Baldwin girls soccer showing potential in early-season training
With eight returning letterwinners, third-year coach Kelly Shoplik is excited about the potential of the Baldwin girls soccer team.
Five of the letterwinners were freshmen last season.
“We have lots of returning experience at the varsity level,” Shoplik said, “which makes it a bit easier to settle into the start of the season with understanding the physicality and high level of play the high school game brings. We are going to be strong down the middle of the field with our returning starters filtering into those positions.
“The freshmen who earned a varsity starting position have experience playing at a high club level, as well.”
Senior Mandi Bellas, juniors Riley Nolan and Elizabeth Knight, and sophomores Tori DiCesare, Robyn Sopata, Adriana Marina, Makenzie Auel and Elena Zandier all earned varsity letters last year.
Bellas, Nolan, DiCesare, Sopata and Marina are returning starters.
The Highlanders worked in the preseason on their defense and on building an attack while keeping possession on each third of the field.
Shoplik and assistant Matt Stephenson have been focused on building a solid defensive corps.
“We’ve been working through which defensive formation is going to suit us best throughout the season when we face the teams in our section,” Shoplik said. “We’re working to find our whole team defense, to get our wingbacks and forwards dropping in behind the ball.
“Through our first scrimmage, everything we have been working on through preseason has been executed thoroughly. I’m excited to keep building and see how we are going to stack up against the rest of our section this year.”
Sophomore Kaitlyn Pollard, juniors Madison Beardsley and Brianna Bandola and senior Erika Kuzman are top reserves; along with Zandier, senior Amy Schneider and sophomore Morgan Bell.
Baldwin is competing in Section 2-4A with Bethel Park, Brashear, Canon-McMillan, Moon, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair.