Stover, Gilbert to keep on kicking

Photo by Barry Taglieber
Phoenixville senior girls soccer players Sara Gilbert, left, and Bailey Stover will be attending Wilkes and Alvernia, respectively.
Photo by Barry Taglieber Phoenixville senior girls soccer players Sara Gilbert, left, and Bailey Stover will be attending Wilkes and Alvernia, respectively.

PHOENIXVILLE - Two of Phoenixville girls soccer coach Jason Short’s prized pupils will be continuing to play their game at the collegiate level.

Seniors Bailey Stover and Sara Gilbert made their official announcements during a briefing at the senior high school television studio on Tuesday, April 23.

Stover, a midfielder, has decided to attend Alvernia University in Reading while Gilbert, a defender/goalkeeper, has picked Wilkes in Wilkes-Barre.

The two Phantoms helped lead the team into the Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four playoffs as well as to the District 1-AA semifinals last fall.


Stover has been a three-sport starter at Phoenixville in soccer, basketball and lacrosse. She said she is considering also playing lacrosse at Alvernia, which the Division III school permits.

Alvernia has been at the top of Stover’s possible college choices for a long time.

“In November of my junior year, I first came into contact with coach Bill Bonewicz,” said Stover. “I chose a smaller school and it is nearby. It also has the major I wanted, which is athletic training.”

Stover also felt comfortable when she went for her visit to Alvernia and was introduced to the current players on the roster.

“I went to meet the team this past weekend,” said Stover. “It is like a family. They accepted me already. I am excited to play for them.”

Stover is unsure as to whether she will be playing a midfield position or defense in college.

Her other possibilities included Elizabethtown, York, Eastern and Misericordia.

Stover and Gilbert are also happy they will be meeting on the field again at the collegiate level. Alvernia and Wilkes play one another in inter-conference games.

Gilbert talked about the recruiting process.

“Coach Sumoski sought me out and talked to me after tournaments for one or two years now,” said Gilbert. “I also had to couple in the decision whether I wanted to play or not. It would be club if I went to a Division I school.

“Wilkes was the school I wanted when I went to visit. I absolutely loved it there. They made me feel at home. So right away I decided to commit to play soccer there.”

Gilbert played exceptional soccer as a goalie at Phoenixville, but her natural position is defensive back. She expects to play on the right side of the defense for the Colonels.

Wilkes advanced to the loop semifinals last year before dropping a tough game.

“Their program is growing and growing,” said Gilbert. “I think it will be a committed team to be on.”

Gilbert selected Wilkes over Widener, Elizabethtown and Delaware, where she would have played club soccer.

Gilbert’s main ambition is to become a doctor of physical therapy. Her field will require graduate school following the undergraduate years leading to a bachelor’s degree.

Short discussed his two four-year soccer players.

“Sara has done a tremendous job,” said Short. “I watched her grow as a positive leader. It was also a privilege to watch Bailey grow and improve as a leader. (They both) assured us of a place in the Final Four and districts.”

Stover was accompanied by her mother, Brenda Stover.

Gilbert was accompanied by her parents, Johanna and Christopher Gilbert, who are both Phoenixville graduates.