One thing that will change for sure is the addition of Eastern York, which will play in Division II and force Spring Grove to move up to Division I. With the move, both divisions will now six teams.
Here’s a look at the best entering the season:
1. Kennard-Dale (19-2, 10-0 Division II): With YAIAA Player of the Year Nicole Black and a host of others back, the Rams are the clear-cut favorites again. They also are senior laden with Black, Haley Romoser, Taylor Davis and Alana Pietra. All were All-YAIAA performers last season, with Romoser and Davis on defense, and Pietra at goalkeeper. However, Pietra hasn’t been in the Kennard-Dale net for quite some time. She returned to the Rams after time with York Catholic and rejoins sister Abby Pietra. While the Rams should be able to stop teams, coach Kelly Wetzel must replace three attackers.
2. South Western (15-4, 8-0 Division I): The Mustangs are poised once again in Division I. They return Sydney Szparaga, who’s bound for Siena after this season. She scored 44 goals and had 19 assists last season. Jessica Kopenhaver scored 30 goals as an attacker but will move to midfield. She had 14 assists. Callie Kavanaugh also is back as an attacker, where she scored 60 goals and dished out 19 assists last season.
3. York Catholic (16-4, 8-2 Division II): The Fighting Irish will try to do what they just missed last season and be the first divisional rival to hand a loss to Kennard-Dale. York Catholic topped South Western in the league tournament semifinals before losing the final to K-D. When the rivals meet again, goalkeeper Alana Pietra will be back with the Rams to team with her sister Abby. But here’s what the Irish still have — senior All-YAIAA attacker Alexis China, the program’s all-time leading scorer. She’s led the team in scoring during each of her first three seasons. Meanwhile, Katie Linthicum returns on the defensive side of the field. The Irish could have youth injected into their lineup with a handful of freshman capable of earning playing time, plus returning sophomore midfielder Shannon Moore.
4. Susquehannock (10-7, 6-4 Division II): The tough part for the Warriors is playing in a division with Kennard-Dale and York Catholic. To combat that, they return senior attacker Brooke Classing and sophomore midfielder Ashley Valway. They also have a new coach. Steve Marshner moves over from the boys’ program.
5. West York (8-8, 4-6 Division II): Like Susquehannock, West York is more a victim of its division than anything else. However, they return LaSalle-bound Allee Ilgenfritz and Sara Sweitzer.
Keep an eye on …
– Spring Grove (7-11, 2-8 Division II): The Rockets will look to climb their division with seniors Shelby Grosberger, a center/midfielder, Emily Bankert, attacker, and defender Heather Wivell. Junior goalie Amanda Craver returns in net.