Strong start for girls soccer
Seeing his team getting off to a fast start, Whitehall first-year head girls' soccer coach Dave Weitzman has been cautiously optimistic.
The Zephyrs, who have been a fixture in the postseason over the past few seasons and made a trip to the PIAA Class 3A final a few years ago, have recently slipped somewhat out of the limelight.
With a core of returning seniors, Whitehall suddenly retained more of the spotlight as the Zephyrs have stormed out to a 4-0 start in the new Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC). In the process, the Zephyrs have allowed just one goal overall.
"We've been OK and have had a good start," offered Weitzman. "The girls have really worked and played hard and they have adapted to a new system. I was anxious to see how they would do in the first couple of games and they have really responded.
"They really worked hard to get into shape and they have been aggressive out there. It really has been a solid effort all the way around."
Weitzman credited the play of senior goalie Jude Luckenbill, who has been a mainstay in the nets the past few seasons.
"She (Luckenbill) has really played well for us," said Weitzman. "She has also been a leader for us. We'll need her to continue to play well throughout the season."
Weitzman also cited the play of senior Kourtney Cunningham, who has continued her older sisters' offensive assault as she recorded 11 goals and seven assists in the first four games.
"She (Cunningham) has been outstanding for us," said Weitzman. "She has been all over the field and really has been a leader for us."
Along with the senior leadership, juniors Ivanna Jones and Tyler George and sophomores Kylee Cunningham and Cara Bonshak all have already stepped up their level of play.
"Kylee (Cunningham), Ivanna (Jones), and Taylor (George) have been getting the job done for us up front and Cara (Bonshak) has been steering the ship of us," noted Weitzman. "They will continue to get significant playing time for us."
One factor that may come into play is the fact that eight players also play either field hockey or volleyball. It could prove to be plenty of challenging days ahead with the compacted EPC schedule that normally features three games a week.
Whitehall began a challenging course this week when they opened with Allentown Central Catholic Tuesday before meeting Nazareth (Thursday) and Northampton (Saturday). The early season series of games can be a preliminary barometer toward the rest of the season.
"It will be a measuring stick for us the next two weeks," said Weitzman. "It will be challenge for the girls who are playing other sports as they will literally have a game a day. We'll get a look on how we can respond in the league and it will be a real character test for us.
"But we will go into every game hungry and ready to play."