Girls' Soccer Notebook: Vol. 3

By Alex Frazier

Highlighting…Brooke Edwards
You won’t find Harry S Truman’s Brooke Edwards hanging out.
It’s not in her nature.
“I hate sitting still,” she said. “I don’t know what to do with myself.”
A quick rundown of her activities will attest to that: varsity soccer, Varsity Club, school play, varsity tennis, summer basketball, summer soccer, and academics.
Get the picture?
And that’s just the stuff she’s involved in recently. You can also add basketball and field hockey to the list of former activities.
“By being so involved with school and other things, it keeps my grades up,” she said. “By having so much to do, I’m more organized. When you have so much to cram into a certain amount, it’s so much easier for me.”
Since starting soccer at the age of five at Hulmeville, Edwards has made the circuit of three different clubs before returning to Hulmeville. But no sooner did she return than the team moved to the Philly Soccer Club.
Edwards’ middle school didn’t have girls’ soccer, so she went out for the boys’ team.
When she graduated to high school and girls’ soccer was played in the spring, she took up field hockey.
“I wanted something to keep me busy so I wouldn’t get out of shape for soccer,” she said.
When soccer rolled around in the spring, she had to adjust to a whole new set of teammates, very few of whom she knew, especially since she was the lone freshman on the varsity.
She started out playing defense.
“I had to meet all these new people I didn’t go to school with and form a bond with them so I could play on the field with them,” she said. “I had seen them around because I played travel ball, but I wasn’t friends with them, and we couldn’t talk about the same things.”
Her sophomore year was a lot easier.
She started at center back and then was moved up to halfback.
“I came out of my shell and talked more,” she said.
As a junior, she was moved to forward, where she scored seven goals. She was one of only two Truman players to make all-league (second team).
In the fall of her senior year, she decided to drop hockey, even though she had been a junior captain, and play tennis.
“It wasn’t fun for me anymore,” she said about her hockey experience.
As you might suspect, she made the varsity tennis team, having never played competitively before, at third doubles.
“I was ecstatic about that,” she said. “It was my first year and everything. I had a blast this year. It was a great experience.”
When she graduates from Truman, she will have eight varsity letters in three different sports.
This spring under new coach Nikki Marczak, Edwards returned to center back. An unselfish player, she had no problem moving back, even though she preferred forward.
 “I liked playing forward for my school team,” she said. “I like to make things happen up top, but I can still do that at defense, so I make the best of everything no matter where I play.”
One thing Edwards likes about playing in back is the challenge of taking the ball forward.
“I like to make runs and make different plays happen throughout the field,” she said. “I like to be able to create something.”
“She can take that ball from the back and dribble right up the middle,” said Marczak. “She’s very skilled with her feet and is confident doing that too.”
Among her many roles, Edwards is also a captain of the team.
“She’s a good leader on and off the field,” said Marczak. “I showed them what I wanted them to do for warm-ups, and she now keeps everybody warming up. She takes control and makes my job easier.”
Off the soccer field, Edwards is the vice president of the Varsity Club, an organization similar to Key Club only you have to be on a varsity team and have a minimum GPA.
She’s also the treasurer and salutatorian of her class. With a GPA of 4.33, she ranks No. 2 among seniors.
And by the way, she has been in the school musical for the past four years. Having quit basketball when she entered high school (she still plays during the summer), she needed something to fill her wintertime.
“I’d always been into theater,” she said. “I love musicals. I go with my mom to see them in New York all the time. It’s not one of my strong suits, but it’s one of my passions.”
She usually sings as part of the chorus.
“I have a blast doing whatever,” she said. “Even if I get the smallest part in the play, I still make the best of it.”
Next year, Edwards will play soccer at Wilkes University. She will be the only Truman player to move on to the next level.
She plans on majoring in secondary education, focusing on mathematics and minoring in special education.
“I love math and I love helping people understanding certain concepts,” she said. “It’s definitely my strong suit in school. I’m better with numbers than I am with words.”
Colonials march on – In his nine years at Plymouth Whitemarsh, coach Steve Slack has never had a better team. After going 1-15 last year, the Colonials are 7-4 through Monday.
“We had seven or eight new faces on the varsity level,” said Slack. “We have a nice selection of players for the different positions on the field, and they’ve come together pretty good and pretty quick.”
PW started on a 3-0 run which gave the players confidence. Except for Upper Dublin, the Colonials haven’t lost a league game by more than one goal.
With six games still remaining, PW has already set the single season win record in the program’s nine-year history.
With no seniors on last year’s team, the returning juniors have been huge ingredients in this year’s success.
Senior Vicki Shivick “keeps a solid line on the defense,” and Jenny Thiess “has been on the score sheet quite a few times.” She has scored seven goals and has one assist.
Junior Molly McTamney leads the team in points with eight goals and three assists. “She’s worked hard in the off-season and puts the ball in the back of the net,” said Slack.
Classmate Brit MacDonald is an anchor on defense, while sophomore Aly Melvin has been a rock in the goal.
“She has made a big difference,” said Slack. “As a freshman she came in as a field player. She went into goal at the end of last season and basically came back this year committed to the position. She’s been performing great.”
The Colonials also have the largest freshmen class with 17, five of whom start on the varsity.
Jess Knudson, a forward has scored five goals and has four assists.
“She has speed and skill with the ball,” said Slack.
With a host of good players, Slack has been able to play a more aggressive style.
“It’s paid off,” he said. “We felt like we had the players to do a couple of different things and give teams different looks. We knew we’d be solid defensively so we gave a little more freedom to the attackers.”
PW is hoping to make the playoffs for the first time this year. It could well come down to whoever finishes second in the American Conference. Right now the Colonials are neck and neck with Wissahickon, with whom they split games this year.
“Everybody right now is working for the team and the team is the most important thing,” said Slack. “We’re fortunate we’re getting results and playing well as well.”
Defense rules – It’s no secret that if you can’t score, you can’t win. Teams playing against Central Bucks South have re-discovered that truth this year.
The Titans have been titanic on defense, giving up just four goals in the process of racking up 10 shutouts in 13 games. Starting senior goalie Sam Wood has 39 saves and given up three goals for a 90.9 save percentage, while freshman Meghan Kaminski has played in six games, made 11 saves and given up one goal for a 92.3 save percentage.
While both keepers have certainly come up with big plays when needed (such as against Souderton and Pennridge), the defense in front of them has limited the number and quality of opportunities opponents have had.
Junior sweeper Melanie Keer leads the defense.
“She’s been incredible,” said South coach Joe Bocklet. “I’ve seen a girl 10 yards ahead of her on a breakaway and she’s right there. She’s overwhelmingly fast.”
Keer also has six assists on the year.
To Keer’s left is Ashley Saylor, a sophomore who played on the forward line last year. On the other side is another sophomore Lauren Hensel.
Saylor has also scored once on five shots.
“I’m in a great position,” said Bocklet of his young defense.
Around the league – In the battle of the Rocks in the National Conference, South took North 3-1 on its home turf. The Golden Hawks are not likely to catch Neshaminy, which beat them 3-0.
In the Continental Conference, Central Bucks South had a scare last Friday when Pennridge took the Titans to overtime before falling 2-1.
“We squeaked one out on Friday,” said coach Joe Bocklet. “It was a great test for us. It was the first time we’ve been down in game. It took them about 25 minutes to adjust and relax and deal with that as a situation. We scored in the last seven minutes and then scored in the overtime. It was a great learning experience.”
North Penn avenged a first-round loss to Souderton, and C.B East shocked Pennridge on an Alex Shaw header, 1-0.
Upper Dublin has been unstoppable in the American Conference. After starting the season 2-2, the Flying Cardinals have not lost in April. The current streak started against Cheltenham with a 5-0 win, next was Springfield 5-3, then Plymouth-Whitemarsh 4-0. The following week they played Council Rock North beating them 3-2 under the lights, then in the rain they blanked Upper Moreland 7-0 and on a beautiful Friday afternoon game trounced Norristown 8-0.
Last week Upper Dublin topped Upper Merion (6-0), Cheltenham (4-1) and Springfield (5-0).
Sophomore Allie Dayno, who has been outstanding in goal, now has five shutouts. Junior Larissa Nysch leads the team in scoring with nine goals. Freshman Erin Lafferty has five goals and seniors Sammy Waters and Brianna Barnes have four goals each.
Wissahickon is beginning to cause a stir as the Trojans avenged a 4-0 loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh with a 3-2 win on their home field.
Week of April 25
Class AAA
1. Central Bucks South (1) previous rank 2
2. Hershey (3) 1
3. Manheim Township (3) 6
4. Neshaminy (1) 8
5. Hempfield (3) HM
6. Cumberland Valley (3) 4
7. Penn Manor (3) 3
8. Wilson (3) 9
9. Emmaus (11) 5
10. Pennridge (1) 7
Honorable Mention: Central Dauphin (3), Governor Mifflin (3), Nazareth (11), Parkland (11), Red Land (3), Warwick (3).
NSCAA/adidas® National Rankings
Region I, April 28
1. Central Bucks South (Warrington, PA) 12 - 0 - 0  
2. Hershey (Hershey, PA) 14 - 0 - 1  
3. Manheim Township (Lancaster, PA) 12 - 1 - 1  
4. Neshaminy (Langhorne, PA) 10 - 1 - 1  
5. Hempfield (Landisville, PA) 12 - 2 - 0  
6. Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, PA) 13 - 2 - 0  
7. A.I. duPont (Greenville, DE) 6 - 0 - 0  
8. Penn Manor (Millersville, PA) 11 - 2 - 1  
9. Wilson (West Lawn, PA) 12 - 4 - 0  
10. Padua Academy (Wilmington, DE) 7 - 1 - 0