Sometimes the beautiful game isn’t so beautiful; last years Clarion women’s soccer team knows this very well.
After a 3-11-2 season, those who did not graduate were ready for a change, and a change they seem to have.
After a good start to this season and ending close in almost every contest in the campaign, the Golden Eagles currently stand at 2-3-1, with wins over Pitt-Johnstown and Millersville.
In the six games Clarion has played, they have been shut out twice and have scored nine goals. In six games last season, the Golden Eagles were shut out three times and only scored six goals.
The rest of the season looks bright with young talent as several key players from last year’s team graduated and those seniors logged major minutes.
Some of the most significant losses were goalkeeper Laura Saussol, defender Casey Harsch, defender Autumn Rosenberg and striker Katie Chambers.
Returning players that saw playing time from last year include sophomores Anna Chamberlain, Stephanie Lias, Aaliyah Odom, Erin Rodgers, Taylor Starr, Maddie Meyers and Brittany Kowatch.
Juniors returning are Alissa Spencer, Stephanie Sikora, Aubrey Monte, McKenzie Sheesley, Alexa Stubenrauch, and Rhianon Fowler.
Among the newcomers is starting goalkeeper, freshman Krista Mosi, who has the task of replacing Laura Saussol.
In Saussol’s four-year career as a starter, she was Clarion’s all-time leader in shutouts with 15, save percentage (.853), goals against average (1.48) and was also second in career saves with 603.
Mosi comes in as an accomplished goalie already though, as she was an all-state keeper in 2014 in the state of Pennsylvania.
Mosi has not had long to adjust as well as she has made her first six college starts in Clarion’s first six games.
Mosi said, “In college and especially the PSAC, the competition is much greater than high school. You have to be always prepared for any opponent, and the pace is so much faster out there on the field,” she said.
When asked about the new leadership on the team ,given the departure of some seniors, Mosi was very ready to talk.
Mosi said, “We have four great captains this year (Alissa Spencer, Aubrey Monte, Stephanie Sikora and Kelly Antonucci) and they have been great leaders and have been very approachable. Beyond them, everyone on the team has helped with motivation and keeping the team positive.”
Mosi has done her best to make an immediate effect on the team. She has posted 39 saves, 559 minutes, and 1.45 goals against average.
When asked about season expectations, Mosi had plenty to discuss, she said, “We all want to prove the PSAC rankings wrong, we have high expectations and our early success has given us even more confidence than what we already possessed.”
At the helm of the team is second-year head coach Sean Esterhuizen, who is much liked by his team.
“Sean is a motivating and positive figure on our team; he always makes sure we are in the right frame of mind before games,” said Mosi.
The Golden Eagles are back in action this Saturday, Sept. 26 at Clarion’s Memorial Stadium vs. East Stroudsburg and Tuesday, Sept. 29 vs. Ashland, also at home.