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Sun-7 Girls Soccer Preview: Lake Shore looks to reach potential, stay healthy

SOCCER SEASON UNDERWAY — Pictured from above top, Kim Yager of North Collins and Melanie Linsmair (directly above) of Lake Shore look to help their teams have big seasons in 2013. File Photos.

Lake Shore has been looking to take the next step for the program during the past few seasons, but has been slowed by a combination of youthfulness and injuries.

A new season brought new hope that this could be the year Lake Shore breaks out, according to head coach Laurie Schultz. The Eagles won the Dunkirk Tournament, behind a rare 3 – 2 win against Springville, and handled the host team 12 – 1. Lake Shore lost to division power East Aurora in a tight 2 – 0 game.

“The team continues to get stronger, because they’ve been playing together for a while, considering many of them started on the team very young,” Schultz said. “There have been some great highlights already.”

Still a young group, Lake Shore is led by a pair of junior captains and midfielders in Melanie Linsmair and Emily George. Linsmair, the team’s top scorer since her eighth grade season, can also control possession of the ball, while George, who is battled through injuries, has the ability to dominate with her footwork and ability to shoot or pass, according to Schultz.

Linsmair and George combined on all three scores against Springville, while George notched four tallies and Linsmair, 2 goals and two assists, against Dunkirk. Also in that game, sophomore forward Kelsey Eggleston notched 2 goals and three assists and is becoming a team leader, Schultz noted.

Speedy junior forward MaryKatherine Crapsi will help up front, coming off an injury last year, while senior Carley Martin steps in as the starting goalkeeper. Eighth grader Olivia Pericak has been pulled up to the varsity to contribute with her ability to shoot, after playing modified last year. Junior Jessica Losel is one of the leaders on defense.

“We have had two seasons with many injuries, sidelining key players and are looking forward to an injury-free season, so the girls have a chance to play up to their full potential,” said Schultz, whose Lake Shore team finished 7 – 11 and saw its season end in the Class A quarterfinals.

Hamburg ended the Eagles’ season, before falling itself in the semifinals; the team is hoping it can go just as far, if not farther, this year, led by one of the area’s top scorers, Kara Daly. Sophomore Daly already notched 6 goals, during Hamburg’s 3 – 0 start, following a 37-goal season in which she was named Second Team All-Western New York.

“She is a true striker,” said Tom Zugger, who stepped in to head the Bulldogs, with coach Jenny Bagley on maternity leave. “Kara is also a good passer who distributes the ball well.”

The Bulldogs also feature a junior class that includes junior captain Amy Villarini, a speedy center midfielder who can control the game on both sides of the field, Zugger said. A pair of 5-foot-9 juniors, Ashley Kabza is a maintstay in the midfueld and brings a big leg on direct kicks and Jordan Smith is a leader on the defensive end, their coach noted.

Also captains are returning seniors Lexi Higgins at center defender and Jenna Pepper, a midfielder and defender, while classmate Jessie Smith is back after missing last year, due to an ACL tear. Smith, who was a quality goal scorer as a sophomore, has served as an inspiration to her entire team, according to Zugger. Freshman Julia Whipple stepped into the starting goalkeeper role and has already looked like a veteran, Zugger noted.

After struggling in 2012, Frontier continues to be in a rebuilding mode. With the leadership of returning seniors Laura Gartelman, Katie Crewdson and Mollie Kacmarski and the addition of classmate Hannah Lease, new head coach Ron Sporyz said that he hopes to be competitive. Gartelman is Frontier’s top scorer back, as she scored three times in 2012.

Sporyz said he is hopeful the incoming juniors will develop quickly and contribute. He said that he is also excited to have first-year coach Lindsey Guarino working with the junior varsity program and second-year coach Sean Morrissey leading the modified. “They will both contribute greatly to the building of the program,” he noted.

Eden’s 2012 postseason run took the team all the way to the sectional final, but the Raiders return minus most of last year’s starting lineup. Eden has started with a 1 – 2 mark, coming off a 15 – 5 and sectional finalist season.

Eden is without its top five point scorers and starting goalkeeper, among the many gone from last season. Callie Abram is Eden’s top scorer, returning after she put up 5 goals and 14 points, last season. Sierra Puckhaber netted 3 goals. The two are joined by senior defender Jenny Morrow, as captains.

Morgan Keppler is among three freshman on the team, as she returned after playing varsity as an eighth grader. She has scored 2 of the team’s 4 goals so far, this season. Eden also has brought four sophomores to the varsity team.

Also playing for a sectional title last season was North Collins, but the Eagles returned much of that team, as they attempt to return to the championship, where they fell to Ellicottville.

Among eight of 11 returning starters are Emma Kron at forward, Aurora Klawinski in goal and Sam Gier in the midfield. The Eagles will also be led by senior captains Kylie Mathis, Sam Motak, Taren Mancuso, and Molly Spengler. Rhianna Renaldo and Kim Yager should also help offensively up front. On defense, Sam Motak and newcomer Richelle Cyrek will look to help shut down opponents. Allie Moritz and Kaila Jimerson should also contribute, according to head coach Tim Flanagan.

With the new format of the CCAA, pitting teams within the closest proximity of each other in the three divisions, North Collins will be up against old rivals such as West Valley and Panama, but also some new ones and bigger schools.

These ladies have the expectations to “have a breakthrough season and help establish North Collins as a true Section VI title contender,” the second-year head coach noted. “Unlike last year’s team which lost leadership due to the departure of eight starting seniors, this squad boasts five seniors and six juniors, all of whom are ready to lead.”

Also aiding the program is the re-establishment of the junior varsity, which will be coached by Robyn Turner.

Immaculata also comes off a season in which it advanced the league finals, after the Bears earned an upset in the Monsignor Martin semifinals. Immaculata returns, having graduated only three of its seniors.

Among the team’s senior leaders, Emma Lipinski will lead the defense and Monica Schaffstall guides the Bears in the midfield. Joining Lipinski on a strong backline is sophomore Alyssa Choboy, who assistant coach Matthew Gorny said will also be relied upon for her leadership.

Gorny said the Bears are hoping for some quality finishing up front from senior Stephanie Busha and sophomore Kristen Kline. Freshman Kiley Austin has stepped into a starting role as a center midfielder.

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