Girls varsity soccer wins league, falls short in district championship

Sophomore Sofie Sheridan dribbles the ball down the field during practice. (Photo by Joey Shapiro)

The girls varsity soccer team ended its season with a 2-1 defeat to Bishop Hartley in the district championship after winning the league championship and posting a 6-1-1 season record.

“This season has pretty much exceeded our expectations,” head coach Scott James said. “Considering that the beginning of the season we didn’t think we’d have a season, it’s been awesome.”

The girls’ chemistry sets them apart from past teams, James explained.

“The girls love each other, love being around each other, and they know how everyone plays on the field and how to find each other,” James said. “Team chemistry is huge for these girls.”

James added that getting this season started during the pandemic was a struggle.

“The whole group of 10, phases one to three, made it difficult to practice traditionally,” James said. “We had a lot of virtual events as well to keep the girls engaged and ready to go.”

Despite these challenges, the girls won their first league title since 2011, James explained. With the state tournament on the horizon, James and the players aspired to be more than league champions, he added.

After they won the league, the girls beat Hamilton Township 7-0 in the first round of the postseason tournament, led by a hat-trick from freshman Isabel Niermeyer. Niermeyer also scored a goal in a 2-0 district semifinals victory against Worthington Christian.

“It was really special winning league,” Niermeyer said. “I feel like it made us pick up our energy to get ready for districts.”

Niermeyer added that the team had progressed largely since their first games together.

“In the beginning of the season, we didn’t really work as a team,” Niermeyer said.  “But as we got to know each other more, and learn how everyone plays, we began to connect better and really play well with each other.”

Senior Aly Cox said that teamwork was a major focus for the team this year.

“This year we focused on working together as a team and not having one specific stand out player that the team was based around,” Cox said. “Everyone on the team plays a vital role.”

She explained that her goal moving into the tournament was to make it past the district championships.

Sophomore Sofie Sheridan said that she keeps the safety of her and her teammates in mind while playing.

“Some of the struggles from the pandemic was and is the constant worry,” Sheridan said. “You never know when one of us could come in contact with COVID-19 and possibly end our season.”

Sheridan echoed Niermyer’s statement about winning the league.

“Winning the league was a feeling of relief along with a feeling of drive,” Sheridan said. “Relief because we did it, we accomplished one of our goals made earlier in the season. There’s a  feeling of drive because we completed this, and we want to keep testing our strength and see how far we can really go.”