Archbishop Wood girls' soccer coach Bill Cappo maintains that Christine Verrelle, his standout midfielder, had one job on the team. Of course, it was a pretty big one.
"She took care of the middle," he said, succinctly.
Based on what the Vikings accomplished this season and in the previous three seasons, The Inquirer's player of the year did her job.
With the senior captain leading the way, the Vikings won their fifth Catholic League championship in nine years, including their fourth straight. Verrelle was a key reason the Vikings made it to the PIAA Class AAA championship game before losing a tough, 1-0 decision to Peters Township of District 7.
Verrelle was particularly on her game in the run-up to the state championship game. The Vikings won three games in the state tourney, all by one goal.
"It was a great run," the four-year starter said. "It was a disappointment to lose the final game, but I don't think we were as sharp as we could have been. That's the biggest field I've ever played on."
She conceded that playing at Hershey Stadium might have been a little intimidating.
With Verrelle leading the way, the Vikings finished the season with an impressive 23-2 record. They lost their first game of the season to Central Bucks South, then proceeded to run off a 23-game winning streak, the longest in the area this season.
"She's just so strong," Cappo said. "She's a three-time all-Catholic League selection and she gives 100 percent all the time she's out there."
What made Verrelle so good in games, Cappo said, was that ability to control the middle, offensively and defensively. She led by example.
"The players respect her. They wanted to play as well as she did," Cappo said
Verrelle, who was named MVP of the Catholic League, began playing CYO soccer at St. Matthew Parish in Philadelphia before the family moved to the Abington area.
"I heard that a good athlete was coming," Cappo said. "And she was."
Good enough to not only play a championship soccer team but on a championship basketball team as well. Wood won the PIAA Class AAA girls' championship last season. She's back for another shot.
The Vikings' chances would appear to be very good.
Verrelle is one of 14 returnees to a team that was 26-5 last season. The Vikings will be the No. 1 team in The Inquirer's preseason rankings, which come out Thursday.
"Yes, she's a very good athlete, Cappo said. "But she's an all-around good person."
All-Area Girls' Soccer Team
Kelsey Celline, Archbishop Wood, Jr.
Celline scored 35 goals, a school record, as the Catholic League champs reached the PIAA Class AAA title game.
Megan Schafer, Neshaminy, Fr.
Schafer was named the player of the year in the Suburban One League National Conference. She scored 20 goals.
Gina DiTaranto, Strath Haven, Jr.
A product of the Olympic Development Program, the Panthers standout can play up front or in the middle.
Kelly Kerrigan, Downingtown East, Sr.
Kerrigan was an excellent playmaker for the Cougars. Her 20 assists to go with her 14 goals attest to that.
Christine Verrelle, Archbishop Wood, Sr.
She was the player who made the four-time Catholic League champion Vikings go. According to coach Bill Cappo, she "controlled the middle."
Salina Williford, Conestoga, Soph.
An Olympic Development Program player, Williford made great use of her quickness and speed. She led the Pioneers with 20 goals and 14 assists.
Stevi Parker, Pennridge, Soph.
She played beyond her years for the Rams, who made it to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals before losing to state runner-up Archbishop Wood, 2-1.
Catherine Maugle, Owen J. Roberts, Sr.
Maugle, who was named most valuable player of the Pioneer Athletic Conference, will play at Dickinson next year.
Ashley Saylor, Council Rock South, Sr.
Name the position and Saylor has played it. She's headed to West Chester University next season.
Lindsay Horst, Central Bucks West, Jr.
The MVP of the Suburban One Continental Conference helped lead the Bucks to the PIAA Class AAA playoffs, where they lost to Conestoga.
Emily Armstrong, Perkiomen Valley, Jr.
An extremely athletic keeper, Armstrong has the ability to punt the ball 60 to 70 yards out of her end of the field.
Mary Kate Callahan, Council Rock South, Sr.
Emily Marvill, Upper Dublin, Sr.
Hollie Garber, Boyertown, Jr.
Kelsey McDonald, Unionville, Sr.
Kasey Schiavoni, Villa Maria, Sr.
Moira Petrie, Lower Merion, Soph.
Melissa Chapman, Lansdale Catholic, Sr.
Morgan Dankanich, Downingtown West, Sr.
Katie Walston, Unionville, Sr.
Molly Phillips, Pennsbury, Sr.
Krissy Welsh, Strath Haven, Soph.
Nicole George, Bishop Shanahan; Becky Houpt, Downingtown East; Jill Root, Haverford; Carly Balk, Hatboro-Horsham; Stephanie Lobb, West Chester East; Jessica Ryan, West Chester Henderson.