Upper Perk's Sabrina Yoder shot on goal is blocked by Souderton goalie Morgan Brozena during play in the season opener Friday at Souderton.
The new faces of the Upper Perk field hockey team got off to an encouraging start with a 2-1 non-league win at Souderton last Friday.
Sophomore Casey Umstead notched both goals for the Tribe, one in each half, and Upper Perk held off a late Souderton challenge to secure its first win of the season.
The visitors took it to Souderton from the outset, and Umstead gave the Indians an early 1-0 advantage after eight minutes. The Tribe continued to carry play, but could not put the ball in the cage again before halftime.
“We moved the ball quickly and effectively through the midfield during the first half and had numerous scoring opportunities, but we were unable to capitalize and get the second goal,” said Upper Perk coach JamieWarren.
The field tilted in Souderton’s favor in the second half, but goalkeeper Katie Lederer (eight saves) kept the ball out of the cage.
Upper Perk finally made a foray into Souderton territory and Umstead put in her second goal of the game to give Upper Perk a two-goal lead.
Good thing, too, because Souderton got a late goal off a stroke after the ball hit the foot of an Upper Perk player during a corner.
“Everyone worked hard and contributed to our team, earning the win,” said Warren who is entering her fifth year as the Tribe’s coach and 23rd overall. “It is good to win in the first game of the season against a strong, competitive AAA team.”
The veteran mentor is faced with the task of compensating for the loss of four talented graduates who all ended up at Division I schools. Cassidy Arner, Princeton, Leah High, Villanova, Brooke Oliver, Sacred Heart and Rachel Steinman, Temple, were the backbone of the 2010 squad.
“Three-quarters of the varsity players all have at least one year of varsity experience, and all of the newcomers were all strong starting JV and middle school players,” noted Warren. “I am always looking for senior leadership as well as leadership from the underclassmen.”
On the forward line, senior Emily Rodenberger (three goals, six assists), and junior Sami Stalford (nine goals, three assists) provide a veteran presence. They will be supplemented by junior Sabrina Yoder and sophomore Jenna Caciolo.
Umstead (13 goals, 13 assists) and fellow sophomores Anna Duemler (three goals) and Natalie Ciuta return to mid-field along with junior captain Carrie Nyce. They will be joined by sophomore Mackenzie Lederer.
“Umstead is the only returning player who has corner inserting and shooting experience,” said Warren, noting her importance to the team.
The defense will be anchored by senior captain Shanna Law, junior Devon Kriebel, and sophomore Maddie Fox. Morgan Aldinger and Rachel Felbinger, both sophs, will also see time on the back line.
Lederer was the starter in goal last season.
Warren expects to see an improved PAC-10, especially in the smaller school division. Phoenixville will be playing on their new turf field for the first time this fall, and Pope John Paul now has a season in the PAC-10 under its belt.
Upper Perk’s goals are the same as they have been for several years: win the division, compete for the PAC-10 championship, be a top seed in the district and make it to states.
“We are moving from being a good team to a great team. That is our purpose and desire,” Warren said.