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Girls soccer must replace top scorers

The Northwestern girls soccer team was a defense-oriented team last season and that figures to be the formula for success again in 2022.

Northwestern Lehigh scored 61 goals last season and lost 41 of those goals to graduation, including Olivia and Sophia Motolese, who combined for 20 goals between them.

Of the returning defensive players, junior defender/midfielder Camryn Fitch is going to be a key, as is sophomore Brook Balliet, who put on a good display last season as a freshman. Another mainstay of last year’s defense was goalie Naomi Glassberg, who will be back for her senior season this year. Glassberg notched 18 shutouts and the team allowed just six goals all season in 23 games.

Coming into the season, Glassberg is excited about the prospects for another big season for the defense even though there will be some new players filling roles.

“I like what I have seen from the girls this summer and in camp early on this year,” said Glassberg. “We have all been working hard and the chemistry is good. We have young players that are fitting in well with the rest of us, so I think we are going to be pretty good defensively again.”

While most players would be happy with shutouts in 18 games and only six goals allowed as a team, Glassberg has set goals to be even better this season.

“Personally, I would like to beat my record of 18 shutouts,” admitted Glassberg. “That’s going to be tough to do, but I would rather have something to reach for than just do what we did last year.”

Of the returning goal scorers, Fitch was the leader from last season with seven goals and three assists for the Lady Tigers. Junior Quinn Conrey had three goals and an assist for the team. Both are going to be looked at to provide more offense as the team looks to find those extra goals that they lost to graduation.

Returning midfielder Samantha Bardonner contributed with two goals and four assists and figures to be more involved in the offensive attach through the midfield.

Tiger head coach Jordan Smith took over the team last season and went 11-0-1 in the Colonial League and 20-2-1 overall.

The Tigers won both the Colonial League and District 11 Class 3A championships to repeat their performance from the previous season.

Just as it was in the regular season, it was defense that ruled the day in the postseason as Northwestern beat Southern Lehigh 2-0 in the league tournament and downed Pottsville 1-0 in districts.

“We had a strong foundation from before and being an assistant coach with the team, I had a good feel for what the girls could do last season,” said Smith about his foray into the coaching ranks. “This season will be more of a challenge simply because there are going to be several changes that we will have to make because of how many girls we lost.

“We do have younger players that had playing time last season and are ready to play at the varsity level, so that helps.”

The 2022 Northwestern Lehigh girls soccer team. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ