McKeesport, Pa. - Behind the leadership of a new coaching staff, the Penn State Greater Allegheny women's soccer team looks forward to taking steps in the right direction to prepare for the 2014-15 season.
Amanda Baldinger takes the step from assistant to head coach this year to take the helm of the Greater Allegheny Lions. She welcomes fellow Bethany alumni Missy Baldwin as her assistant to the second-year program.
"I am really excited to begin the season with the knowledge and talent Missy and I have to bring to the table. This is an entirely new team with a new mindset and skill set and we are very eager for the season opener," said Baldinger.
Returning in the backfield are sophomore veterans Rachel Ramsey (North Versailles, Pa./East Allegheny), Taylor Bayes (Grove City, Ohio/Grove City) and senior Victoria Benedetto (Brick, N.J./Brick Township). All three contributed in atleast nine of the ten contests played last season.
Alongside the driven returners, the defense welcomes newcomers sophomore Weslee Bivens (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy), sophomore Marina Rinaldi (Philadelphia, Pa./Philadelphia HS for Girls) and freshman Jeherrah Barnes (Philadelphia, Pa./Mastbaum AVTS).
Sophomore midfielders Melissa Loftus (Oxford, Pa./Oxford) and Kristina Dague (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) both return as goal scorers in last seasons action. They are joined by sophomore leaders Betel Gebre (Stone Mountain, Ga./Tucker) and Hema Neupane (Nepal/Baldwin) who look to contribute in more playing time this season.
The Lions attack will be lead by freshman Antoinette Gordy-Smith (Philadelphia, Pa./Mastbaum AVTS) alongside Bob.
"We have full confidence in both Jen and Rachael's abilities in net. Coming from local high schools has shown us a level of competition that creates opportunity and allows for growth throughout the upcoming season," said Baldwin.
"As a whole, our team makes strides daily in becoming a more technically sound team. The work ethic and commitment they have shown in pre-season sets the tone moving forward. Our student-athletes have the opportunity to make a significant impact on this up-and-coming program."
Greater Allegheny looks to open their season at Francis McClure Middle School in White Oak on September 6th. Kick-off against Westmoreland County Community College is set for 12 p.m.