L-L LEAGUE GIRLS' SOCCER 2012: Rapid transit - LancasterOnline: Sports

L-L LEAGUE GIRLS' SOCCER 2012: Rapid transit

Like the rest of District Three, the league is playing its final spring campaign to be quickly followed by its fall debut

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Posted: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 10:42 pm | Updated: 10:43 am, Fri Nov 1, 2013.

You can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs.

And Manheim Township girls' soccer coach Terry Law, for one, has been hungry for this for a long time.

Unless you're a local girls' soccer fan who's been living under a rock for the last year or so, you might have heard that District Three - along with the three other remaining districts (1, 11 and 12) still playing girls' soccer in the spring - will all join the rest of Pennsylvania in playing in the fall later this year, immediately following the current spring season.

As with any change, there are good things and bad that are bound to go with that.

But in Law's opinion, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

"It's something I've looked forward to for a long time," said Law, who joins Cocalico's Dan Hogan as the Lancaster-Lebanon Girls' Soccer League's longest-tenured coaches (12 seasons). "To have a split state championship was kind of strange and we were the only sport to have that. We've heard all the talk about spring ball versus fall ball. And for that reason I look forward to (the move) because it legitimizes (the state title).

"That being said," Law added with a laugh, "it (the transition) is going to be insane."

For a number of reasons.

For starters, with boys' soccer also being played in the fall, where will schools find the fields to host all of these games? And where will the PIAA find the officials to staff them?

Then, of course, there's the near-immediate transition from finishing one season in June and starting practice for a new season in August.

"It will be cool to see how well teams transition," Hogan said. "It's going to be a good weird."

One of the most trying elements, according to Law, will be for teams to replenish their rosters with new talent - a task he and his staff annually start by scouting incoming freshmen in club ball each October.

And, according to Law, you also can't overlook the little intangibles.

"We'll bring a pretty good group of kids back (in the fall)," Law said, "but the whole leadership will change. And I think that's going to be the thing: how quickly we can make that transition from the leadership (we have) now to the leadership (we'll have) in the fall, and that's a really big part of it."

The switch to the fall is one of many changes permeating through the L-L Girls' Soccer League this spring.

For starters, three perennial District Three and PIAA powers are all under new direction, with Jason Hottenstein taking over for Bill Zapata at Penn Manor, Andrew Keener replacing Dale Stoltzfus at Lancaster Mennonite, and Scott Steffen taking the reins from Heather Kemp at Donegal.

Because of low numbers, one program - Section Four's Lebanon Catholic - isn't even fielding a team.

And finally, for one of the few times in the 20-year history of the league, a team from somewhere other than mighty Section One is seen as the L-L League favorite by a handful of the league's coaches - that being 2011 Section Two runner-up Conestoga Valley.

"Some pressure there," CV coach Pete Shellenberger said.

Especially considering that since the league was founded in 1992, Lancaster Mennonite (1993-95 and 2008) is the only non-Section One team to have won L-L gold.

Not that CV - which won its lone L-L title in 2007, when it played in Section One - has exactly been a pushover in recent years.

If you recall, the Buckskins reached the league final in 2008 and 2010, and were ousted by eventual champion Penn Manor (2-0) in the L-L semifinals last year.

"They didn't lose much of anything," Law said of CV. "And their sophomore and junior classes are the ones who are pushing that team."

A sign that the buzz surrounding the Buckskins is valid could be seen in early-season wins over reigning Section Two champ Warwick, last year's Section One runner-up Hempfield, and reigning Section One and L-L champion Penn Manor.

Keep in mind that Hempfield (7) and Penn Manor (4) have combined to win 11 of the 20 L-L titles since the league was formed.

Meanwhile, another Section One power Manheim Township, which has four league crowns to its credit - and returns a solid nucleus from last year's PIAA Spring semifinalist team - was also a popular pick as an L-L favorite in a preseason coaches poll.

"It could be an interesting season," Law said.

In more ways than one.


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