The Berkshire High School girls soccer team has achieved program-setting success on the pitch this fall.
Led by freshman forward Lexi Boyk and junior defenders Asya Martin and Jo Miller, the Badgers begin Division III district tournament play at Hawken Thursday having won a program-best 10 regular season matches.
Boyk’s 25 goals and 19 assists are new single-season marks, and position the underclassman to claim the career records in 2017.
“Lexi leads a very strong and deep freshman class for us,” second-year head coach Rick Nerone said of the Chagrin Valley Conference first-team selection. “The sky is the limit for Lexi.”
Boyk has tallied a program-record 69 points and is the Badgers’ offensive headliner, but with a conference-best eight all-stars, the Badgers have proven to be a complete team.
Martin is a two-year captain and defensive stalwart.
“Asya is absolutely the heart and soul of the defense and the team,” Nerone said. “She is a hardnosed player.”
Credited with four goals and eight assists, Miller has been a factor in both phases of the game.
“Jo is a hard-working player with a never-quit attitude,” Nerone said. “She is one of the anchors of the defense.”
Senior forward Jenna Landrus, junior goalkeeper Cat Lillibridge and junior midfielder Amber Taraska earned second-team all-conference recognition this week.
Landrus, a captain, has netted 13 goals and tallied seven assists in her second full varsity season.
“Jenna has a motor that keeps going and going,” Nerone said. “She comes into practice every day with a positive attitude and tries to get better.”
In her second full season guarding the net this fall, Lillibridge set the program’s single-season record for shutouts with 10, and in the process, earned the career mark with 14.
“She comes to practice every day and leads the way in every drill we do,” Nerone said. “What she has been able to accomplish over the last two seasons is absolutely
Taraska, the team’s leading scorer in 2016, was moved to the midfield this fall and tasked with controlling the game.
“Amber is having her best all-around year,” Nerone said. “With Amber, Jenna and Lexi, we have three girls who can score at any given time, making us very hard for other teams to defend.”
Freshman defender Katelyn Zeliznak and freshman Megan Filby earned honorable mention All-CVC honors.
Berkshire’s banner campaign in 2016 followed a transformative 2015 season that saw Nerone take over and instill a new culture with an emphasis on year-round, continuous improvement.
From 2008 through 2014, the Badgers posted a 28-83-10 record. In the past two seasons, Berkshire has posted a 17-11-2 mark.
“Last season, we had six girls play club soccer and that number should double this year,” Nerone said while noting many Badgers are three-sport varsity athletes. “What we have done the last two years is truly remarkable, and a testament to how hard the girls, my assistants and I have been working.”
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