Honesdale girls soccer team honored at annual awards banquet
Fans, family members and friends came out in force Monday night to honor members of the 2018 Honesdale girls varsity soccer team.
The Lady Hornets turned in a solid performance this fall, despite their schedule being continuously affected by Mother Nature.
Coach Eric Eisele's squad saw Lackawanna League matches either postponed or cancelled a staggering total of nine times. However, the local lasses kept working hard and remained focused, two traits that eventually paid big dividends.
Honesdale finished up the fall campaign with an overall record of 11-8-0. The Red & Black battled their way to a number seven ranking in the AAA power rankings and earned a spot in the district playoffs.
Sadly for local fans, the Lady Hornets saw their gold medal hopes dashed in the quarterfinals via a 4-1 loss at Scranton Prep.
Neverthless, veteran head coach Eric Eisele told a big crowd at the annual banquet that he considered the season a rousing success.
“We had a great year,” Coach Eisele said. “I think we more than lived up to expectations. I really enjoyed working with these girls this season.
“We played in a very tough division. And, to come away with a winning record and a spot at districts says a lot about their work ethic and character.”
The highlight of each year's gala banquet is the presentation of varsity award winners.
Monday night was no exception as four talented, hard-working young ladies were recognized for their dedication to the program.
Natalee West, Camden Bannan, Mackenzie Meagher and Sadie Wood were each lauded for their on-field accomplishments during the 2018 season.
West is a junior who anchored the Lady Hornet defense from her position at sweeper. She was named to the Lackawanna League Division I Second Team All-Stars and is Honesdale's Defensive MVP.
“Natalee is a tenacious defender,” Coach Eisele said. “She's incredibly fast and never gives up on the ball. Natalee is a very good leader on and off the field. She has a bright future.”
Bannan has only been playing organized soccer for three years, but it only took her one year to carve out a spot in the starting line-up. Camden is a senior defender who was honored with the Coaches Award.
“I couldn't ask anthing more from Camden,” said Coach Eisele. “She came to work every single day and always gave 100 percent. Camden never backed down from a challenge and made life very difficult for the opposition.”
Meagher is a senior who transferred into the Lady Hornet program when her family moved from Florida.
Mackenzie is a talented athlete who quickly evolved into one of the Lackawanna League's top scorers. She led the Red & Black with 21 goals and 14 assists, which led to a First Team Division I All-Star nod and Honesdale's Offensive MVP award.
“The thing I like best about Mackenzie is her great attitude,” said Coach Eisele. “She creates opportunities for herself and her teammates. Mackenzie is a tough kid with great field vision. She's obviously a good scorer, but she's a good distributor too.”
Wood has been the face of the franchise for two years now. The battle-tested keeper finished up her senior season with 168 saves and an eye-popping total of eight shutouts.
Sadie is a multi-sport standout who also excels on the softball field. She is this year's Lackawanna League Division I First Team All-Star keeper. She is this year's overall MVP.
“Sadie is just a very good, very smart soccer player,” Coach Eisele said. “She has great hands and sees the field really well.
“Sadie communicates with her teammates and is very aggressive playing the ball. She knows her angles and makes people really uncomfortable when they try to shoot.”
Honesdale finished 7-7-0 in league action this fall and notched several impressive wins along the way.
One of the highlights of the season was a first-ever win over perennial District Two powerhouse Abington Heights.
And, while the team loses several key players to graduation, the future looks bright for the Red & Black.
“I'm certainly not leaving the cupboard empty,” said Coach Eisele, who is handing over the reins after 20 years at the helm. “We have a very nice nucleus coming back.
“I'm excited to see what the girls can do next year and I'll definitely be there to cheer them on.”
Eisele was honored by his players, assistant coaches and the booster club in an emotional pre-match ceremony in late October.