MCS girls look to improve goal-scoring for soccer success

By John Bernhardt
Like a master woodworker, Margaretville girls’ soccer coach Toni Smith is searching for the finishing touches her team needs to produce a polished product.

Last fall, Smith’s Blue Devils finished 5-9 but eight of Margaretville’s nine losses were by a single goal. With several key players returning, Smith is confident her team can compete with anybody. The key to the Blue Devils’ season will be their ability to finish promising offensive chances with scores.

Smith will be banking heavily on the play of senior Amy Filupeit and junior Tess Svoboda toward those ends. Svoboda led the team with 12 goals last year. Filupeit found the nets eight times. Beyond that, no Blue Devils scored more than one goal. “If Amy and Tess can continue to grow their scoring output, and we can find four or five other girls to each score a handful of goals, we’ll contend,” predicted Smith.

In Svoboda, Smith has a forward who can beat a defender, direct accurate crosses across the field, and put the ball in the net. Filupeit patrolled the midfield last year but showed the flexibility to move forward and give her team an offensive boost.

Underclassmen help
Ironically, Smith may be looking toward three underclassmen to solve the Blue Devils’ finishing woes. Sophomore Cecilia Galatioto has the raw ability and potential to be a potent center striker. Galatioto flashes strong foot skills and unleashes a powerful shot with good accuracy. The quality of the sophomore’s play will depend on her physical readiness and how quickly she adapts to varsity play.

Two freshmen Elia Tanzer and Cora Bruno show glimpses of the finishing touches Smith is seeking. Tanzer has excellent foot skills and will find her place somewhere on the forward line. Bruno is a hard worker with solid offensive skills and compliments Tanzer’s play around the goal.

Sophomore twin sisters, Rain and Simone Stegemoller could be pieces of the Margaretville offensive puzzle. Both performed well on the modified team last year on the forward line. Strong runners, both attended soccer camp this summer and have looked good in the preseason.

Smith is excited that senior Danielle Hull will be returning. Hull missed the entire season last fall with a knee injury, forcing the Blue Devils to realign their defensive formation. Hull played stopper as a sophomore and will most likely play this year as the stopper or sweeper.

Hoping to be strong up the middle, Smith will look to junior Kellsey Buerge to join Hull as a middle defender. Buerge replaced Hull as a stopper last year and is a tough and aggressive defender.

Seniors lead defense
Two seniors, Patience Misner and Sarah Hagatore could strengthen the defense on the outside. Smith is looking for big things from Misner who was new to the game last season but learns quickly.

Misner attended summer camp and has a strong left foot. Hagatore provided depth on the defensive line last season, is versatile and could see some time this fall as a forward.

Junior Raeann Bond is a mainstay in the midfield. A starter last year, Bond reads the field well and has an excellent sense of play. “Rachel sets up great combinations and overlaps,” praised Smith.
Senior Luz Camano played for the first time last season, but Smith is excited about her potential. “Luz is a great runner and learns fast. She could provide relief in the midfield.”

A versatile player, Junior Rachel Mathiesen played on the forward line last year. Mathiesen’s speed and athleticism may help this year’s team more on the defensive end of the field. Another junior, Alexis Molnar provided offensive support last season. This fall, Molnar, too, might be called on to help fortify the Blue Devils defensive depth.

Goaltending experience
Megan McKenna returns for her third season in the Blue Devils’ goal. McKenna has shown flashes of brilliant play in the nets. Smith believes her junior goalie can be dynamic and is looking for

McKenna to become more of a commander on defense. Sophomore Heather Brewer is the backup goalie.

Three sophomores are newcomers. Chelsea Shultis hasn’t played since seventh grade and is in a learning mode. Kaitlyn Short and Tiffany Nobile are up from last year’s modified team and are playing at the varsity level for the first time.

“Last year we played both Delaware League Division champs to one-goal games. We lost 1-0 in the sectionals to the top-seeded team Cherry Valley,” reminded Smith. “It’s not about who we play, it’s about how we play, especially how we finish,” concluded Smith.

If Smith’s Blue Devils can polish their game around the offensive goal there could be a happily ever ending the MCS girls’ soccer story this fall.