SCHA freshman Sinead Brierley (right) marks an Archbishop Carroll player during a scrimmage last week. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

While not devastating, the graduation losses from the 2010 Springside School soccer team were not insignificant, and the hope is that the new young talent on the roster will quickly adjust to varsity play.

The Lions lost one of the Girls Inter-Ac League’s top goalkeepers in Brenna Coll, and forward Riley Tarver and midfielders Natalie Bates and Emma Korein were multi-year varsity players who seldom left the field during games. In addition, accomplished youngster Melanie Rankin has departed, transferring to Mercersburg Academy for her sophomore year.

Senior Alexis Giovinazzo, who has varsity goaltending experience, will step back into the net for the new Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and sophomore Madi Sehn (a Norwood Fontbonne Academy product) is training as her understudy.

Just ahead of the keeper, fourth-year head coach Jerry Hartey has four primary marking backs, seniors Haley Lombardo and Erica Schneer, junior Alyssa Isackman, and sophomore Julia Schumacher. The other seniors for the Lions are mids Jamie McGinn and Sydney Fitzpatrick, defender Resnya Hughes, and forward Kelsey Chapman, who has been the team’s top scorer for the past two seasons.

Junior Shelby Jackson and freshman Breon West will join with Chapman to give the Lions a lot of speed on the attack. Another ninth-grader, Sinead Brierley, is a skilled midfielder who is a new student at SCHA and appears to be in line for a starting role. Hartey feels that fellow freshmen Bridget Lipp and Cierra Rieth will also have an impact at the varsity level. Like Brierley, Lipp and Reith are new students at the school.

Test-driving his 2011 squad at Archbishop Carroll in a scrimmage last Tuesday, Hartey was happy with a number of aspects of the Lions’ performance, until players began to run out of gas late in each half. Aside from conditioning work for everyone, what many of the rookies need is a sense of what the sport is like at the varsity level.

“Things move a lot faster, and they have to adapt to that,” Hartey noted. “Even with our older players, our communication on the field needs to be a bit better. We also need to anticipate the way a play is developing, instead of just reacting after the fact.”

The coach feels that the path to the Inter-Ac title will go through two-time defending champ Episcopal Academy. Germantown Academy, a young team over the past few seasons but now a seasoned outfit, should be a serious challenger, while a number of other squads, including the Lions, battle to break into the top echelon.