Unbeaten and outscoring opponents 38-9, the Carroll High School girls soccer team continues to be one of the area’s top teams in Division I. Or maybe D-II. The Patriots hope to get a definite answer next week.
The Greater Catholic League Coed division’s legal challenge to the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s competitive balance rules could be decided next week, Carroll coach Sarah Flach said. The process that determines how schools are placed into divisions for tournaments in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball has little bearing on the regular season, except for state poll voting.
Carroll is ranked No. 5 in D-I of the Miami Valley Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association poll.
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“We might be Division I for the tournament or we might be Division II,” Flach said. “We’re kind of in limbo until we find out. I think we’re up to the challenge no matter where we stand. … I don’t have a preference. I’m just looking forward to finding out.”
There’s no doubt where the Patriots stand in the GCL. Carroll (7-0-1 overall and 1-0 GCL) is again the frontrunner along with Alter (5-1, 2-0). The Patriots aren’t overlooking their upcoming opponents, but they know the Knights are looming on Sept. 18.
Carroll, which last won the division title in 2015, is led by four-year varsity seniors Cat McNamara (9 goals, 2 assists), captain Jillian Roberts (7 goals, 4 assists), Allie Stefanek (3 goals, 4 assists) and Alaina Casey (2 goals, 4 assists).
Amelia Harlow and Abby Bertke are also seniors.
Carroll has allowed multiple goals in a game just twice behind a strong defense highlighted by sophomore keeper Natalie Ryan, sophomore Ellie Mason and Harlow.
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“I really like their chemistry right now,” said Flach, a 1999 Carroll graduate. “We have 23 girls on the roster and all 23 of them are buying into this one goal that we have to go all the way. It’s been fun to be around them and see how focused and motivated they are.”
Carroll beat Greenon 8-1 on Monday. The game was a rematch from last season’s D-II sectional final won by the Patriots 3-1. A rematch with Alter awaits. Carroll lost to Alter 4-3 in overtime in the district final last season.
Carroll has key wins over Tippecanoe (No. 3 in D-II), Chaminade Julienne (No. 5) and Springfield Shawnee (No. 10). The tie came against Springboro, ranked No. 2 in D-I. Flach liked the way Carroll responded to adversity after Springboro scored two goals in opening six minutes.
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“We’re just trying to go out and work hard. Nothing is going to be handed to us,” Flach said, adding the team’s motto this season is Earn The Right. “We want to make sure even though we have experience and talent that we earn every win that we get.
“I think (the seniors have) had their eyes on this year since they were freshman. I think they put a little bit of pressure on themselves. All of it is real good practice for the tournament because it’s nothing but pressure once you hit October and November.”
• Defending girls state champion Beavercreek (7-0-0) remains No. 1 in the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association D-I state poll. Alter (5-1) is No. 2 in D-II and Lehman Catholic (4-0-1) is tied for third in D-III.
Beavercreek senior Diana Benigno and junior Kesley Louderback each have six goals and an assist (13 points). The Beavers have ranked among the top 10 nationally all season in the Top Drawer (No. 4), USA TODAY (No. 10) and United Soccer Coaches (No. 10) polls.
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Kayla Ogburn of Dayton Christian and Greeneview’s Faith Rutherford (14 points each) are among five players tied for ninth in girls state soccer scoring, accoridng to the OSSCA.
• Northmont (6-0-0) has used an early season defeat of longtime nemesis Centerville to create a boys soccer buzz. That 5-0 Thunderbolts defeat of the Elks in Game 2 was reportedly only the second time in the last 20 seasons Northmont had won.
Senior Justin Menker (6 goals, 2 assists, 14 points) and senior Austin Smith (5 goals, 1 assist, 11 points) are the Thunderbolts’ top point producers.
• Tippecanoe senior Bryce Conley was fifth (15:39.2) among D-I boys and Carroll junior Kevin Agnew (15:47.7) third in D-II at last weekend’s prestigious Tiffin Cross Country Carnival.
Minster defeated runner-up Fort Loramie 75-137 to win the girls D-III team title at Tiffin.
• The massive 29th annual Cedarville Friendship cross country invitational is Saturday at the university. Area boys and girls teams favor this meet because that’s where most will compete in the upcoming district meets, the first of three postseason events.
Eaton (Fort St. Clair Park), Graham (middle school, St. Paris) and Mississinawa Valley (Chenoweth Trails, Greenville) also will host meets on Saturday.
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