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As districts loom, Faith Christian girls soccer, volleyball are gelling


The Faith Christian Lion boys — 4-0 against AAAA teams — are the soccer story of the fall.

But their Lion girl counterparts are keeping right up with them.

The Faith girls soccer team improved to 11-2-1 after its 8-0 Oct. 11 win over Renaissance Academy. The “W” came four days after the Lady Lions beat AAAA Archbishop Carroll 1-0. Faith took an eight game win streak into press time.

“In the last few games, they have really found their stride as a team,” head coach Rachel Rivera observed. “Our seniors are stepping up and the sophomores have meshed so well. When we played against Delco it was the best I’ve seen them play. That’s exciting.”

Faith handed 2A Saucon Valley one of its three losses after a 5-4 win on Sept. 23. Five days later, the Lions beat Delco Christian 4-0.

“Saucon was a downpour and it was a sloppy game,” Rivera remembered. “But the first half of that game, we saw a glimpse of ‘Whoa, we can be really good.’ Then we put two halves together against Delco and played really, really well.”

Rivera’s team is senior- and sophomore-heavy. Seniors Mya Warshel and Rebekah Frei captain the Lions.

“We have some seniors who have taken leadership and ownership of the team as well,” Rivera said. “The sophomores, last year as freshmen, shocked us. The first time we saw them, my staff and I went ‘Wow! There is a lot of talent.’ We’re excited about that: the talent they had last year but now with the confidence of having a year of varsity under their belts.

“There are so many individually talented players and Delco gave them a glimpse of how good they can be when we play as a team. Some of the goals we scored — a player could have taken a shot but they dished it off to a teammate who had even a better chance or eye on goal,” Rivera continued. “It was a team win and not individual.”

Faith’s nemesis continues to be Dock Mennonite. Faith beat the Pioneers 2-1 to win the 2021 District One title. The Pioneers returned the favor by the same score in 2022.

The Pioneers beat Faith 5-0 on Sept. 5. But just 10 days later, Faith dueled Dock to a 1-1 tie.

“At the beginning of the season, we kind of had a rocky start,” Rivera said. “Dock is one of our biggest rivals. When we tied them, that was a pivotal moment.

“We asked at the beginning of the season what their personal and team goals were. For a lot of them, it was to get back to and win the district final since they had that experience,” Rivera said. “We play a wide range of teams and schools where we can have a close game one day and the next day is not as close. We focus each and every day on using every opportunity we have on the field to one, honor and glorify the Lord who gave us these gifts and two, be better than we were the day before.”

While soccer is having a strong fall outside, inside the gym the Faith volleyball team is putting together another stellar season.

The Lions went 29-5 over the 2021 and 2022 regular seasons. Faith (18-2) is equally strong this fall, not suffering its first loss until a 3-1 Oct. 6 decision to AAAA Souderton.

“We definitely are much stronger all around,” noticed head coach Michelle Lehman. “We have great leadership from our captains. We have strong serve receive and defense from our libero Paige Siuta. Both of our outside hitters are tremendous ball players and our setter Aubrey Pringle brings every area of her game. She is an excellent player.

“A lot more of our varsity plays year round in club volleyball,” Lehman added. “That makes a huge difference.”

This year, Faith has noticeably upped the quality of its non-conference schedule. “There was the recognition that if we were to get into districts and hopefully into states, we need to play tougher teams in our regular season to prepare us,” Lehman shared. “Obviously, once you get into postseason play, it’s the best of the best. We looked to get a tougher schedule to see those teams earlier in the season.”

Class A Faith responded to the challenge, beating AAAA CB East, Quakertown and Upper Darby, as well as AAA Villa Joseph Marie.

Lehman reflected on some of the pleasant surprises that have emerged as the season progressed. Two relative newcomers — defensive specialist Sophia Sebastian and Pennridge transfer Natalia Schmidt — have exceeded expectations. Faith has also gotten strong performances from its middles.

“Our middle hitters graduated so who was going to step in there was a question mark for me,” Lehman said.

The regular season game of the year occurred Friday, as Faith fell at Sacred Heart Academy 3-1. In each of the last two years, Faith’s strong seasons ended with a District final loss to Sacred Heart. Only one A team advances to states.

“Our goal for sure is to get to the state tournament and win districts this year,” Lehman said. “That was something we talked about at the beginning of the season. We got to the finals in the past two years. We just haven’t been able to win that game but we’re hopeful that this year is going to be our year to do that.

“We also want to step up our level of play. To go from being a good team to a standout team,” Lehman continued. “To play with unity. To play for the Lord and glorify Him in that. Those are some of the team goals that we’ve talked about. Obviously, too, there are things like reducing our missed serves.”

The district volleyball semifinal is Oct. 24; the girls’ soccer semifinal is the next day. Both Faith squads look like good candidates to still be playing when the calendar turns to November.

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