Girls piling up the goals
Whitehall head girls' soccer coach George Romano understands his team can't keep a low profile this season, especially in the ever-competitive Lehigh Valley Conference (LVC).
The Zephyrs have returned a healthy crop of players from last year's Class 3A state runner up squad and haven't really missed a beat. Through their first four games, Whitehall had a sterling 4-0 mark and had outscored their opponents by a 25-2 margin, but they had a tight 2-1 victory over Nazareth.
Whitehall did have a low profile on their march to the state title last season as they slipped under the radar when they failed to defend their LVC crown. Yet, Romano realizes last year's success has heightened opponent's approaches toward his club.
"We know we have targets on our backs this season," stated Romano. "Every team wants to beta the state runner-up. We know it is likely to be a natural with most teams and we have already seen that this season.
"I tell the girls they have to bring their 'A" game to every contest. As well as other teams wanting to knock us off, we also have our sense of pride for what we have accomplished and the girls should be proud of it.
"However, we know we can't let down at all. We want to come out hard every game."
Kayla and Kourtney Cunningham have continued their assault offensively this season as they have topped the team's goals and assists totals this season. Kelsey Himmelwright has been steady in the nets replacing former incumbent Amanda Slotter and Jude Luckenbill will also likely see some time in the nets.
Natalee Rackus, Alexandra Kreeger, Taylor George, and Kara Parvel have already played prominent roles as they did last season for the Zephyrs.
One of the other positives for the Zephyrs has been their improving play of their underclassmen, as a host of them have already integrated themselves into the varsity system. A run to the state title game has also helped flush out some of the younger talent that wasn't previously involved in the program.
"Our younger players are developing quite quickly," said Romano. "When you win, you have more players becoming interested in the program. We saw that aspect during the summer. We have been able to build up our overall depth in the program and some of the younger girls have worked their way into out lineup.
"They have really come on and developed. In some cases, it can be a little frightening. We want them to develop at a good pace."
Romano believes his club will be tested this week when they tangle with Parkland, Easton, and Emmaus. Despite their fast start, Romano doesn't want to shift their gears too soon.
"They will be challenging games for us," he said. "We expect a battle every time out there and we're going against three solid teams. We are off to a great start and the girls are really focused. But we also know is it a long season and we don't want to peak too early."
Instead, they would rather follow the same blueprint that helped guide them to Hershey in the spring.