McKeesport, Pa. - Under second-year head coach Amanda Baldinger, the 2015-16 Penn State Greater Allegheny women's soccer team is ready for their first season among the Penn State University Athletic Conference and restless to make a name for themselves.
"We have a strong group of returning student-athletes who build the backbone of the GA women's soccer team," said Baldinger. "The group of returners are accompanied by a healthy group of fresh faces, eager to make their presence known."
Baldinger comes off a season which ended by a 3-6 record, winning two games over the lone Penn State University Athletic Conference opponent, Penn State Beaver.
"We are really looking forward to this season, as we are finally among a few other teams in the PSUAC to create a conference championship. With this being our third year in action, we are finally creating the opportunity to be a successful program and be a true contender for the Penn State University Athletic Conference Championship title."
The goalie slots are filled by veteran keepers, and high school rivals, sophomore Rachael Maiden (Pittsburgh, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) and sophomore Jen Keefer (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward). "It is an enjoyable chemistry between the two of the keepers, pushing each other to do better. They are both experienced, solid players who are knowledgable not only in net, but also on the field," said coach Baldinger.
"Defensively we will be tough. Sophomore Kelly Moore (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) and junior Kristina Dague (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) will provide experience to command the backfield as incoming junior Jess Manfredi (Pittsburgh, Pa./Serra Catholic) and freshman Puspa Nepal (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) are anxious to get their time on the field."
"Our midfield will be very strong this year as we have veterans such as junior Melissa Loftus (Oxford, Pa./Oxford), sophomore Albree Weisen (Pittsburgh, Pa./Carrick), sophomore Kaylin Bob (Riverdale, Ga./Forest Park), and sophomore Lauren Antosik (McKeesport, Pa./Oakland Catholic). With their experience through the years, I am positive they will support their team not only on the field, but off the field as well."
Alongside the driven returning midfielders stand freshman Emily Rojas (West Mifflin, Pa./West Mifflin), sophomore Danijela Juric (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin), junior Aubrey Wilson-Tucker (North Versailles, Pa./East Allegheny), freshman Gaby Selmi (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Owen-Withee), and freshman Amrita Chhetri (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brashear).
The Lion attack will be led by second-year player sophomore Antoinette Gordy-Smith (Philadelphia, Pa./Mastbaum AVTS) and sophomore Jeherrah Barnes (Philadelphia, Pa./Mastbaum AVTS). "The ladies are becoming smarter, stronger players that are ready for their chance to connect with the net. I look forward to what these ladies can do."
"As a group, our team makes strides day in and day out in becoming a more technically sound team. The work ethic, time and dedication each one of these girls have shown through the past few weeks sets the tone moving forward. Our student-athletes have the opportunity to make a significant impact in this up-and-coming conference and I truly look forward to the outcome."
Greater Allegheny looks to kick-off their season in a scrimmage against La Roche on Thursday, August 27th. The contest is scheduled for 5 p.m.