Kierstyn Fogle posted some gaudy numbers during her first two seasons in an East Juniata uniform, but her focus was always on the team.
As it turned out, much of East Juniata’s success hinged on Fogle’s productivity and the way she tormented opposing defenses.
Fogle wound up with a remarkable 106 points on 47 goals and 12 assists as a junior as East Juniata stormed through the Tri-Valley League, winning 17 of 18 regular-season outings before claiming a third straight TVL postseason crown.
Two weeks later, the Tigers made a return trip to the PIAA Class A tournament field after beating Line Mountain, Meadowbrook Christian and Bloomsburg — a trio of victories that landed the Tigers a District 4 Class A crown.
Although EJ was sidelined in the state quarterfinals by the same Fairfield side that dealt the Tigers (22-2-0) their lone regular-season setback, there was still plenty to celebrate.
For Fogle, that celebration continuesas she was named The Daily Item’s Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“As a team, we really wanted to win districts since we’d come so close the past two years,” Fogle said. “And we wanted to have a good run into states, but we were so excited to win districts because we knew we could (make that happen).
“I didn’t really expect to get as many goals as I did, but I definitely wanted to make sure I was scoring for my team since I was the center forward,” Fogle continued. “I felt that was definitely my job whenever people played me good balls.
“I had to do that.”
Fogle did just that, typically several times a game. Her presence at the attacking end caused teams to chase her with multiple players, which allowed her teammates to become more dangerous.
“It does have an effect when you have a prolific scorer on the field,” East Juniata coach Val Dressler said. “There may have been games when she may not have been getting the ball much and she would come off frustrated. We would tell her not to worry about it and to just keep moving, because what she wasn’t seeing was how a defender was always with her.
“Her movement would open up spaces for teammates that otherwise may not have been there. This is one of the reasons why we didn’t rely on just one or two players to score. Kierstyn worked hard every minute, whether she was scoring or not.”
Fogle scored 60 goals during her first two high school seasons, and most of those goals came while she was situated at one of the flank forward spots. As a junior, Dressler opted to move Fogle centrally and shifted fellow wing Thea Neimond into an attacking midfield role directly behind her.
It was hardly an unfamiliar scenario for the high-scoring tandem, since Fogle and Neimond, a first-team Daily Item selection, played similar roles during club soccer.
“It was a (slight) adjustment because we hadn’t played that way with this team, but Thea and I played together in those center positions on travel teams for many years so we knew how to reach each other,” Fogle said. “I think we figured some things out pretty well.”
Since Fogle is fairly accomplished with both feet — she’ll tell you her left needs some work — defenders can’t overplay her to one side or the other. Fogle can finish and facilitate.
“The best part about Kierstyn is that she is extremely versatile,” Dressler said. “She is strong and confident on both feet. She can send in arching crosses or hit a hard shot from 20 yards out. She can defend when needed. She is quick and runs forever, and most importantly, she is a natural goal scorer.”
Fogle will carry some impressive career totals into her senior year (107 goals, 36 assists), so sometime early next season she’s likely to slip past Neimond to become EJ’s all-time leading goal scorer. Former teammate Hailey Swartz also netted 100-plus goals.
In the meantime, Fogle will make several weekly trips to Mechanicsburg to train with an HMMS club team. That squad played in Florida and North Carolina since high school ball ended and will be back in Florida next month.
That may help lead to a future in college soccer, Fogle’s also pondering her final high school season — one filled with lofty goals even though Neimond and three others will walk at graduation.
“Yes we do (have expectations),” Fogle said. “We’re definitely going to be missing our seniors, but if we work hard we can come back and hopefully be strong.”
“As far as next year, the team will be different,” Dressler added. “It’s our job as coaches to play a system that works best for what kind of players we have. Kierstyn will be an important part to that and we expect her to continue to produce.
“She is fun to coach and she just loves to score.”