PHOENIXVILLE - The Phoenixville Phantoms lost out on a Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four berth last year on a tiebreaker.

By PHOENIX STAFF REPORT

PHOENIXVILLE - The Phoenixville Phantoms lost out on a Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four berth last year on a tiebreaker.

This year's team has lost eight starters from that team that went 8-4-1 in 2007 (13-7-1 overall). However, there is a silver-lining in what some could perceive as a tough road ahead ... leading scorer Miranda Peto is back for the Phantoms as is goalie Rachel Yacovett.

Peto was quite the offensive force throughout the PAC-10 last year notching 28 goals in the 21 contests.

Junior Yacovett is back between the pipes with plenty of experience, and should be more than capable of keeping the Phantoms in their games this season.

"We are basically a new team after losing those eight starters," head coach John Tornetta said. "We want to be competitive, and, of course, we are hoping to be in the top two in the small division.

"We let a couple of games get away from us last year. Hopefully, we can win those close games this year. We've just got to learn to win the tight games."

The Phantoms' coach is in his 11th season with the purple and white, and will also count on players such as Charlsie Moore and Nora Gerstenberger this season.

Youth will certainly be served as sophomores Maggie Kochinsky and Lindsey McAvoy are being thrown into the proverbial varsity fire.

"We had a decent JV team last year," Tornetta confirmed. "If the girls can make the transition from junior varsity to varsity we should be alright."

Phoenixville will also be expecting solid play from the likes of Alex Gyuris, Molly Ferguson, and Monica Fosnocht.

SPRING-FORD

The Rams have a positive outlook on things heading into this year as 11 seniors return to the program with four of those being starters.

Coach Jane Ehnot is also back for her third season at the helm of the Rams' program that went 8-5 in PAC-10 play (11-6 overall), and qualified for the District 1-AAAA playoffs.

The Rams have the sights set on making a return trip to the postseason, and would like to start the trek earlier with a berth in the PAC-10's Final Four by garnering one of the top two spots in the big-school division.

"We're kind of excited," Ehnot said. "These are the kids we've coached since seventh grade. We were the middle school coaches, and now they're seniors. If everything goes well, that's our goal (PAC-10 playoffs). It's going to be tough. But it's going to be tough for everyone this year."

The Rams are counting on the efforts of seniors Jill Harple, Ashley Wood and Laura Ujobe. Junior Taylor Crabtree will also be a expected to be a significant contributor.

Harple scored a team-high 12 goals in 2007 for the Rams.

ST. PIUS X

The Winged Lions earned the top spot in the small-school division last year making the Final Four, but have graduat

ed nine starters from that team that finished 13-6 overall (9-4 PAC-10).

With all that talent and leadership gone, head coach Cathy Daller will look to a new crop of seniors and juniors to make their own noise.

Senior Ali DeGregorio scored 21 goals last year, and should be one of the top goal scorers again this season. Fellow senior Emily Daller will be one of the main cogs in the defense for the Winged Lions.

Junior Sinead Kelly and sophomore Ali Burns also figure on being major players in the Lions' success.

"Things are coming together," said coach Daller. "We're anticipating a decent season. It's going to be an exciting year."

OWEN J. ROBERTS

Head coach Clarence Jennelle returns for his seventh season with the Wildcats, and hopes that his squad can once again be one of the contenders for a spot in the Final Four.

Last season's 9-4 mark in the PAC-10 (14-10 overall) was good enough for a spot in the league's championship circuit, but came up short in the title game to Perkiomen Valley.

The Wildcats are counting on a pair of seniors in Jess Tamburo and Leah Salindong, and four juniors in Kim Mooney, Emily Feurtsch, Kelly Bonner and Caitey Mitchell.

"Hopefully we're in the top three out of the whole PAC-10," Jennelle said. "Our biggest problem is when we play on grass, it's going to be tough as what we do.

"They don't even mow our grass anymore with the turf. We do the best we can to get prepared for grass. The grass games are going to be our big thing."

GREAT VALLEY

Coach Joe Tornetta lost eight seniors from last year's team, which was almost half of last year's roster.

So, to say the Patriots are a little young would not be wrong.

Returning seniors include Anna Lorine, Kelly Waite and Jessica Smith, while a strong crop of juniors will be counted on to build off of the experience they received last year.

Amanda Tabb, Emily Hagar, Elaine Grazulis, Rachel Orlow, Jess Nawojski and Becca Hasz are the aforementioned juniors that Tornetta and the Patriots will look to to have success this season.

Great Valley also graduated its two goalies from last year, so the Patriots are going to be looking for a new netminder.

VILLA MARIA ACADEMY

The defending District 1-AA champions are coached by Maurene Polley in her 41st season at the helm.

Local talent such as Marie Elena Bolles, Molly Murphy, Christine Dolente, Sera Berlacher and Katie Briglia are all returning members of the Hurricane's team.

The Hurricanes - 20-4 last year - will be counting heavily on that local talent to make another run at the postseason.

"I'm cautiously optimistic," Polley said. "We lost some key people out of our defense. We are trying to jell in the back end of the defense. We're anticipating doing as well as we did last year, but you never know.

"We're working hard ... we do have some very good players coming back. Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off. Once I get a game under my belt, I'll know a little more of what to expect."

Information for this preview came courtesy of the JRC Wire Service.

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