North Pocono girls close out the 2018 Lackawanna League campaign

Coming into the 2018 season, North Pocono Head Coach Marissa DiMartino suspected it was going to be a whole new game for her soccer club.

Some could look at her move to the helm of the Lady Trojans coming at the worst time.

The realignment of Division I of the Lackawanna Soccer League certainly was no picnic.

Stiffer competition would mean a challenge for NP.

On the other hand, in the wake of the graduation of All-State player Lacey Rinaldi as well as several other long-time contributing team members, plus the influx of newer talent, the team dynamic was malleable and provided an opportune time to reconstruct the squad.

“We had a great group of girls this year,” Amber Goffredo, the team goalie said. “We had a rough start, but cohesion built as the season went on.”

Rough Road

“It was a difficult season with a lot of challenges,” DiMartino said.

“We had a lot of transitions this season. New coaches, the shift in Division I, and a lot of holes in our line-up gave us a lot to deal with.”

Five Lady Trojan seniors who returned, Susan Nitch, Megan McGurrin, Emily Leggiero, Alana Wright, and Amber Goffredo were First Team division all-stars last season.

Unfortunately, the league realignment meant they wouldn’t be in contention with the same caliber of players this year that they had faced in the past.

The 14-game league schedule would have them face perennial powerhouse squads such as Paupack, Abington Heights, and Scranton Prep twice a season.

The relegation of West Scranton down to Division II meant a pair of usual wins for North Pocono would be off the table.

Consequently, NP was only able to notch wins this season against Honesdale once and Scranton twice.

Ending with a 3-11-0 record meant a 7th place divisional finish for the Lady Trojans. Moreover, the 3-14-0 overall mark put them in 12th place in the District Two AAA power rankings, out of contention for the district title.

“We’re hoping to win the league Sportsmanship Award again,” said Nitch.

“We won it last year. There’s no bickering among the girls on or off the field.”

Good Times

“We fought through to the end in every game,” said Wright.

DiMartino felt in spite of the record, the girls made some serious strides since the season opened over Labor Day weekend.

Passing, defensive skills, and time in possession all increased through the course of the year.

Filling in the holes left by last year’s seniors took some work and everyone on the team went into the season knowing they had an uphill battle.

So, the seniors especially, entered every game with a positive mentality and the goal to have a good time.

“The scores don’t reflect the way we played,” Nitch said. “We had our ups and downs, but we had a lot of fun and we’re a very close team.”

“The seniors have all been playing together since we were in the youth rec league,” Wright said. “Not only have the seniors stuck together, but the rest of the girls are close too.

“I thought it would be a long season with fourteen games, but it went by too fast.”