No Springboro girls soccer team had ventured as deep into the postseason as the Panthers did last year. But losing 1-0 to Loveland in a Division I regional high school final wasn’t quite the ending Springboro had set.
“The goal is always state, but you need a lot of good bounces along the way,” reflected veteran coach Eric Detmer, in his 11th season. “Last year was unfortunate and that’s our goal again this year, but you don’t play games on paper. We’ve talked about it the last eight months. We’ve been looking forward to this season coming off a season like that. It’s exciting and we’re looking forward to building on it.”
Missing for the first time in several outstanding seasons are graduates and Wright State University signees Livi Raflik and Christine Ommert and keeper Lily Herman, who signed with Belmont (Nashville, Tenn.). However, a dozen tested Panthers return, including standout sophomores Kam Davis and Paige Elliott, seniors Alix Rigano, Jaiden Phelps and keeper Morgan Ramby.
Davis (16 goals, 10 assists) was All-Greater Western Ohio Conference as a freshman and Elliott and Rigano (11 goals, 12 assists) were second team. Phelps will be a four-year letterman.
Springboro (18-2-2) allowed a season-high two goals in a 2-all draw against Strongsville in the second game last season and posted 13 shutouts. Loveland went on to win the D-I state title and Detmer was named the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association D-I coach of the year.
Traditional area rivals Beavercreek (12-4-4), Centerville (12-4-4) and Lebanon (12-2-3) will contest Springboro for postseason success.
“It’s always a battle between the four of us for the top in the area,” Detmer said. “There’s not a lot of easy games anymore. They’ve restructured the GWOC and schedules are tougher and Dayton’s pretty deep this year. We lost a lot of good talent and good experience, but we return a very strong nucleus. Expectations are high.”
• Vandalia-Butler (14-2-1) was upset by Northmont in the postseason. The Aviators return the high-scoring trio of senior forward Brittney Petrosky (20 goals, 11 assists), senior midfielder Keoni Rakestraw (19 goals, four assists) and junior forward Bri Fourman (22 goals, seven assists). Petrosky was second team All-OSSCA and tied with Fourman with a GWOC-best 51 points.
Division II: Led by high-scoring Abby McNamara, surprising Carroll (16-5-1) won its first district title last season since coach Sarah Flach was a Patriots senior standout on the 1997 team. Carroll was derailed by state power Indian Hill 2-1 in a regional final.
McNamara, a senior midfielder, had 20 goals and eight assists last season. She reaped first-team All-OSSCA honors and also was the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North and Miami Valley Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association player of the year. She’s been verbally committed to Wake Forest since a sophomore.
Also back for the Patriots are seniors Tiffany O’Grady (10 goals, four assists) and Gabi Kreinbrink. Both were second team All-GCL as juniors.
Division III: Badin (13-4-2) advanced the deepest, losing 2-0 to Cincinnati Summit Country Day in a regional final. SCC went on to win state.
Milton-Union senior forward Danielle McFarland was among the state’s top scorers with 28 goals and nine assists (65 points). Like Badin, Milton-Union (13-5-1) was beaten by SCC in a district final, 5-0.
Other top returning area players are Northwestern senior keeper Erin Gordon, Miami East senior forward Sage Hunley, Dayton Christian junior midfielder Kiana Klein (11 goals, 12 assists) and Preble Shawnee senior midfielder Riane Woodard (four goals, four assists). All were second team All-OSSCA last season, including McFarland.
• Waynesville sophomore midfielder Marcella Sizer is among the area’s top returning scorers after leading the Southwestern Buckeye League as a freshman with 27 goals and 14 assists (68 points). The Spartans (15-2-2) lost to Madeira (3-1) in a district final.
• Teams can play a maximum of four scrimmages and a preview in the preseason. The regular season begins on Aug. 20. The postseason consists of sectional, district and regional play, followed by state semifinals and state finals Nov. 11 at MAPFRE Stadium, previously known as Columbus Crew Stadium. The state finals location is dependent on no conflict with a potential Crew playoff game.