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Veterans hope to guide Penn-Trafford girls to section crown
Penn Trafford Star - 9/1/2017
For some girls soccer teams, winning 15 games and reaching the WPIAL quarterfinals is a successful season.
The Penn-Trafford girls soccer team felt a bit disappointed with those results last year.
“I know we didn’t make it as far as we’d have liked to,” senior Brady Tramuta said. “Everyone has the same mindset. We want to do better than last year and feel like this is our time.”
The Warriors return nine starters from a team that went 15-4-1 and reached the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Penn-Trafford returns a core of veterans who could make the team’s attack lethal. Seniors Mackenzie Aunkst (West Virginia), Hannah Nguyen (Duquesne), Lauren Stovar (Army) and Tramuta (Seton Hill) should all cause problems for opposing goalkeepers.
Junior Kiley Dugan (Valparaiso) also will be a key contributor.
Aunkst, Stovar and Nguyen were all-section selections last season. Tramuta was an honorable mention.
The Warriors scored at least four goals in eight games last year.
“We are a tight-knit team,” Nguyen said. “We do a lot of stuff together off the field, and that really helps the chemistry.”
The Warriors expect junior Erin Brady, who is coming off a sophomore season hindered by an injury, and sophomore Sarah Nguyen to apply pressure on defense.
The team will have two options in front of the net — senior Victoria Anderson and sophomore Megan Geisey. Both saw the field last season as the team had 10 shutouts.
“There is competition for playing time there,” Penn-Trafford coach Jackie Bartko said. “That is always a good thing. They push each other to do better.”
Bartko said there are a number of sophomores who could see extended roles this season, an exciting development that will help build for the program’s future.
“We have an awesome group of sophomores,” Bartko said. “I am looking forward to seeing them step up for varsity time. We also have some juniors stepping up, but just not as many. I am ready to see what they can do for us this year.”
Penn-Trafford will look to climb to the top of the Section 4-AAAA standings this season. Kiski Area and Hempfield should both be tough opponents, but the Warriors’ greatest challenge will be rival Norwin, which is ranked No. 2 nationally by Top Drawer Soccer.
“That is always the biggest game,” Tramuta said. “It usually decides the section. Our seniors and their seniors grew up playing together. It is always a good game.”
The Knights have dominated the series recently — Norwin has gone 5-0-1 in the last six meetings. If Penn-Trafford can top its longtime nemesis, it could claim its first section title since 2013.
“We first want to win the section,” Hannah Nguyen said. “For us seniors, we want to have the best year possible since it is the last year playing together. It starts with winning the section and goes on from there.”
Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.