HERSHEY — The Camp Hill girls soccer team may have been hanging their heads after falling to District 7 runner-up Shady Side (17-4) 4-0 in the PIAA Class 1A title game on Saturday morning at Hersheypark Stadium, but, if that silver medal around their necks said anything, it was this.
There is room for improvement. And the Lions are young and capable of getting right back to Hershey next year.
This experience will definitely help the Lions (16-9) in 2018.
They made their first trip to states despite a rocky regular season that included a coaching change, intrateam sqaubling and a rough start to the year. But the squad is now closer and more respectful of each other than ever.
The team will only lose one starting senior (Anne Johnson), according to coach Jared Latchford, and that just means the Lions will be fully loaded come next season.
The Lions also graduate role players Elizabeth Jones, Kristina Pinder and Elizabeth Wilson.
Sheridan Reid, who led the team with 36 goals and 82 points, is only a junior.
Julia Raich, a freshman with 15 goals and 55 points, also returns after an extremely promising year that included splitting time with another PIAA qualifier: the girls cross country team.
And goalie Kendal McCall will be back to anchor a young and talented defense.
“We had many freshmen step up this year and they were a huge help,” Reid said. “They’ve all gotten better since the beginning of the season and finally built up their confidence once we hit districts. I think our young team finally knows what we are capable of doing and how we can be a threat towards other teams.”
Needless to say, Latchford’s lineup for next season is already looking promising.
“I’m really excited for next year. I worked with the middle school team a little bit last year, as well, and we have some talented players coming up from there, too,” Latchford said.
Camp Hill’s historic season came to an end a victory short, but the experience they have gained in the postseason will undoubtedly help the team’s confidence.
“I’m really excited about the future. We have Jules back, we have Sheridan back who are our top scorers,” Latchford said. “Our defense is young, as well, and with Kendal as a freshman, it’s just good things to come. We have a year of experience with being in the state finals now and the season has helped them to be motivated.
“They’re ready to go and they’ll know that they’re winners going into next season.”
“Making it to the district final and the state final showed us that hard work and determination can get us anywhere,” Reid said. “I never would’ve guessed that we would make it to the district final, let alone the state final, in the beginning of the season. We definitely will push each other harder next year and really focus on what we need to improve on.”