Something that has gone on the past four years is guaranteed not to happen this season for the
Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.)
girls soccer team.
Morgan Reuther will definitely not be the leading goal scorer.
The Knights are embarking upon another campaign with high hopes, but will be doing so without the dynamic player who led the team in goals in all four years she played at the Washington, D.C. area school. While that might make some coaches nervous about how to replace the numbers, Knights leader Alberto Starace has the luxury of many returning underclassmen who won't need time to acclimate. His hopes are that one (or a combination) of those girls steps into the role that Reuther held for so long before moving on to the University of Virginia.
See all the 2013 Fall Soccer Early Contenders
And leadership from the coaching staff most definitely won't be an issue, as Starace was named the Regional Coach of the Year last season by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. All that comes together to make Bishop O'Connell a national title Early Contender presented by adidas and Dick's Sporting Goods.
It's not one name that will lead this year's team to success. It's a slew of names. And that depth can only help in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, one of the nation's toughest.
Last season's second-place finish in the league (64-13 scoring margin) will be motivation to get back on top, a spot Bishop O'Connell is plenty used to. The Knights have made 20 trips to the WCAC title match in 28 years, winning 10 of them.
But none of those trips since 2006 have ended with a title.
It's strength in numbers this season for Bishop O'Connell, which has a program record of 438-72-48, and Starace has a large group of juniors that are hungry to leave their legacy at the school. Replacing Reuther and leading passer Kara DeGuisto won't come easy - but nothing really comes easy in the WCAC.See our special Bishop O'Connell photo galleryLocal look:
"Bishop O’Connell just couldn’t find a way to stop Good Counsel senior Midge Purce. The Knights had several opportunities to even the score but could never get the ball past (Megan) Hinz. O'Connell's only two defeats this season were at the hands of the Falcons."- Boris Tsalyuk, DCsportsfan.com, after last season's title match loss