Southeastern Pa. girls' soccer notes

Posted: October 10, 2012

This season hasn't always been easy for first-year Council Rock South coach Kim Francis.

Then again, nothing has been quite that easy for the girls' soccer teams in the Suburban One League's National Conference, but Francis is hoping the hard times and close games will help prepare her Golden Hawks for the playoffs.

Coming off a 17-5-1 season but having lost a lot of players to graduation, the Golden Hawks have battled all season, against some of the best teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Many of them just happen to play in the same conference as C.R. South.

The season began with a 1-0 loss to Archbishop Wood (11-1-1), a team that sits atop the Catholic League with Archbishop Ryan. Then there was a 1-0 loss to Neshaminy (12-1), one of the highest-scoring offenses in the area, and two 3-1 losses to league opponents Council Rock North and Pennridge. All four teams are in the top six of The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania rankings.

Rather than hang their heads, the Golden Hawks have continued to fight.

"We are trying to use it as much as possible as a positive," said Francis, a former assistant coach at Old Dominion. "We know we can hang with these teams, so it is kind of just rallying together and trying to play a full 80 minutes."

With four league games left this season, Francis soon will find out what her team is made of. One of those remaining league games is a date with Neshaminy, which is undefeated in league play so far this year.

"Any coach in the league would be smart to use that as motivation," Francis said. "Going into that, you say let's go out there and ruin their perfect season.

"It is definitely a motivating factor, and it is one of those things that you don't even have to mention it to the girls."

The Golden Hawks are 5-3-1 in league play and 5-5-1 overall. According to Francis, one of the main skill sets her team has struggled with is in the offensive final third.

Especially early this season, Francis felt as if her team was giving up shooting or scoring opportunities and instead passing. Recently in practice, the team has emphasized shooting, and Francis has seen positive results.

"I definitely think we have had our ups and downs," Francis said. "It is tough when you are losing to teams that part of you thinks you should be beating."

If the Golden Hawks will make some noise with a couple of weeks remaining in the regular season, look for senior Paige McDowell, junior Taylor Dillon, and junior Gabby Rosenfeld to lead the squad.

Setting the tone. It seems whenever the Owen J. Roberts girls' soccer team needs a big play on offense, Juliana Provini steps up and delivers.

The junior forward has 16 goals for the Wildcats this season, including hat tricks in three games.

Provini scored in four straight games from Sept. 10-20, and in three straight games from Sept. 27-29. Her scoring ability has been crucial for the Wildcats this season, as has her knack for feeding the ball to other playmakers such as Emily Morgan and Emily Kupsov.

The Wildcats are 11-2-1 overall and 9-1-1 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, putting them at the top of the PAC-10's Liberty Division with Boyertown. Earlier this season, Roberts defeated the Bears, 2-0, and the second game ended in a scoreless tie. Boyertown is the defending PAC-10 champion.

Until last week, the Wildcats had been undefeated in league play, but they can control their own destiny by winning their remaining league contests.


Contact Kate Harman at rallysports@phillynews.com.

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