Golden Knights planning to push bar higher: 2022 girls' soccer preview

Dante Green
York Dispatch

Eastern York is ready to ride into battle again for another season of girls' soccer. 

The question is whether or not the Golden Knights can surprise again. They turned a lot of heads last year in the York-Adams League, finishing second in Division II and winning 13 more games than the year prior. Eastern went 14-5-1 after a one-win campaign in 2020.

The Golden Knights defeated Division I champ Dallastown in the league semifinals, 1-0, bucking the traditional domination of D-I schools. They then made an appearance in the York-Adams League championship but lost to Central York, 2-0.

Eastern York lost some key players, but the team is ready for the challenges of the upcoming season. 

"Even though we lost players, we are still striving to be great," senior Aby Zumbrum said. "We have new players coming in and we do a good job shifting and supporting each other."

Chrissy Crumling, the reigning D-II coach of the year, and the Golden Knights are looking for their first-ever league playoff title in girls’ soccer this season.

Eastern York girls’ soccer head coach Chrissy Crumling during Media Day at York Newspaper Company in West Manchester Township, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Eastern has a squad full of seniors but must deal with the loss of first-team Division II all-star Abby Henise. Also, senior Brooke Lehman caught a tough break when she tore her ACL during the offseason. Lehman will not play this season but said she will take a bit of a coaching role on the team and help keep the girls motivated. 

Crumling said losing Lehman is devastating but that the Golden Knights have a strong overall group. 

“We have a lot of seniors that are used to shifting to different places, so I think we will figure it out," Crumling said. "Brooke has always been a coach on the field, and for her to still stay involved, I think she still will be able to give us that part."

Lehman said she’s been given the chance to still contribute. 

“Coach has been working with me to help the team in any way and analyzing film will help me and the team," she said. "I hold them close to me, they are my family and it will help me overcome the injury."

Eastern York girls’ soccer senior Brooke Lehman during Media Day at York Newspaper Company in West Manchester Township, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Gettysburg is leaving the division, but Northeastern is coming in. Crumling said the Golden Knights will prepare for Northeastern like the challengers that they are. 

“I think they will be just as tough a matchup if not more," Crumling said. "They are well-coached and a good team."

The Division II runner-ups said they are aiming for similar success, if not more, this fall. 

Eastern York senior girls’ soccer defender Abigail Zumbrum during Media Day at York Newspaper Company in West Manchester Township, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“We set the bar high last year. We want the bar to be there. We have to maintain and reach for that," Crumling said. "We came from a place where we weren’t very successful for a few years straight. It was nice to be there last year, and we’d like to stay on top."

Here's a capsule look at the team:

  • Team: Eastern York Golden Knights
  • Coach: Chrissy Crumling
  • 2021 record: 14-5-1
  • Key loss: First-team all-star Abby Henise 
  • Key returns (2021 Division II all-stars in bold): Annelies Brenenborg, Sophia Hoff. Brooke Lehman, Hanna Sellers, Aby Zumbrum
  • Schedule: Aug. 27 vs Muhlenberg; Sept. 6 vs Kennard-Dale; Sept. 8 at Dover; Sept. 10 vs Solanco; Sept. 13 vs Northeastern; Sept. 15 vs West York; Sept. 17 at York Suburban; Sept. 22 at Susquehannock; Sept. 24 vs Donegal; Sept. 26 at Northern York; Sept. 27 at Kennard-Dale; Sept. 29 vs Dover.