Lehigh Women’s Soccer forward Ava Schaller has already scored two goals in the first three games as a sophomore. Ava played in all six games as a freshman but didn't score a goal. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Ava Schaller makes a sophomore year leap on the women’s soccer team


Coming off a missed shot, sophomore Ava Schaller streaked down the middle of the field and read the ball ricocheting off the left post. She swung her hips quickly, positioning herself out of the way of a Drexel defender, and placed the ball in the corner of the net with her left foot.

Schaller was then surrounded by her teammates, who appeared elated to celebrate her first career goal with her. 

Her scoring streak continued with goals against Siena and Army. Schaller’s three goals this season are tied for most on the team. 

Despite playing in all six games of the shortened spring 2021 season, Schaller failed to net her first career goal.

“I feel like coming in and being a forward as a freshman is always tough and it’s just a lot of pressure,” Schaller said. “I was kind of in my own head a little bit, but then I came in this year and felt more comfortable.”

The quick turnaround from last spring’s season into this fall proved to be beneficial for Schaller. She said she was able to take her momentum from the spring and transition into the fall smoothly. 

Schaller said she cleaned up her shooting technique this summer while playing for the Lehigh Valley Tempest, a team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

Lehigh Associate Head Coach Lauren Calabrese said Schaller makes unselfish runs, giving the ball up to her teammates.

“In doing that, I think her position and her spacing allows her to be in successful places,” Calabrese said. “You are in the right spots you can score the right goals and a lot of that is accredited to her work rate.”

Calabrese said it is important to remember that there are other aspects of the game and more responsibilities to being a forward than just scoring.

During the rest of the season, Calabrese hopes to see Schaller continue to build confidence and work on her skill-set.  

“When most people come in, it’s adjusting to the work rate and expectations of a culture and (Schaller) has really improved in respect to her training and her consistency in terms of her work rate in games,” Calabrese said.

Junior midfielder Julianna Bonner said Schaller has undertaken a leadership role as a sophomore.

“She has been very dynamic in terms of offensive drills in practice, really consistent in games and I think that’s helped our team a lot,” Bonner said. 

Bonner said that while the transition from the spring to the fall season was abrupt, the team was motivated to get back on the field and compete.  

Schaller said her goals for the rest of the season include continuing to contribute to the team’s overall efforts and to win the Patriot League Championship.

The Mountain Hawks started Patriot League play on Sept. 25 with a 3-3 tie against Army. The team will play Boston University on Oct. 1.

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