Local girls’ soccer team to vie for berth in nationals
A blend of players from his Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High school program and some of their Suburban Council opponents could give Brian Bold part one of a nice going away present this weekend.
Morgan Burchhardt and Skye Kaler, two veteran varsity players for the Spartans, are among the Alleycats Lynx players Bold is taking to Lancaster, Pa., for the US Youth Soccer U16 girls’ regional championships.
The winner from the 16 teams advances to the national championships, set for July 24-29 in Rock Hill, S.C.
Bold, whose high school teams have won Section II titles in each of his seven years as head coach (with six state final four appearances), is stepping away from club soccer once this season concludes,
“This is the 16th season I’ve coached club, and I said at the beginning last fall that this was going to be my last one,” said Bold. “This group has given me a great going away present.”
The Lynx earned their spot among the best teams in Region 1 (New York, New England, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania) with a 1-0 win over FC ISA Sting of Westchester on June 3.
Jenna Retell — who transferred to the Burnt Hills school district from Lansingburgh along with her twin sister, Julia, during the winter — got the goal, heading in a Burchhardt corner kick.
“It was a great game,” said Bold. “I didn’t think one goal was going to be enough, but the girls played great.”
The Lynx — who also includes players from Shenendehowa (Makala Foley, Paige Byrne, Jaclyn Romano), Niskayuna (Meghan Doyle), Guilderland (Emily Center, Lauren Kogelmann, Brittney Pulliam) and Shaker (Kate Essepian) — are in a rare spot.
“The boys’ teams from the area usually get a team through to this stage, but I think it’s been a while since any girls’ team has advanced,” Bold said.
Burchhardt, Kaler, the Retell twins, Foley, Pulliam, Essepian and Briana Blunk of Coxsackie have been the core of the group that Bold has coached for the last four years.
“It’s a nice blend,” he said. of the Lynx. “Most of them are from the Suburban Council, but there are also girls from Ichabod Crane, Taconic Hills, Schuylerville, even one from Massachusetts.”
The Lynx open play in Pool C with a 4:45 p.m. game today against the Portland Firecrackers. They play Classics Academy from the tournament host city at 1:15 Saturday, and compete pool play Sunday morning at 9:45 against Empire United of Rochester.
The four pool winners advance to Monday morning semifinals, with the championship set for 8 a.m. Tuesday.
“I like our group,” said Bold. “We’ll see what happens.
“If nothing else, the girls will have something to remember, having played at this level.”
Brianna Blunk, Coxsackie; Morgan Burchhardt, Burnt Hills; Paige Byrne, Shenendehowa; Emily Center, Guilderland; Meghan Doyle, Niskayuna; Kate Essepian, Shaker; Makala Foley, Shenendehowa; Mariela Jacome, Ichabod Crane; Skye Kaler, Burnt Hills; Lauren Kogelmann, Guilderland; Alyssa Latimer, Taconic (Mass.); Marissa McCarthy, Schuylerville; Brittney Pulliam, Guilderland; Jenna Retell, Burnt Hills; Julia Retell, Burnt Hills; Jaclyn Romano, Shenendehowa.