by Tom Utescher
Division I signee Lisa Roman (Marquette) was among four seniors who graduated from last year’s soccer team at Mount St. Joseph Academy, but the good news for Magic fans is that their current senior, junior and sophomore classes are back with both goalies from 2012, along with a dozen field players with varsity experience.
The three senior co-captains are well distributed along the field, with Courtney Higginson helping lead the attack, Sarah Lynch playing a defensive midfield role and making the long throw-in’s, and Colleen Steinmetz anchoring the back row, along with another 12th grade veteran, Mary Grace McIntyre.
The other two seniors on the roster are Natalie Bohner and Jenna Cades. Juniors Devon Conway and Maryanna Solecki have both been full-time varsity performers since they were freshmen, and their 11th-grade classmates Noelle Buchanan and Amanda Steinberg have both begun the season in starting roles.
Two goalies, junior Meghan Keown and sophomore Charlotte Sands, alternated in the net during preseason scrimmages, and Sands got the nod for the season opener late last week. The varsity roster lists three 10th graders in addition to Sands; Isabella Balcer, Caitlyn Hagan, and M.K. Maloney, along with a pair of freshmen, Paige Comtois and Ashley Pyne.
Pyne started in last Thursday’s season debut against visiting Council Rock North, and the Magic never trailed as they began their third season under head coach Catherine Kulp. The first marker for the hosts was an own-goal charged to the visitors, with a ball lobbed inside by Lynch going into the cage off of one of the Indians as their keeper got caught too far out in the box.
Later, Rock tied the match as a loose ball was left rolling in front of the goal for too long, but then Mount St. Joe took charge of the contest by striking twice in the last three minutes of the half. On the first play, Pyne’s intial shot was blocked but Higginson tapped in the rebound to make it 2-1, then the senior scored again at the end of a 40-yard run that began with a pass out of the defensive half by Steinberg.
This last marker by Higginson came with just a second left in the first half, and 15 minutes into the second period she set up the fourth goal for the host team. Her shot from the right side travelled over toward the far post, and Balcer applied the finishing touch for a 4-1 MSJ advantage.
Council Rock closed back within two points about five minutes later, then the Mounties tacked on the final goal of the day with 13:15 on the clock, when a marker by Maloney was assisted by Higginson. MSJ’s Sands made 15 saves in the victorious start to the season.