With a new head coach and 12 new players joining a veteran group, excitement is building around the Carlow women’s soccer program as it prepares for the 2018 season.
The Celtics finished a solid 2017 campaign with an 8-6-2 overall record and a 3-4-2 River States Conference record.
This year, Allen Duda takes over as the Celtics’ head coach, bringing more than 20 years of coaching experience. Most recently, he served as the Baldwin High School varsity boys’ soccer coach and was named the WPIAL AAAA Section 2 Co-Coach of the Year.
Two transfers — Alexa Schwab (SO/Conway, Pa.), from Kent State University, and Madison Amaro (JR/Yuba City, Calif.), from Feather River Community College — and 10 freshmen — Gabby Adams (Carrboro, N.C.), Lauren Forte (Johnstown, Pa.), Ashley Howard (East McKeesport, Pa.), Katlyn Kennedy (McKeesport, Pa.), Abigail Marinucci (Dunbar, Pa.), Allison McLaughlin (McKeesport, Pa.), Gabbie Plumer (Oil City, Pa.), Michaela Pry (Monongahela, Pa.), Maggie Schwartz (New Kensington, Pa.), and Lauren Womer (Oil City, Pa.) — add talent and depth to a roster of 14 returning players.
They will be led by First-Team All-River States Conference defender and captain Rachel Flory (JR/Huntington Beach, Calif.), who played every minute of every contest in 2017. She anchored a back line that allowed 20 goals in 16 games and also scoring 10 goals, which tied Malak Shuman (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) for the most on the team, including four game-winning goals.
Schwab and senior forward Kristina Wallace (Jeannette, Pa.) were also named captains for the 2018 season.
Assisting Duda will be Carlow men’s soccer head coach Marcus Pollidore, who was the women’s head coach for the past 10 seasons. Pollidore guided the Celtics women’s program to unprecedented success before beginning the men’s program in 2016.
Lexie Mirenda, Carlow’s starting goalkeeper for the past two seasons, also will bring her experience to the coaching staff as a goalkeeper coach.
The Celtics will wrap up training camp this week and open the season at 2pm Saturday, on the road against Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) University. The Cougars will have two games under their belts before the contest. They are 1-1 after defeating Rio Grande, 1-0, on Aug. 18 and falling to No. 22 Lindsey Wilson, 1-0, on Thursday.
Carlow’s home opener is slated for 5pm Sept. 1 against Madonna (Mich.) University, at Cupples Stadium. The contest will immediately follow the men’s opener against Penn State New Kensington.