PAHS girls’ soccer 2008 preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 4, 2008

As they continue to build the varsity girls’ soccer program in Port Allegany, third-year head coach Travis Cowburn and assistant Tony Edgell welcome back 13 returning letterwinners to the team. Two of the seniors, fullback Jenn Anderson and goalkeeper Cortney Barnett, will serve as co-captains this year. “The leadership always counts,” Cowburn said. “I’m looking for Jenn and Cortney to really lead the way. They are our rocks.”

Bryanna Evans, who shared the 2007 team scoring lead with fellow midfielder Amanda Kelly, was one of just two freshmen named to last year’s Upper Allegheny League All-Star team. “That doesn’t happen often,” Cowburn said. “I’m looking for big things from her.” Evans and Kelly, along with forwards Kari Drabert, Shanel Halle, and Nikki Lovell, should play key roles in the Gators’ offense.

There’s a wealth of experience behind them, as midfielders Amarae Reinard and Kaitlyn Kio and defenders Anderson, Jessica French, Brandi Niles, Brittney Drabert, and Kelly Mulcahey all earned significant playing time last season.

The energetic Cowburn, who played collegiate and club soccer, is still adapting to coaching at the high school level. “I demand a lot from them,” he said, “and they’re giving me 100 percent most of the time.” He also went out of his way to compliment the community league, which “has done wonders” in teaching the game.

While young, the varsity program is starting to show signs of progress. “I don’t believe we know how to win yet,” Cowburn admitted, “but it’s coming. We’re getting hungry. They’re looking for it. The first year, we started eight girls that had never really played organized soccer before; last year, I started six. So it’s a learning experience all the way around … but it’s coming.”

The team’s first-ever win, a 1-0 final against Dubois Central Catholic last September, was a critical step in that learning process.

“It was really important for morale,” Cowburn said. “The year before was so horrendous, with just starting everything, and we only had 13 girls. But the people are starting to come out; they’re starting to look at it a different way.

“When the whistle sounded (to end the game), the big monkey was off the back. Time to get down to business, and this year hopefully we’re going to put it all together. This year, our goal is to win six, and steadily work up from there.”


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