MIFFLINBURG - Fresh off their first-ever District 4 Class 3A championship along with their first trip into the PIAA quarterfinals, Mifflinburg's girls soccer team had five girls selected to Heartland Athletic Conference-I First Team, as selected recently by the league's head coaches.
Named to the first team for the Wildcats were sophomore forward Sarah Fritz, senior midfielders Peyton Yocum and Emily Walls, senior defender Grace Weber and senior goalkeeper Kristi Benfield.
Yocum was also selected as an All-State selection out of HAC-I.
"It's a great feeling, each one of them deserves the credit and wish we could of gotten more (on the first team). This year was a total team effort," said Mifflinburg coach Erich Hankamer. "Those five made what our season was. It also helps when you have two tough center mids siting behind Peyton."
In addition for Mifflinburg, Hankamer was named Coach of the Year for the first time after taking over the program three years ago.
Hankamer led the Wildcats to a 20-2 overall record, which included a 9-0 mark in conference play to result in the HAC-I title. Mifflinburg went on to claim the district title to advance to the state tournament for the first time in program history.
"It's a nice feeling (to be honored), and it shows that going back to basics has its successful moments. I wouldn't have gotten (the honor) if these girls didn't buy in and push themselves all season. All the credit goes to them," said Mifflinburg's coach. "A lot of the season it was nice and easy to watch, and other (games) I was ready to pull my hair out. Having the success we did and playing the simple game were the best moments and brought back how the game was supposed to be played."
Other HAC-I first-team members included Lewisburg junior forward Sophie Kilbride and senior defender Elena Malone, the latter also garnering All-State honors.
Kilbride scored eight goals to go along with five assists this season, plus her and Malone led the Green Dragons to a 9-7-3 record (4-1-2 HAC-I) and a berth into the District 4 Class 2A playoffs.
A great season by Milton resulted in the Black Panthers taking five spots on the first team: senior forward Janae Bergey, sophomore forward Mackenzie Lopez, senior midfielder Leah Walter, senior defender Riley Murray and junior goalkeeper Morgan "Mo" Reiner.
"I am very excited about our five, first-team selections, one second-team, and two honorable mention all-stars. They are all very deserving!" said Milton coach Rod Harris. "We had a fantastic season and a great team. We were solid all around at every position.
"It shows how much of a TEAM we actually were being recognized in all of the positions," added Harris.
Lopez led the Black Panthers with 20 goals and 13 assists, plus Bergey added 19 goals and 13 assists, Walter had 10 goals and 16 assists as the team rolled to a 14-4-1 record (7-2 HAC-II, 2nd) and made the District 4 2A semifinals.
Defensively for Milton, Reiner was rock solid in goal all season long as she made 150 saves and allowed just 21 goals.
"It's always great to have your top players, especially seniors recognized amongst the League. Its extra special for me this year, since this was my first class when I started coaching four years ago," said Harris of his senior group that compiled a record of 41-29-4 and made two trips into the district semis. "They have accomplished a lot and turned the Milton Girls Soccer program around.
"For the younger players, they are just as much a part of all this team's success!" added Milton's coach. "They will build on everything that we have accomplished over the past four years. It is an exciting time at Milton for both of our soccer programs."
Also landing on the Division II first team was Warrior Run junior defender Lindsey Trapani.
Heartland Athletic Conference
2021 All-Star Teams
Forwards: Averi Dodge, sr., Shikellamy; Sadie Komara, sr., Shamokin; Lily Saul, sr., Montoursville; Sarah Fritz, so., Mifflinburg. Rachel Keister, so., Midd-West; Sophie Kilbride, jr., Lewisburg. Midfielders: Wiley Egan, sr., Shikellamy; Ella Magee, jr., Selinsgrove; Peyton Yocum, sr., Mifflinburg; Emily Walls, sr., Mifflinburg; Lily Shutt, sr., Midd-West. Defenders: Taylor Sees, sr., Shikellamy; Sarah Hoover, sr., Shamokin; Cierra Adams, sr., Selinsgrove; Natalie Reeder, jr., Montoursville; Grace Weber, sr., Mifflinburg; Elena Malone, sr., Lewisburg; Cassie Ronk, jr., Shikellamy. Goalkeeper: Kristi Benfield, sr., Mifflinburg.
Forwards: Kailee Helmrich, sr., Williamsport; Sophia Feathers, jr., Shikellamy; Carly Nye, so., Shamokin; Tyeana Barge, sr., Selinsgrove; Taylor Beachy, jr., Mifflinburg; Aliyah Neece, jr., Jersey Shore. Midfielders: Mallory Pardoe, sr., Williamsport; Paige Fausey, jr., Shikellamy; Madyson Waugh, sr., Shamokin; Erin Mullen, sr., Selinsgrove; Madison Moll, jr., Montoursville; Chloe Sauer, jr., Midd-West. Defenders: Elizabeth Shultz, so., Williamsport; Rorey Egan, so., Shikellamy; Gianna Gamble, fr., Selinsgrove; Emma Martin, jr., Midd-West; Madison Cardello, sr., Lewisburg; Averi Maihle, jr., Jersey Shore. Goalkeepers: Adelia Engel, sr., Williamsport; Madison Lippay, jr., Shamokin.
Honorable Mention: Madison Briggs, sr., Central Mtn.; Mia Kopysciansky, sr., Central Mtn.; Sara Pecchia, sr., Jersey Shore; Gracie Welshans, jr., Jersey Shore; Caroline Blakeslee, fr., Lewisburg; Maria Bozella, fr., Lewisburg; Becca Yount, sr., Midd-West; Rylee Weaver, jr., Midd-West; Avery Metzger, jr., Mifflinburg; Ella Shuck, jr., Mifflinburg; Payton Bragalone, jr., Montoursville; Lydia Ernest, jr., Montoursville; Abby Parise, so., Selinsgrove; Veronica Stanford, sr., Selinsgrove; Ally Waugh, so., Shamokin; Kennedy Petrovich, so., Shamokin; McKenna Zellers, jr., Shikellamy; Blaire Balestrini, so., Shikellamy; Miah Jones, jr., Williamsport; Matison Cramer, sr., Williamsport.
Coach of the Year: Erich Hankamer, Mifflinburg.
2021 All-State Selections: Yocum, Mifflinburg; Elena Malone, Lewisburg; Gehret, Southern.
Forwards: Loren Gehret, sr., Southern Columbia; Cassidy Savitski, sr., Southern; Mia Chapman, sr., Mount Carmel; Mackenzie Lopez, so., Milton; Janae Bergey, sr., Milton; Haley Bull, fr., Central Columbia. Midfielders: Summer Tillett, sr., Southern; Evelyn Cook, sr., Southern; Leah Walter, sr., Milton; Sophia Clark, so., Hughesville; Lindsey Bull, jr., Central; Madeline Evans, jr., Bloomsburg. Defenders: Lindsey Trapani, jr., Warrior Run; Riley Reed, sr., Southern; Riley Murray, sr., Milton; Kathryn Schluter, sr., Loyalsock; Sydney Hunsinger, sr., Central; Lauren Boyer, sr., Bloomsburg. Goalkeepers: Mo Reiner, jr., Milton; Alyssa Shuman, jr., Bloomsburg.
Forwards: Raygan Lust, fr., Warrior Run; Amara Bieber, so., Warrior Run; Sophie Shadle, jr., Southern; Libby Fortin, so., Hughesville; Teagan Serrano, fr., Bloomsburg; Brynna Zentner, so., Bloomsburg. Midfielders: Maggie Sheets, jr., Warrior Run; Leah Grow, sr., Warrior Run; Alexis Beaver, sr., Milton; Kara Thompson, sr., Danville; Madison Whitesell, sr., Central; Madelyn Blake, so., Central. Defenders: Emma Genners, jr., Southern; Leah Shedleski, jr., Mount Carmel; Haley Sypniewski, jr., Mount Carmel; Norah Barry, jr., Central; Rachel Williams, jr., Bloomsburg. Goalkeepers: Rylie French, sr., Loyalsock; Karsyn Cox, so., Central.
Honorable Mention: Ava Billmeyer, so., Bloomsburg; Camden Wasielewski, fr., Bloomsburg; Paige Flaugh, sr., Central; Mary Grace Duncan, so., Central; Maddy Sauers, jr., Danville; Jill Nied, so., Danville; Sarah Gardner, sr., Hughesville; Hailey Poust, jr., Hughesville; Rhandie Jessell, sr., Loyalsock; Emma Strickland, jr., Loyalsock; Lilly Batman, fr., Milton; Ryen Roush, jr., Milton; Rachel Witkoski, jr., Mount Carmel; Gabby McGinley, jr., Mount Carmel; Colby Bernhard, sr., Southern; Marlee Swank, sr., Southern; Addyson Ohnmeiss, fr., Warrior Run; Madelyn Ross, sr., Warrior Run.
Coach of the Year: Ryan Polly, Central Columbia.