BROCKWAY — The Brockway High School girls’ soccer team has taken plenty of steps over the past few years, but this season may be a chance for it to take its biggest.
The Lady Rovers, who have captured the District 9 Class A title two of the past three years, steamrolled through the regular season and district playoffs without a loss before falling to Bentworth, 5-2, in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs.
Still, with nine returning starters and a host of letterwinners, Brockway has its sights set a little higher this year.
“I know that the girls would definitely like to repeat last year and bring home another D-9 title,” Brockway head coach Jessica Leadbetter said. “However, I know that they really want to step it up and take the team to the next level and make it through at least the first round of PIAA games. This is a talented team that continues to succeed and do things that previous teams haven’t been able to do. And, I know that this year won’t be any different.”
A big reason for the Lady Rovers’ success has been the play of senior Chanell Britten who has terrorized opposing goalies throughout her career.
Britten has been so proficient that she finds herself on the brink of becoming the all-time leading scorer –boys’ or girls’, in school history.
But, it’s not really a topic of conversation around the team.
“We don’t talk about (it),” Leadbetter said. “Her coaches, fans and teammates all realize that it’s a possibility. However, we don’t focus on that. Chanell, along with many others would love for that to happen, but she’s also a great team leader and looks to contribute to the team in any way that she can –whether it be scoring goals, creating scoring opportunities and assists or even dropping back to play midfield. Chanell’s a very versatile player and her teammates look to her for leadership, guidance and support.”
In fact, the Lady Rovers feel that Britten’s ability to draw attention from the opposing defense is just as important to their success.
“We have many other players that are very capable of scoring and other teams know that,” Leadbetter said. “It makes sense to mark Chanell and we see that frequently. However, having so many other scoring chances for the rest of the team adds to the overall goal scoring and makes it more difficult for other teams to stop our offense.”
With all the returners and letterwinners, Brockway will certainly get an opportunity to get a lot of players onto the field.
Joining Britten up front will be seniors Morrigan Decker and Katie McMeekin, junior Morgan Lindemuth, sophomores Danielle Wood and Rylee Welsh and freshman Amanda Decker.
McMeekin and Welsh will also see time in the midfield along with seniors Emily Botwright, Taylor Little, Emma Cavalline, juniors Lily Sysko, Brianna Thomas sophomores Madalynne Heckman, Nikki Jamison and Lexi Allen and freshman Emily Michalski.
In the back, Jamison, Sysko, Little, Cavalline, Thomas, Allen and Michalski will vie for time with senior Kayla Jamison, junior Delaney Wineberg and sophomore Morgan Carnahan.
Senior Mackenzie Overbeck, Thomas and Wood are likely to see time in goal.
Brockway will open the season on the road against Clarion Tuesday.
Seniors: Morrigan Decker, Mackenzie Overbeck, Emily Botwright, Katie McMeekin, Taylor Little, Chanell Britten, Kayla Jamison, Emma Cavalline. Juniors: Lily Sysko, Delaney Wineberg, Morgan Lindemuth, Brianna Thomas, Rylee Welsh. Sophomores: Danielle Wood, Madalynne Heckman, Lexi Allen, Nikki Jamison, Morgan Carnahan. Freshmen: Amanda Decker, Emily Michalski.