Stepping back on the turf

Girls soccer team regroups to take on new season

Waiting+for+the+perfect+time+to+attack%2C+junior+Jersee+Melvin+runs+with+a+Central+Valley+offender+on+Aug.+24+during+a+scrimmage.

Jessica Majors/FHS Press

Waiting for the perfect time to attack, junior Jersee Melvin runs with a Central Valley offender on Aug. 24 during a scrimmage.

Jessica Majors, Photo Editor

As the Freedom girls soccer team steps back onto the field for another season, its future looks bright. The team, which shares a strong connection on and off the field, has grown with a healthy mix of returning and new players. The team is composed of 23 young women, including six seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen. The Bulldogs look to go deep into the playoffs this season.

While the team ended last season by saying goodbye to two very talented players,  alumni Karissa Mercier and Jessica Scheel, seven freshmen joined the team to one day replicate their success. According to senior Grace White, the team had an easy transition with these new freshmen over the summer. 

“As time went on through the summer, the more we played together on the field allowed for us to become a more cohesive group. We began to talk more on the field and continued to cheer each other up,” White said. 

For the most part, the team sees potential for the future, especially considering the majority of the team is back on the field for another season after losing three key players from their lineup.

After an aggressive preseason facing the Central Valley Warriors on Aug. 24 and the Chartiers Houston Buccaneers on Aug. 28 at Jimbo Covert Stadium, the Bulldogs were set to travel to Clinton, Pa. to face Our Lady of Sacred Hearts (OLSH) on Sept. 8, but due to COVID-19 concerns on OLSH’s side, the game was postponed to a later date.

After a couple of extra practices, the girls stepped foot on the field to take on the Montour Spartans on Sept. 9. While the girls didn’t get off to the start they had hoped after missing a penalty kick in the first half, the Spartans took advantage of their opportunity and made it to halftime with a 5-0 lead against our Bulldogs. Many injuries came the Bulldogs’ way during the second half, and the team was unable to regroup as the Spartans shutout our Bulldogs with a score of 8-0. 

Stepping back onto the field at Jimbo Covert Stadium from the loss against Montour on Sept. 13, the girls were out for revenge as they hosted Greensburg Central Catholic ​Centurions. Starting off the scoring was the Centurions, as they sent two balls to the back of the net and the Bulldogs were unable to gain control of their offense. After communicating and building each other up, sophomore Morgan Keller was able to roll one to the back of the net with 26 minutes left in the first half. Following Keller’s goal, senior Renae Mohrbacher launched one into Greensburg’s net two minutes later. This goal tied the game 2-2, but minutes later Greensburg was able to die down the Bulldog’s run and scored a goal to pull away with the lead. While Greensburg began to cheer, sophomore Shaye Bailey took advantage of the moment and ran the ball down the next play to land another ball in the net for Freedom, to tie the game 3-3. As time was ticking down in the first half, Greensburg was able to break through Freedom’s defense and get another goal before time was running out, leading 4-3 into halftime. 

Coming back from the half, the Centurions still had the lead 4-3, but 30 seconds into the half, Freedom was given a corner kick in which Renae Mohrbacher was able to get the ball past the goalie with the help of Bailey as an assist, and the girls tied the game 4-4. 

A couple minutes later, Greensburg was able to tighten up their offense and gain two goals over Freedom, leading 6-4. It did not take long until Freedom was able to bounce back. With the help of Bailey, junior Finley Paxton landed one more into the back of the net, with 17 minutes left in the game, making the score 6-5. 

As the Bulldogs cheered, Greensburg took advantage a minute later as they were able to capture another goal on the Bulldogs, making it 7-5. With 13 minutes remaining, Freedom did not give up, as freshman Olivia Henderson was able to strike one into the net, bringing the girls one step closer to the lead. 

While the battle continued for the next 11 minutes, Greensburg was able to score the final goal of the evening, making it 8-6 as the final and leaving the Bulldogs with another loss to their record.

It was not only a battle on the field, as both sets of fans were into the game, leaving it one of Freedom’s most exciting matches of the season so far. 

After the girls played one of their toughest competitors in their section, they hosted the Neshannock Lancers at Jimbo Covert Stadium on Sept. 14. The girls recovered from the previous loss and came out to beat the Lancers 7-0. The goals were scored by Renae Mohrbacher, Julia Mohrbacher and Madison Meyer. 

Hosting the South Side Rams on Sept. 20, the Bulldogs did not let the rain hold them back from capturing another victory, as the Bulldogs beat the Rams 4-2. Freshman Riley Tokar, Julia Mohrbacher and Keller were able to find the back of the net for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have three games remaining until they wrap up their September schedule, they plan to play Mohawk, OLSH and Central Valley.