Kelly dazzles in goal
Mars grad a standout at Edinboro
Butler Eagle
Written by:
September 19, 2012

EDINBORO — After watching Meghan Kelly play goalkeeper for Northern Steel in club soccer, Gary Kagiavas came up with an idea.

Get her on his side.

Kagiavas is the women’s soccer coach at Edinboro University. Kelly was a four-year starter in goal for Mars High School.

“I coached a club team in Erie and we ran up against Northern Steel in tournaments,” Kagiavas said. “Meghan was a tremendous goalie for them — and a pain in the butt to us.

“We did everything we could do to get her to come to Edinboro.”

That included promising Kelly playing time her freshman year, even though Edinboro had veteran senior Kate Stukbauer in the net.

“That’s how badly we wanted Meghan,” Kagiavas said.

The efforts to land Kelly have proven worthwhile.

Stukbauer was 8-0 last season, posting six shutouts while making 32 saves and allowing only three goals. She suffered a concussion early in the year and wound up splitting time with Kelly the rest of the season.

Kelly posted a 7-6 record with four shutouts and a 1.61 goals-against average as the Fighting Scots finished the season 15-6, losing to West Chester in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

“I’ve never sat on the bench for a whole season, so I was happy to get the playing time,” Kelly said. “I didn’t know what to expect when I took the field for the first time in college.

“Getting the time in last year definitely helped make me and my teammates more comfortable with each other this year.”

This year could be turning into quite a year.

Edinboro is off to a 5-1 start and has outscored its opponents 14-2 thus far. Kelly has made 26 saves while allowing the two goals.

“I’m pretty much it,” she said of the Scots’ goalkeeping corps. “I imagine I’ll be out there every game.”

She has no problem with that. Neither does her coach.

“That’s one of the reasons we recruited her so hard,” Kagiavas said. “Meghan is our goalkeeper for the next three years. Come next year, we’ll start recruiting a goalie to take Meghan’s place down the road.

“That’s how you keep a program rolling.”

Kelly was named PSAC West Women’s Soccer Player of the Week for her quick start this season. She is majoring in early childhood and special education.

“I wanted to go somewhere close to home and I really like the girls and the coaching staff at Edinboro,” Kelly said. “The campus is beautiful, too.”

There is a Butler County flavor to the women’s soccer team as well.

All three senior captains this year — forwards Catherine Messmer and Karisa Fernandez from Seneca Valley, defender Amanda Bartell from Knoch — are from the county.

Messmer is battling an injury this season. Fernandez has a goal and assist thus far and has 23 goals and 63 points in her Edinboro career.

“They’ve been outstanding role players,” Kagiavas said. “Karisa has put together a fabulous career with us and we’re anticipating a huge season from her.

“Amanda has played everywhere for us, from forward to defender. This is one of our deeper teams and she can fill almost any role.”

Kelly remains the backbone of the team.

“From the day we went after her, I knew she could play for us and I knew she was the future of the program,” Kagiavas said.

“Meghan came here already knowing how to cut down angles and make good decisions with the ball. We haven’t had to do too much with her.”

Kelly merely had to adjust on her own.

“There’s a lot more free balls at this level and you have to think quicker because the game is faster,” she said. “I have to play heads up and pay attention all of the time.

“There’s no time to be daydreaming in there.”