BROOKVILLE — It’s the start of a new run for the Brookville Lady Raiders soccer team, led by new head coach Kaitlyn Hill.
The 2011 BAHS graduate was hired in February, replacing Matt Kramer who directed the team the previous three seasons including an 8-10-1 season last fall that ended with a loss to Elk County Catholic in the first round of the District 9 Class 1A playoffs.
Hill has some familiar faces on the coaching staff, including former Lady Raiders in sister Madison, Alyssa (Byerly) Heschke, Markelle Matthews and her father Jim, an assistant coach under Chip Mason.
They’ll be working with a 22-player roster, many of whom spent quality time in the offseason working with their new coaching staff.
“It was huge. I got to know the girls and they got to know my coaching style. It was relaxed, but they were able to pick up on that,” Hill said. “It was nice for those who did play, they were able to start with a fresh slate.”
It started the fall preseason off on the right foot.
“They’re hard workers,” Hill added. “They’re definitely dedicated to soccer, which is awesome, because you don’t always see that coming in. Especially coming off a summer, it’s hard to transition into a sport. They’ve been pushing themselves, we’re doing a lot of conditioning and I think we’re prepared for the season.”
Senior Jillian Taylor is the team’s returning all-conference performer, anchoring the team’s defense back wall at sweeper. She’ll be joined by fellow senior Cassidy Kemmer, and juniors Megan Mealy and Kara Foster.
“We have a solid center of the field and I’m looking for Jillian to lead the team along with Madisyn (Wolfe) and Cassidy. They seem to be the ones with the most experience,” Hill said. “In our midfield with juniors Sara (Muders) and Hannah (Peterson) and up front with (junior) Emily Kramer, along with some of the younger girls.”
The defense teams up with sophomore Avery Gilhousen, who takes over goalkeeping duties. She’ll be backed up by freshman Ella Zimmerman, who will also see time on defense with seniors Autumn Blommen, Payton Brosius and Ashlynn Ross.
Wolfe and Peterson, who could also move back to a defensive spot, anchors the midfield along with Muders. Junior Ruth Askey and freshman Alayna Haight could play a similar offense/defense role as well while junior Madison McAninch returns up front at a forward spot, helping lead the team’s goal-scoring efforts.
Kramer, sophomore Lani Songer, and freshmen Laynee Sorbin and Leila Heagy will also see time up front at the forward spots.
Hill’s squad, who scrimmaged Ridgway at home Tuesday, officially opens the season at the West Branch Tournament Saturday. Next Wednesday, the Lady Raiders host Punxsutawney.
Seniors: Jillian Taylor, Madisyn Wolfe, Ashlyn Ross, Cassidy Kemmer, Autumn Blommen, Payton Brosius.
Juniors: Madison McAninch, Megan Mealy, Hannah Peterson, Sara Muders, Kara Foster, Emily Kramer, Ruth Askey.
Sophomores: Avery Gilhousen, Lani Songer.
Freshmen: Laynee Sorbin, Ella Zimmerman, Alayna Haight, Leila Heagy, Rebekah Askey.
1-At West Branch Tournament, 9 a.m.; 5-Punxsutawney; 6-at Brockway, 5 p.m.; 10-at Punxsutawney; 12-at DuBois CC; 15-Clearfield, 10 a.m.; 17-Brockway; 20-St. Marys, 7 p.m.; 25-at Elk Co. Catholic; 27-DuBois CC
1-at DuBois, 5 p.m.; 3-at Clarion, 6:30 p.m.; 4-Curwensville
8-Redbank Valley, 5 p.m.
13-at Curwensville, 11 a.m.
15-at Forest Area
16-Elk Co. Catholic, 7 p.m.
Games begin at 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted.