Every soccer team needs players who can advance the ball.
More importantly, however, is knowing what to do after advancing it.
Southern Columbia’s Morgan Cole is a master at it.
The Tigers’ senior midfielder led the area with an outstanding 20 assists, many of which came off of big runs to the outside, to earn The News-Item’s Player of the Year name.
Cole had just three goals during Southern’s state title-winning season but used accurate ball placement in both passing and corner kicks to help bolster the team to the Class 1A crown.
Her lightning speed helped the Tigers consistently push towards the net throughout the year.
A silent leader, Cole had a role in the team’s winning play in Hershey, delivering a solid corner kick that allowed for the team to get several opportunities in front of the net before scoring in overtime.
This year’s all-area team is led by Southern Columbia with nine overall selections, followed by Shamokin and Line Mountain with three each, and Mount Carmel with two.
Below are capsule looks at the remaining players on the team in alphabetical order:
Emily Bingaman, Line Mountain, sr.
Scoring 10 goals and adding 10 assists during a solid senior season, Bingaman contributed to the Eagles with both passing and attacking the net. She also took the vast majority of the team’s corner kicks.
Kari Cambria, Southern Columbia, sr.
Ending the season with 11 goals and nine assists, Cambria provided a balanced attack for the Tigers. Her 31 points earned is second only to the team’s top two scorers, Maggie Morrison and Morgan Marks.
Mia Chapman, Mount Carmel, fr.
One of three freshman on this year’s all-star team from The News-Item, Chapman jumped right into the former role of the now-graduated Nicole Varano, who earned player of the year honors last season. Chapman scored a team-high 16 goals and also managed four assists.
Kaitlyn Dunn, Shamokin, jr.
Dunn finished the year with 14 goals, which tied for the top spot on the team with freshman Sadie Komara. She had 54 shots on goal during the season and scored two penalty kicks.
Gina Gratti, Southern Columbia, jr.
Gratti got ample playing time during her inaugural season and has grown to be one of the top defenders on the team over the last two years.
Sarah Hoover, Shamokin, fr.
The youngest defender on this year’s all-star team, Hoover proved herself to be a solid defender throughout the year for the Indians.
Morgan Keim, Line Mountain, sr.
One of just two players on this year’s team that scored more goals than games played, Keim had 19 scores in 18 appearances for the Eagles. She also had six assists.
Sadie Komara, Shamokin, fr.
Another freshman all-star for the Indians, Komara proved her worth on offense, tying for the most on the team with 14.
Daniela Mangiapane, Mount Carmel, sr.
A solid player for Mount Carmel with both good speed and great defensive instincts. Mangiapane showed she was capable of both defending against attacks and quickly moving the ball up field.
Morgan Marks, Southern Columbia, jr.
The leading scorer for the Tigers, Marks also had five assists during a spectacular junior campaign. Her superior ball control abilities helped create scoring opportunities.
Jill Marks, Southern Columbia, sr.
A silent leader of the team, Marks served as the leading defender and also played a part in the title-winning goal in Hershey. She had four goals on the year and assisted two.
Maggie Morrison, Southern Columbia, jr.
Morrison showed her abilities for the entire state to see when she booted a goal in from about 30 yards out to send the state championship game into overtime. She had 16 goals on the season, second only to Morgan Marks, and also had seven assists.
Sami Palacz, Southern Columbia, sr.
A gritty defender who got the opportunity to score the game-winning goal in Hershey, Palacz used hustle and intelligence to keep opponents away from the Southern goal.
Halley Shaffer, Line Mountain, fr.
Following a great open to the season, Shaffer never slowed down, going on to become the leading scorer in The News-Item’s coverage area with 24 goals in 19 games. She also had four assists.
Tori Romania, Southern Columbia, sr.
Romania had nine assists and four goals during a solid senior outing with the Tigers. Two of her four goals were game winners.
Rilyn Wisloski, Southern Columbia, jr.
Though she was no doubt helped greatly by an extremely competent Tigers defense, Wisloski proved to be the best goal keeper in the area by a long shot. The junior goalie managed 126 saves and nine shutouts. She allowed only 22 goals in 25 games.