MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Penn State Harrisburg's women's soccer team will help kick off the 2019-20 athletic campaign on Friday afternoon, August 30 when the Blue & White plays host to Randolph-Macon at the Nittany Soccer Field at 2 p.m. Before the Lions take the field, here's a brief refresher on the senior-heavy program set to begin a season of change this fall.
Look Who's Back
Penn State Harrisburg returns an impressive nine seniors, led by 2018 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) All-Conference Second-Team selections Mackenzie Haladay and Madison Hemler. The latter is the team's top scorer back this season, as she netted four goals and added four assists to total 12 points a year ago. Haladay also impressed last fall, netting three goals and anchoring the team's back line. The pair is joined by fellow captains Elizabeth Clippinger and Haley Vavrek, while 2017 leading scorer Kristen Stark returns to provide a spark at the forward position. Jenna Alaoui, Sheila Ansary, Danielle Bressler and Megan Carver round out the experienced group of seniors. Juniors Kaylie Derrickson and Katie Kosovac provide stability in the midfield and sophomores Eden Haldeman, Hollie Holthaus, Isabella Longo, Paige Sharrow, Rhyan Socash, Hannah Williams and Morgan Wilson should see expanded roles with a year under their belts. Socash gives the Lions another scoring option, while Williams takes over in goal in 2019.
The Lions welcome a rookie class of 12 freshmen to the program this fall, providing head coach Adam Clay much-needed depth at a number of levels. Sydney Hemler looks poised to join her sister on the back line, solidifying a talented defensive rotation. Izabel Garcia, Rachel Miller and Christina Radanovic will also play on the defensive side of the field, while Samantha Day, Marley Moore and Haley Sedun will split time between the midfield and back end. Ariana Casey, Maggie Keller and Samara Wilson add more options in the midfield, while Kaitlyn Schlemmer and Amanda Thoryk have the ability to push up to the forward position.
After six years competing as a member of the CAC, Penn State Harrisburg returns to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) this fall. The Lions will compete as a member of the NEAC for the first time since the 2012-13 athletic season, joining Cazenovia, Gallaudet, Keuka, Lancaster Bible, Morrisville State, Penn College, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Poly and Wells in the 12-team league.
Circle the Date
August 30 – vs. Randolph-Macon, 2 p.m.
There's nothing like opening the season in front of the hometown faithful. The Blue & White kick things off by hosting the nightcap of a men's and women's soccer doubleheader against a talented Yellow Jackets squad that racked up 11 victories and made a run to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) last fall.
Sept. 3 – at Elizabethtown, 7 p.m.
The Lions will look to avenge last year's home loss at the hands of the Blue Jays when they take the short trip east to face Etown under the lights less than a week after the season opens. This one is sure to provide an early non-conference litmus test against a local foe before Penn State Harrisburg sets its sights on NEAC play.
Oct. 5 – at Penn State Berks, 3 p.m.
One of the big ones. Penn State Berks won 15 games and clinched the NEAC Championship before falling by the slimmest of margins to nationally-ranked Emory in overtime in the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament a year ago. If the chance to compete with a squad with that kind of resume doesn't motivate Penn State Harrisburg, nothing will.
The Lions open the 2019 campaign when they host a game Randolph-Macon squad at Nittany Soccer Field on Friday afternoon, August 30. Game time is set for 2 p.m.