Girls split recent games
The Northampton girls varsity soccer team split their scheduled games this week with a 6-0 win against East Stroudsburg on Friday and a 2-0 loss to Whitehall on Monday.
Despite the recent loss, the team stands at 8-4-1 overall, and according to head coach Chaz Saul, “they have come a long way since last year.”
The turnabout of this relatively young team with only six senior players on the roster was spurred by two factors. The first is, as Saul said, “finding their offense.”
In his second season coaching Northampton, Saul and team spent much of the 2017 season focused on the offense and ensuring that the team was scoring goals.
The second key to a successful season for the team has been the players. In regard to scoring goals, one team member stands among the best, not just for the Northampton team but across the Lehigh Valley. Sophomore Abbi Czarnecki has scored a total of 10 goals this year with 21 total points to her credit. She is listed among the top scorers in the Lehigh Valley, and according to Saul, “overall she has really helped our ability to focus on offense.”
Czarnecki is not the only player making a difference this year, junior Rachel Apsley took on the challenge of the center defenseman spot despite never playing defense before.
“From the first time playing [defense], she has been phenomenal,” said Saul.
Thinking back through the season so far, Saul admits it has been the versatility of one player that has really helped the entire team. Senior Domenica Lerch has been a strong all-around player for Northampton this year. When talking about Lerch’s role on the team, he jokes, “Where haven’t we played her?”
From the forward spots to midfield positions one role is a constant for Lerch.
“If there is a player on the other team that we know we need to shut down, Domenica will be in that player’s part of the field,” Saul said.
The girls wrap up their season after just four more games. The team is teetering on the verge of a district playoff spot as just one win or tie would secure the team a spot. While the remaining schedule is tough for the Northampton team, the suggestion of playoffs is still a big motivator for the team and a great achievement.
“It’s been several years since we’ve been in a position to talk about playoffs or be listed among the top teams in the valley,” Saul said.
Knowing how far the team has come and the potential that still lies ahead for the squad is its own special reward.