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Rebuilding Eden girls soccer wins playoff game

Last year, at this time, the Eden girls soccer team was making its Cinderella-like run in the Section B Playoffs.

Fast-forward to today and the team is trying to do the same, without 11 players that took part in last year’s run.

Head coach Jill Keller has her team into the second round of the playoffs after a 10 – 0 first round win against Lackawanna Oct. 21.

With 10 goals being an anomaly this year for the Raiders, they have been searching for the scoring they lost from last year’s team. Seeded ninth a season ago, Eden lost to Akron, the sixth seed, 4 – 1, during the sectional final after a storybook run throughout the playoffs. Eden entered the playoffs with a 15 – 4 overall record.

This year’s team, which went 4 – 8 – 2 in the regular season, is trying to replace five players named to either the first or second All-Erie County Interscholastic Conference IV teams from a season ago. Catherine Mammoser, Hanna Zittel and Emily Carias were members of the first team, while Courtney Cross and Alicia Roistacher were named to the second team.

With those players gone, a new core group is leading the way this year. Keller said that it has taken time for her team to gel. Most players from last year’s team had been together since ninth grade.

“By the time they were seniors, that was when everything just fell into place,” she said.

The 2013 Raiders team returned six players. It took time to build the team Keller had last year and she said that it does not happen overnight.

“It’s been a learning year for a lot of the girls,” Keller said. “We lost everybody [from last year], so we’ve had to make adjustments in how we play.”

Senior captain Jenny Morrow picked up 3 goals and three assists in her team’s first round win, which upped her team-high goal total to eight on the season, as well as her point total to 21. Morrow, Sierra Puckhaber and Callie Abram are all captains of the team and are seniors with multiple years of varsity experience.

Keller said her captains are scrappy players who are not afraid to do anything for the team to win, including playing multiple positions on the field. Abram is a motivator who learned a lot from the seniors last year, Keller said. “She’s got a spark that can get [the team] going,” Keller added.

Puckhaber and freshman Morgan Keppler are tied for second on the team with 5 goals each, while the senior has added four assists, as well.

The first round win sets up a rematch with Akron in the second round set for Oct. 23. Akron is seeded fourth, with an overall record of 13 – 2 – 1. Keller said that she has a message for her team heading into a game, against an opponent that hasn’t lost many players from the championship group of last season.

“We’re just going to go in and play our absolute hardest,” Keller said. “I told them, ‘As long as you play hard and do the best you can.’”

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