by Tom Utescher
Although Penn Charter graduated five members of its 2014 boys soccer team, the Quakers have the core of their talent returning for the 2015 campaign. Senior Harrison Williams is the full-time team captain, and eighth-year head coach Bob DiBenedetto has been designating different players as co-captain on a game-to-game basis.
The other senior starter for PC is Drew Shaifer, and in a home field contest last week classmate Kobi Galvis quickly came in off the bench. The other 12th-graders on the varsity squad are James Frye, Sean McKee (Charter’s talented lacrosse goalie), Adam Takle, Michael Kearney, and Iggy Quinn.
In their home opener last Tuesday, the Quakers raised their overall record to 3-0 thanks to a 1-0 victory over St. Joseph’s Prep. The lone goal followed junior Christian Lemmo’s corner kick from the left side with 13:30 remaining in the game. The corner sailed into a pack of players around the near goal post, and although another junior, Max Jacobs, was the closest PC player to the ball, it appeared to deflect into the goal off of a Prep defender.
St. Joe’s Alex Talbot banged one shot off the Charter crossbar in the first half, and in the second period his well-struck shot from the right side of the box tracked just outside the left post. The shut-out held up for Quakers keeper Kyle Early, a freshman who has moved up from Penn Charter’s middle school program.
PC’s on pretty solid footing in the goal cage, since last year’s primary keeper, Jay Jennings, is back as a junior. Out on the field, fellow 11th graders Dylan Schwartz and Conrad Williams (Harrison’s brother) are currently starting for Charter along with two other varsity veterans, Jacobs and Lemmo. A sixth junior, Pat McLaughlin, has moved up to the varsity this fall.
Three sophomores who were on the 2014 varsity roster, Griffin Barnes, Andrew Morris, and Connor Sullivan, are all starters now, and their classmate Mason Williams saw a lot of time in a reserve role in the match with St. Joe’s Prep.
In addition to Early, the freshman class is also represented in the starting line-up by Billy Melnick, a new student at Penn Charter. The roster lists three more ninth-graders, Ryan Holmes, Max Lubowitz, and E.T. Cripe, whose brother Adison was one of last year’s seniors.
Seasoned skipper DiBenedetto is joined by returning assistant coaches Tom Ciolko and Mike Falsetta. After going from a winless Inter-Ac League season in 2013 to a tie for third place (with Malvern Prep) last fall, the Quakers are looking to make further strides in 2015.