Log In

Reset Password

Palmerton forward, Pleasant Valley goalie receive recognition on PA soccer squad

Palmerton’s Brianna Moore and Pleasant Valley’s Samantha Merklin have been selected to the 2021 Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All State Girls Soccer team.

The 62-person squad encompassed all four classes in the state into one team. There were 30 forwards selected, 20 midfielders, nine defenders, and three goalies.

Moore was picked as a forward, while Merklin was selected as a goalie.

Moore goals

This fall, Moore led the Bombers to an 18-4 record, the semifinals of the Colonial League tournament, and to the finals of the District 11 Class 2A playoffs. She set a single season school scoring record with 52 goals. Moore scored seven goals in a game against Catasauqua and registered eight hat tricks during the season

“Brianna was a tremendous part of our team,” said Bombers’ coach David O’Brien. “She had outstanding field awareness and with her speed and ball control skill, she could beat the defense on breakaways and score goals with shots from any angle.”

O’Brien cited Moore’s selection to the All State team as a very special honor.

“No other Palmerton soccer player has been selected All State,” he said. “She is the best goal scorer I’ve been around at this level. Her ability to put herself and her teammates in the best positions to succeed and her ability to score from all over the field in different ways are incredible.”

O’Brien lauded Moore for the impact her accomplishments have had upon the school community and the Bombers’ soccer program.

“Everyone at Palmerton is extremely proud of her and excited for her,” O’Brien said. “She has been a huge part of the transformation of our program over the last couple of years. It’s great to see all of her hard work paying off and I’m very excited to see what the future will hold for her.”

Moore will continue her soccer playing career next fall at Duquesne University.

Merklin saves

This season, Merklin made 308 saves and allowed only 19 goals. She registered 10 shutouts in 21 games and led the Bears to the North Division title of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. She allowed only just three goals in 10 games against EPC North opponents. Merklin’s outstanding play helped the Bears go 9-0-1 in division play and 12-6-2 overall.

Merklin was a force to reckon with as Pleasant Valley played some of the bigger and better soccer teams in the EPC.

“The bigger schools like Parkland and Central Catholic hated to play us,” said Pleasant Valley coach Tara Hyland. “They knew they had to work extra hard to score on her.”

According to Hyland, Merklin played every minute of every game with “fearlessness.”

“Her decision making and speed to stop the difficult shot was amazing,” said Hyland. “And she consistently punted the ball 50 yards to give us great field position.”

An unfortunate circumstance led to Merklin’s decision to change her position on the field to become a varsity netminder during her freshman year.

“Samantha had to move to the goalie position due to a serious illness to our starter Schyler Herman, who happened to be a good friend of hers,” said Hyland. “She came to like playing goalkeeper and has dedicated her efforts over the years to Schuyler who passed away in 2018.”

Merklin, who finished her career with a school-record 38 shutouts, was selected the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference’s MVP this past season.

Although recruitment offers are coming in, Merklin has yet to decide where she will play college soccer next year.

“She’s finally getting the recognition that’s not all that common to our area,” said Hyland. “She’s that kid who deserves this award and it’s good that others can finally see it.”

Pleasant Valley goalie Sam Merklin was named to all-state soccer team. FILE PHOTO
Palmerton's Brianna Moore was recently named to the all-state soccer team. Moore set a school scoring record this season with 52 goals. FILE PHOTO