First-year head coach Zachary Hamilton and his assistants Hannah Judkins and Sam Lackner, are ready for the WPIAL to take notice of their Chartiers Valley girls soccer team.
“As a staff, we are thrilled about the opportunity in front of us,” Hamilton said. “We have a great group of girls that have already bought into how we do things and are ready to turn some heads this season.”
CV finished 6-9-1 a year ago. Although the Colts know teams such as Class 3A Section 4 rival South Fayette pose formidable threats to their plans.
Hamilton lands at CV after two seasons with South Fayette in 2017 and 2018 and a one-year tenure with the Trinity boys team. He also coaches with Beadling Soccer Club, guiding the 2004 and 2005 girls teams.
Additionally, Hamilton has played the game. He excelled as a center back, playing four seasons under Ian McDonald at Washington & Jefferson College as well as four years at Chartiers-Houston High School.
Outside of soccer, Hamilton is an account manager for TEKsystems, the nation’s leading IT staffing and services company. He resides in the soccer-steeped community of Peters Township with his fiancée, Melanie.
“Between my staff and I,” said the son of John and Amy Hamilton, “I believe we bring a high-energy, passionate, competitive mindset to every training session. We’ll see that carry over into games throughout the season. My expectation is to take an already confident, talented and well-rounded team on a deep playoff run despite a tough section schedule.”
The Colts confidently take on all challengers because they boast two Division I college recruits. Colette Ozbey is bound for St. Francis University in Loretto. Brooke Kelly will play at Cleveland State University. Both are captains. Ozbey is a senior while Kelly is a junior.
In addition to Ozbey and Kelly, CV will also rely on the senior leadership of Abby Byers, Autumn Barger, Aviana Gutierrez, Liz Haniford and Julia Watters.
CV features 10 additional juniors. They include Anna Comis, Cora Brown, Gina Aiello, Grace Woodrum, Honora Armfield, Lyndsey Vassel, Melina Little, Morgan Montani, Nicole Utchel and Sydney Ford.
“Our veteran players will help bring the younger players along and get them up to speed on what to expect with our games. I anticipate their leadership and experience will help guide the group through a tough section and deep into the playoffs come October and November,” Hamilton said.
CV’s roster also includes 10 sophomores and 10 freshmen.
Among the sophomores are Daniella Lacek, Emma Brown, Emma Laughlin, Grace Bogdon, Jenna Cukrzynski, Josie Jones, Mackenzie Day, Mackenzie Minney, Maura Woodrum and Rachel Behhanna.
The freshmen class features: Abigail Deacon, Ava Pellegrini, Ella Kutschbach, Eva Tokar, Julia Vannatta, Kaitlyn Wilson, Madison Crump, Riley Friburger, Sage Gojsovich and Tatiana Adzima.
“We are young, but an experienced, well-rounded group,” Hamilton said. “We have talent at all levels and depth coming off of the bench when needed. They’re a tightknit group that has an outstanding work ethic and a desire to get better every day.”
Consistency will determine CV’s destination. That’s an area the Colts seek to improve upon as the campaign carries on, Hamilton said.
“We’re looking to start with winning the section, and going from there,” he said of the team’s goals for the season. “The expectation is to make a deep playoff run with this talented group.”
Hamilton and his team understand that’s a tall task.
CV will confront teams such as South Fayette, West Allegheny, Montour and Central Valley. Last year, the Colts finished sixth in the seven-team section with a 3-8-1 record. Ambridge won the section with a 9-1-2 mark followed by West-A, Montour and South Fayette.
“The entire section is tough,” Hamilton said. “We don’t have the luxury of taking a section game lightly with all the talent our opponents have on their rosters.”
Hamilton said he has faith his team can achieve its goals.
“Our section is brutal, so we have to be ready for a tough game every night and stick together when things don’t go our way,” he said.