Deep, veteran team could make Lady Patriots a soccer contender

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch
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Pittston Area may have its deepest team ever when it opens the Wyoming Valley Conference girls soccer season Friday.

The Lady Patriots have 13 players who started at least half of last season’s games, plus four others with some experience.

“Our depth is better than it has ever been,” coach Nicole Tieso said.

Pittston Area, which opens at perennial power Dallas, has back seniors Alysha Smigiel and Caroline Wesp, who split time as goalkeepers last season.

Smigiel and Wesp are supported by what should be a tough defense.

“In the defensive end, we have a lot of experience, and it should be a strong area for us,” Tieso said.

Seniors Nicole Mayers and Jenna Smith and junior Sydney Copp return to the defense. Seniors Madison Levandoski and sophomore Aslyn Menendez provide experienced depth.

Kayleigh Walker and Kaylee Copp, both seniors, return to the midfield.

Senior Grace Mimnaugh and sophomores Brynne McGoff, Mia Snyder and Katelyn Wesp are all returning starters who can play either midfield or forward.

“Our combination play in the mid has developed splendidly to get the ball forward,” Tieso said.

Brooklyn Pedana, a senior, and Kyleigh Shupp, a sophomore, are returning forwards.

Sophomores Gia Innamorati, at forward, and Rachel Deleo, in the midfield, are the other players with experience.

“Last season, we had issues finishing in the final third,” Tieso said. “We feel that that is an area that we still need to improve on.”

Tieso said there is also talent among the younger players hoping to earn some playing time.

The coach said the players are trying to make the most of the opportunities provided by having so much experience with which to work.

“The girls have been working extremely hard to make this a great season,” Tieso said. “They work great together and have confidence in each other. We feel that our strong team cohesiveness is an asset that will help us all season.

“The girls support and push each other to be the best they can be on and off the field.”

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By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or email sd@psdispatch.com

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or email sd@psdispatch.com