Palisades head girls soccer coach Mark Chilton doesn’t think of his team’s season totally as a rebuilding one, but the Pirates certainly are in the midst of a transformation.
They lost 10 seniors from last year’s team that managed to stay in the Colonial League hunt and also was a stronghold in the District 11 playoff format the past few seasons.
With their 2-0 victory over Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg Monday, the Pirates raised their overall mark to 2-3 after they suffered a defeat to league power Moravian Academy by the identical score two days earlier.
“We lost some fabulous players who were very influential in the program,” said Chilton in reference to the unit that sparked the program. “We’re hoping to figure out our new identity.
“We have new people in new places. In a sense, we rebuild every year, and this can be a transition year for us.”
Emma Flinchbaugh and Cassie Mitsch are the lone seniors on the team, and junior basketball standout Trinity Williams is in the net after she split time there last season.
“Emma came back after she hadn’t played since her freshman season, and Cassie has been a forward for us. She has done a great job defensively for us,” said Chilton.
“Trinity really came on strong for us at the end of last season. She has taken a step forward this season, and she’s a fabulous athlete. She is using her 6-foot frame and is great at getting the high balls. But now she is able make herself more horizontal, and continues to make strides.”
Fellow junior and basketball player Sydney Odle tallied both goals in the Notre Dame win and has four goals through the first five games.
“She is our offensive threat,” said Chilton about Odle. “She is fast and strong and gives defenders headaches.”
The Pirates have battled through inexperience as well as injuries this season. In a recent game against Salisbury, they were able to dress only 13 of their 18 players on their roster.
“At times, it has been a struggle,” added Chilton. “We have had a bunch of new players in spots throughout the season. We have had several freshmen getting some meaningful playing time.”
The win over Notre Dame marked the third game of a five-game stretch over seven days. How they navigate through the final two games could be a barometer for the rest of the season.
“We’ll see,” said Chilton. “We will start to get healthier and our younger players are getting more confident. It can be a factor in the trajectory of this team.
“We have a tough schedule and played Southern Lehigh tough in a 3-0 loss. I like the effort so far and once we settle down, we should be in a good spot.”