Girls soccer team has strong foundation returning for 2021
When next year rolls around, the Whitehall girls soccer team will have a strong foundation on which to build, thanks to a solid returning class that gained valuable experience this season.
In a challenging season that was put on hold almost as soon as it began, head coach Chris Bleam’s team emerged from the recently completed year with a lot of positives which to build upon, and foremost among those was the development of his young players.
The Zephyrs were fielding a very young team, one in which featured 14 freshmen and sophomores, with many of those players sliding into starting spots.
That group played competitively all season, learning the varsity ropes from seniors Elissar Khalil and Abigail Vivian who helped guide the newcomers through their inaugural campaign.
After their first loss, a 10-0 blanking by Parkland, the Zephyrs steadily kept getting better. They played the Trojans two weeks later, and in the rematch the margin of victory for the 2020 district champs was just four.
They were within striking distance in their two matches against Allentown Central Catholic, losing both contests by a goal. They were also competitive in both matches against Emmaus, tying the first match 0-0, and losing 2-0 in the rematch.
Together they made it to the district playoffs, with the opening round match coming down to penalty kicks against Northampton. They lost 2-1, ending their season, but the strides they made were evident.
“I thought they grew tremendously throughout the season,” said Bleam.
He believed that they achieved as much as they could, a testament to their willingness to work. It bore fruit in how much progress they made over the course of the season.
“I was extremely pleased with their development,” said Bleam.
They ended the season 6-7-1 and will now look toward next season.
While they’ll lose two cornerstone pieces in forward Elissar Khalil and center back Abigail Vivian, they’ll still have a strong nucleus. They return leading goal scorer Alyssa Marsteller (10 goals), along with fellow two-year starter Mackenzie Gomez (6 goals), another midfielder who will give them strength up the middle.
Those two returnees represent two of the top five scores from this season, with Marsteller’s 10 goals leading the pack. Aside from Khalil, the others who were among the top five were Ava Wells (6 goals) and Isabella Fonzone, underscoring the firepower returning for the maroon and gold.
They also return another starter from the previous two seasons in defender Celeste Yunes-Cosme.
The list of contributors from this season is long and includes Alexandra Nikolaychuk, Aubrey Vivian, Mia Due, Olivia Mrazik, Sophia Mrazik, Jennifer Rodriguez, Ella Webber, Erika Rape and Kate Yadush.
They’ll also return goalkeepers Samantha Kern and Kayleigh Fisher. Kern got her feet wet this season, recording four shutouts in her freshman campaign.
With all those players gaining experience this year, that will give them a big boost when they hit the field to begin the 2021 season.