West/North Xtra: Quakers starting out on right foot
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The Quaker Valley High School girls soccer team got off on the right foot, so to speak, in Section 5-AA thanks in large part to the feet of junior forward Greer Monahan and senior midfielder Katie Hughes.
Making its Section 5-AA debut after playing in Section 3-AA the previous two seasons, Quaker Valley jumped on South Fayette early and the Quakers went on to win, 4-0, behind a pair of goals each from Monahan and Hughes.
"Section play is the most important," Quaker Valley coach Mike Pastor said. "We were excited to test ourselves. South Fayette is very good and they are only going to get better.
"We had a strong game that day and got a couple of early goals. We were able to keep our confidence high. We were pleased with the result."
Pastor's players echoed his sentiments.
"It was a great win, especially early in the season to get us going and it felt really good especially because they were ranked," Monahan said.
Quaker Valley opened the season by winning the Avonworth tournament title with wins over Highlands and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. After it blanked South Fayette it played rival Sewickley Academy to a scoreless tie in a non-section game.
Quaker Valley, ranked No. 5 in WPIAL Class AA, was 4-0-1 overall, 2-0 in section play heading into Wednesday's third section game against Keystone Oaks.
Quaker Valley has to deal with a new Class AA powerhouse in its section. Moon Area, a perennial contender in Class AAA, dropped to Class AA for the first time in program history.
"It is definitely a very difficult section with Moon moving down to Class AA," Pastor said. "Moon is definitely one of the top teams to beat and Montour and South Fayette are very good. Then you have teams such as West Allegheny and Keystone Oaks that are very dangerous and with Carrick and Obama [former City League members], these are teams we have not played before."
Quaker Valley had to replace seven seniors who graduated last season.
"We are a young team," Pastor said. "This year it is just a matter of filling some holes. Although we are inexperienced in terms of starters, the girls who have moved in have game experience."
A lot of that game experience comes from Monahan who scored 14 goals last season as a sophomore. She led the team with eight goals through five games.
Last year she had the benefit of playing with forward Eve Bowers, one of the fastest players in the section who would draw plenty of attention from opposing team's defenses. Bowers has graduated but taking her place atop the 4-4-2 formation is sophomore forward Megan Amoroso, a player who demands attention as well from opposing defenses.
"They try to mark both of us," Monahan said. "They mark us hard because we are both pretty fast and they have picked up on that."
Along with Monahan and Hughes the other returning starters are senior Morgan Felt, senior center back Laura Stinson and junior outside back Sammie Pugh. Felt, Stinson and Hughes are the three senior captains for Quaker Valley.
The Quakers will continue section play on Monday at Obama Academy before a major section showdown next Wednesday at Moon.