Lady Chucks look for bounce-back season

PUNXSUTAWNEY — To say the Punxsutawney Area High School girls' soccer team wants to have a better year is an understatement.

New Head Coach Bridget Rheaume is looking to lead her young Lady Chucks team to a better record, but honing the skills is the most important part of that.

"I want to improve their skills," Rheaume said. "Hopefully, we can end up having more wins because of that."

Through three days of practice, Rheaume said that Emily and Anna Horner, Claire Smith and Courtney Huffman are among the many players that caught her eye early on.

One challenge that Rheaume will have in her first year behind the bench is the plethora of young players on the team.

If you see some freshmen take the field this year, it's not just because they're talented, but because Rheaume needs to field a full team.

"I have a lot of ninth graders," Rheaume said. "You have to play 11 players, and I don't actually have 11 upperclassmen, so a lot of ninth graders will play."

The Lady Chucks' offense is good, but defense could be a challenge this upcoming season.

"We have a good offense, but our defense, except for one player, is all new," Rheaume said. "Other than working on our defense, I think we have a good team."

One part of the defense that is solid and accounted for is junior goalkeeper Allie Fye.

When Rheaume was asked about her goaltending situation, she let out a quick "good" with a smile to show there are no concerns with the play in the net this year.

As opening day nears, the Lady Chucks can't help but look at their 2013 schedule. Clearfield, who gave Punxsy fits last year, is tough, but there's another team that Rheaume feels poses a greater threat.

"Our hardest team this year is Karns City," Rheaume said. "Clearfield really beat us bad last year, but it was our last game of the season when we were down some players."

All in all, the team has the potential to improve its record from last year.

When asked to fill in the blank of what the team needs in order to have a successful season, Rheaume simply said "focus."

"If we have focus, I think we'll do alright," Rheaume said."