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Westtown girls’ soccer aims to repeat as Friends Schools League champs

Goalkeeper Natalie Neumann anchors a defense that has seven shutouts this season.

Westtown goalie Natalie Neumann has been a starter since her freshman season.
Westtown goalie Natalie Neumann has been a starter since her freshman season.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

There is the star goalie, the star scorer, and the star midfielder.

Together, seniors Natalie Neumann (the goalie) and Sara Oswald (the scorer), and junior Emily Coe (the midfielder) form a constellation of leadership and talent that has the Westtown School girls' soccer team planning for another long run in the Friends School League playoffs.

And that's not all.

In addition to playing together at Westtown and for the Penn Fusion Soccer Academy, the three captains are best friends off the field. The bond formed between the inseparable trio will likely carry into college with all three girls committed to play at Lafayette College. Neumann, Oswald, and Coe made independent decisions when it came to choosing a college but look forward  to enhancing what they have already developed together.

"It's going to be a really unique situation," said Oswald. "I think our chemistry at Lafayette is going to be off the charts."

Westtown assistant coach Paul Lehmann agreed.

"What's neat for me is there is a 100 percent chance that they'll be friends for life," said Lehmann, who had served as head coach or co-head coach of the Westtown girls' team for seven years, from 2006-2007 and 2012-2016.

After winning the program's first Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association title in 2016, Westtown claimed its first FSL championship in 2017. This year's squad was 9-1-1 overall through Monday with a perfect 6-0 mark in FSL action.

Neumann, the team's starting goaltender since her freshman year, has given up just four goals en route to seven shutouts this season. In 66 career games, Neumann has recorded 34 clean sheets.

Neumann’s numbers

  1. 2018 (as of 10/19/18): 4 goals allowed. 1 goal allowed in Friends School League play. Average goals against is .3 per game. Overall record: 9-1-1 (7 shutouts)

  2. 2017: 15 GA. 3 GA in FSL. Average GA .79 per game.  Overall record: 15-4-1 (11 shutouts)

  3. 2016: 19 GA. 6 GA in FSL. Average GA .90 per game.  Overall record: 15-6 (12 shutouts)

  4. 2015: 28 GA. 6 GA in FSL. Average GA 1.65 per game. Overall record: 13-5 (4 shutouts)

"Our program has gotten stronger in large part because Natalie has been back there making key saves and helping us win games," said Lehmann. "She comes up big in the big moments."

Oswald is the school's all-time leading goal scorer (boys and girls) with 79 career goals. She credits Emily Sands, who graduated from Westtown in 2016 with 66 career goals, for much of her success.

"She was a huge role model for me," Oswald said of Sands. "I think she was important for me to get comfortable at Westtown."

Sands, who now plays at Penn, was a four-time letter winner in soccer at Westtown. She scored 26 goals her senior year to earn FSL MVP honors. Lehmann said Sands is a big reason for the program's recent success.

Coe, who solidifies the midfield, said the team went into the 2018 season with a positive attitude. She said great coaching and strong communication skills have led to the team's strong record.

Multi-sport athletes Halle Brown, Amaya Douglas, and Emily Ellis have all made key contributions this year. Madelyn Boctor, Mayah MacColl Nicholson, Whitney Tracy, and Sophia Linder make up Westtown's starting backline.

Lehmann has been a driving force in the push to make the Westtown girls' soccer program into a regional powerhouse. And he said he felt confident handing over the keys to head coach Scott Bissett in 2017.

"We were fortunate enough to bring Scott on board to build upon the foundation we've been able to establish," Lehmann said.

A native of Dundee, Scotland, Bissett began his coaching career at 17 and has been involved in grassroots, club, and collegiate coaching ever since. He is also the Director of Camps and Recreation with Penn Fusion Soccer Academy in West Chester.

Next up for the Moose are the FSL semifinals that are scheduled for Oct. 27.