Honesdale and Wallenpaupack Area are just embarking up on the '08 regular season. The Lady Hornets are defending WVC Division 'C' champs, while the Bucks will be in the thick of the Division 'B' race.

Wallenpaupack Area and Honesdale have wildly different roads to travel this spring in Wyoming Valley Conference soccer action.

The Lady Bucks compete in Division ‘B’ and have already kicked-off their ‘08 campaign. The Red & Black are still at the mercy of Mother Nature and probably won’t take the field for a Division ‘C’ game until this weekend.

Coach Eric Eisele’s Hornets are scheduled to open the regular season today at MMI Prep, but as The Wayne Independent went to press, weather was still a factor.

Next up on Honesdale’s schedule is a weekend journey to Valley West. The Hornets are tentatively slated to make their home debut Monday against Tunkhannock.

“I’m very optimistic about the season,” Coach Eisele told TWI Sports. “If we keep working hard in practice and maintain our focus, there’s no reason we can’t challenge for a division title. We have a pretty well-rounded team this year and I like the way the early part of our schedule looks. But, we’re not taking anything for granted. This is a pretty tough league and there aren’t any easy games.”

Honesdale rolled to an 11-2 record last year and copped the Division ‘C’ crown. However, the Red & Black suffered a disappointing first round loss to Wilkes Barre Coughlin in the District Two Class AA play-offs. On a bright note, Coach Eisele welcomes back eight starters from that championship squad.

“We have a nice mix of veteran players and youngsters,” he said. “If we can establish good chemistry and play the way I think we’re capable of playing, we should be right in the thick of things again. I’d really like to get back to districts and make some noise.”

Meanwhile, on the shores of The Big Lake, Paupack opened its Division ‘B’ title quest with an impressive win over Wyoming Area. The Lady Bucks received goals from Lauren Cassel, Kim Barry and Sara Olson en route to a 4-0 victory.

Heather Michael posted the shutout between the pipes. Paupack’s talented sophomore keeper made five saves on the day. Wyoming Area’s Jen Mataosky turned away 15 Lady Buck shots.

“We didn’t look as sharp as I’d like, but we’ll take a win any way we can get it,” said Coach Soskil. “I think we were well-prepared and executed the gameplan, but I’d like to see the girls play with a little bit more fire early in the game. It’s obviously early in the season, but we need to start building some confidence.”

With the win, Paupack improved its overall record to 2-1 on the season. Next up on the Purple People agenda is a pair of non-league games in Lancaster County Saturday.
The Lady Bucks then travel to the Diamond City for a battle with longtime rival Wilkes Barre GAR. That WVC contest will get underway at 4:30 p.m.

Looking to Defend
Honesdale’s varsity girls soccer team made school history last season by winning its first-ever WVC title. After a shaky start to the ‘07 campaign, the Red & Black reeled off 11 consecutive wins to edge Crestwood for the Division ‘C’ crown.

Kayla Hartley, Lucrezia “Grace” Manzione, Karly Gelatt, Dayna Canning, Allison Clark, Caitlyn Cottell, Allaina Propst and Maureen “Mo” Ordnung all return from that squad and give Honesdale the inside track toward a title.

Hartley, who is already a three-time WVC all-star, was named to the All-Region Team in ‘07. Kayla led the division in scoring by a wide margin. Opposition defenses will need to know where Kayla is at all times or risk having their net peppered with shots.

Gelatt and Ordnung also finished up the ‘07 regular season among the league leaders in scoring. Clark, Manzione and Cottell received all-star recognition, too. These upperclassmen will be asked to provide leadership for the next generation of Lady Hornets.

“There are some younger girls on this team who could contribute right off the bat,” said Coach Eisele. “I think by the end of the season as many as three freshmen might see some time in the starting line-up. We’re a pretty deep team.”

Honesdale will have its hands full trying to defend that WVC title. Hazleton Area, Wilkes Barre Meyers and Hanover are all expected to contend. MMI and North Pocono are new additions to the mix. The Preppers are making their scholastic debut in girls soccer, while the Trojans moved down from Division ‘B’.

Propst will be in goal for the Lady Hornets. Clark & Cottell, both of whom were recognized for their outstanding play a year ago, form the backbone of the defense.