FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- It was a tough year for the Harmon School girls soccer team as far as victories went, as the lone win was 2-1 over Solon on Sept. 16.
But coach Paul Frankmann said the girls were competitive in every game. In addition to great efforts against Southeast, South Euclid, Ravenna, and Hudson, they stayed close to Kent Stanton, Cuyahoga Falls and CVCA.
The girls fielded 25 players. Ten returning eighth-graders were joined by two new eighth-graders, plus 13 seventh-graders.
However, the team was younger and smaller than most opponents. "As a result, these girls have focused on passing as a way to level the playing field, and the stats show they've made progress," said Frankmann.
The team also switched formations early in the season to put more emphasis on playing the ball up the wings and defending against the same. "But mostly, this team has proved to be tenacious," he added. "They simply never give up at trying to win."
In the opening game against Southeast, the girls came from behind to secure a 6-6 tie. In another high-scoring game against Southeast, the locals charged into the second half after falling behind 4-0, and blasted in four goals while only giving up two.
A game against South Euclid Memorial was physical as the latter won 6-1. In the rematch, Harmon dominated play, resulting in a 0-0 tie.
Ravenna beat the locals 3-0, but the rematch was a 2-2 tie. Harmon also gave perennial powerhouse Hudson a run for its money, taking a 1-0 lead into the second half until the Explorers got a couple of goals.
HARMON'S regular center forwards were Marina Nelson, Amanda Zepernick and Julia Polaski. "They controlled the offense and led the attack with shots and goals," said Frankmann.
Center mid was played mostly by Izzy Roselli, Paige Nelson and Katy Fellenstein. "Their passing set up most of our scores," Frankmann said.
At attacking wing mid, Kailin Fleming, Lauren Choban and Sophia Palma used their speed and endurance to take the ball deep into the opponent's half before cutting in to goal, or crossing the ball into the forwards.
"Holding wing mids Hanna Baltes, Julia Hirsch, Hannah Most, Gilda Chestney and Maggie Pike connected our defense and offense by playing the ball up the wings and moving up in support of our attacks," Frankmann said.
"Our first line of defense is at center defender / stopper, and in that position Megan Erdmann, Eliza Clark and Becky Skidmore proved to be quite tough. Securing our wings were left and right defenders Marissa Stojanovich, Hannah Janoch, Alexis Torer and Kaitlyn Loyd.
"Our final line of defense were our sweepers Morgan Riedel, Sophia Roberto and Alena Paul. In goal, we relied on the courageous and effective play of Grace Tomasko, who going into the final game had 74 saves."
Harmon's leading scorers were Marina and Paige Nelson, Roselli and Zepernick. Most assists were by Fleming and Palma, and most shots on goal were by Palma, M. Nelson, Zepernick and Fleming. Leading passers were Roselli, P. Nelson, Fellenstein, Palma and Paul.
Leading defenders were Riedel, Roberto, Erdmann, Clark, Paul, Stojanovich and Baltes.
Frankmann gave many thanks go to parent Brian Polaski for keeping stats.