Planets keeping winning ways intact this year

September 25, 2019 Cranberry Local Sports

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Mars' Taylor Hamlett (38) celebrates a goal she scored in the WPIAL playoffs last year. Hamlett and the Planets are rolling again this season, averaging six goals per game.

The Mars girls soccer team never fails to have an attack that is potent, balanced and often times, overwhelming for opponents.

This year is no different.

Through seven games, the Planets (6-0-1) have scored 42 goals. A number of players have contributed to the onslaught, including forwards Taylor Hamlett and Caroline Wroblewski and midfielder Ellie Coffield.

The trio combined for 69 goals and 62 assists a year ago with each one being named All-WPIAL. Those efforts helped Mars reach the WPIAL Class 3A title game and the state quarterfinals.

Their play comes as no surprise to Mars coach Blair Gerlach.

“We like our attack against anybody,” he said. “We can play a possession game or run and gun and are able to come at a team from different angles.”

Hamlett, a senior, is the leader of the group.

Throw in junior defender Gracie Dunaway, who has also shown the ability to score often when called upon, and the Planets' knack for finding the net is a big reason why the team, once again, is a strong candidate to play deep into November.

Mars isn't the only team with players in the process of building on great efforts from a year ago. Seneca Valley (5-2-1) features senior midfielder Breana Valentovish, the reining Butler Eagle Girls Soccer Player of the Year after scoring 19 goals and adding nine assists to help the Raiders claim the WPIAL 4A title in 2018.

“She's our biggest threat and everybody knows it, but she handles the pressure well,” said SV coach Mark Perry.

SV has no juniors on this year's team, but Valentovish has helped the underclassmen step up their game.

“She's a born leader and the other players look up to her,” added Perry.

Morgan Sinan had her mettle tested last year — and passed with flying colors.

Now a senior goalie, she was kicked in the head during a state playoff game against Central Dauphin. After briefly sitting on the bench, she returned to make three saves on penalty kicks and also scored the clinching goal that sent the Raiders to the PIAA quarterfinals.

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Derek Pyda

Derek Pyda

- Graduated from Connellsville High School in 1996
- Graduated from Clarion University in 2000 with a Bachelors in Communications
- Have also written for Clarion News (Clarion, PA) and the Herald-Standard (Uniontown, PA)
- Started at the Butler Eagle on April 2, 2002
- Interests include sports, history and geography