffs, and go further in districts than the year before. The team also is looking to qualify for the state tournament. “We have high goals and standards,” said Goddard.

Goddard feels that these are reachable goals, especially considering the experience they have back for this year. He feels that the younger players will be able to fill the holes and contribute. This team is talented and deep. Another PAC-10 title is certainly within their grasp.

“Anything less than reaching our goals would be a disappointment to the girls and the program,” said Goddard. “It would be really cool to move on, especially considering we haven’t made it past the second round of districts,” said Bertino. “It would be nice to get further than usual.”

Goddard knows that the competition in the PAC-10 is improving every year. The team will have to work for its wins. He feels that they can be in the thick of things, but they need to stay healthy and continue to improve. However, according to Goddard staying healthy is the biggest thing.

“We don’t take any teams for granted. We have to be on top of our game every day,” said Goddard. “People would love to knock us off and we have to be at our best. The league is competitive year-in and year-out. Coaches are better, players are better and teams are better.”

“We have a really challenging games against certain teams,” said Bertino. “It’s going to be a good season.”

Coach Goddard added one last thought. “I enjoy coaching at Boyertown every year,” said Goddard. We have quality student athletes that bring their very best every day. They represent themselves, this program, the school and their community, and do it with the upmost respect.”