By PAUL WAGER
NORTHVILLE — Having won the 2019 Section II Class D championship, the Northville girls soccer team is hoping to finally have the opportunity to defend its title this fall.
The Lady Falcons went 8-1-1 overall and in Western Athletic Conference play during the Fall II season last spring. Northville lost Kerrigan Groff, Kaytelenn VanHeusen, Grace Forsey, Jaycee Frasier, Hannah Lent and Morgan Mackey to graduation. Groff and Forsey were named to the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports Class D all-state first team, while Doug Hammons was named Class D Coach of the Year. Forsey is playing soccer at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.
Despite the losses, Hammons said his team is in good shape heading into the season.
“Each season brings a new group of girls,” he said. “You always have holes to fill, but there’s always someone that steps up to fill them, We lost some good seniors, but we’ve got a lot of returning players that have experience.”
That group includes goalie Emma Peck, who registered six shutouts during the Fall II season.
Northville’s defense, which allowed just four goals in 10 games last spring, also returns.
“I think this is going to be a pretty tight-knit group,” Hammons said. “Everyone is going to have a role and it’s up to them to find it. Playing time is earned though and not a gift.”
Sophia Reidell, Ryann Morse, Ciara Thompson, Kaelin Thompson and Talia Klippel are the team captains. Klippel is the lone senior among the five.
lippel and Kaelin Thompson also served as captains during the Fall II season.
“I’m proud of the leadership provided by Talia and Kaelin. They ran the summer training for me and did a great job,” said Hammons, who will be assisted by Rick Richardson.
Northville boasts a total of 36 players on its varsity and junior varsity teams.
“Our numbers are good,” Hammons said. “Our program is on solid ground.”
Northville will open the season with a non-league contest at Bolton on Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m. before traveling to Broadalbin-Perth for a non-league contest on Sept. 7.
The Lady Falcons will host Duanesburg in their Western Athletic Conference opener on Sept. 8. It is one of just five home games for Northville this season as the other 11 regular-season contests will be played on the road or at neutral sites.
“Our schedule is a tough one this year,” Hammons said. “We only have five home games and we’ve got some tough non-league games.”
Northville also will be taking part in the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports Hall of Fame Tournament on Sept. 11 and 12. The Lady Falcons will face Section V’s Wheatland-Chili at Niskayuna Soccer Park on Sept. 11 and Section IV’s Marathon at Shenendehowa High School on Sept. 12.
“Wheatland-Chili and Marathon are good teams. Playing them on back-to-back days will be a tough test for us,” said Hammons, who is entering his sixth season as coach.