Marion Harding’s boys soccer team hasn’t had the problem its fellow Presidents squads have had in the past three years.
And coach Mitch Uline’s booters may even be a leg up on other HHS teams come 2015, when Harding joins the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference.
Harding has played boys soccer in the former Midland Suburban Soccer League and in the current North Central Ohio Soccer Association since the school had to go the independent route in most other sports following the breakup of the Greater Buckeye Conference.
When Harding enters the MOAC in 2015, the President boys soccer team will follow. It also may be still playing in the NCOSA, which mainly features teams from northwest Ohio.
“I like the league we are playing in, but I hope we can stay in both,” Uline said prior to Thursday’s 5-0 loss to Pleasant. “That could be added awards our kids could possibly get, and I don’t think there is much difference in the level of play in the NCOSA and the MOAC.”
Harding athletic director Sean Kearns is hoping the logistics of playing soccer in two leagues works out.
“The question is right now whether there would be enough room for the games both leagues,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind being in both.”
The MOAC has never sponsored soccer as a championship sport since the league’s inception in 1990 because only three of its teams, Pleasant, River Valley and Buckeye Valley, play the sport.
That has changed this year.
About two weeks ago, the MOAC decided to sponsor a championship season for Pleasant, RV, BV, Fairbanks and Jonathan Alder, with the two latter teams’ addition to the league this season.
Pleasant coach Randy Owings said his Spartans, River Valley, Buckeye Valley and Fairbanks left the North Central Soccer League this season once the MOAC decided to sanction boys soccer.
“We have enough teams this year to have an overall MOAC champion,” MOAC commissioner Terry Williams said.
Williams said the five soccer schools will play each other twice this season in determining that champ.
There is no Red or Blue Division distinction, since the conference mandates there must be at least five schools in a division to have a divisional setup.
When the MOAC expands to its maximum in 2015, there will be seven schools playing boys soccer, if not more. Other schools may begin to sanction the sport. The seven will be Harding, Pleasant, River Valley, Buckeye Valley, Fairbanks, Jonathan Alder and East Knox.
Uline is excited his team will be able to play in the MOAC in the near future.
“I think it’s cool we can play in a local soccer league,” he said. “I think it will be a competitive league. The kids will get to play against kids they know from the community.”
Pleasant (2-0) held the edge on offense in the first half Thursday, but came away with nothing to show for it until 1:49 remained in the opening stanza. That’s when Zane Burris scored off of a Christian Vaflor assist for a 1-0 Spartans’ edge at the intermission.
The scoring trend continued in the second half, with the Spartans’ Caleb Creasap, Janik Tackett, Scott Bowdle and Tre Wells hitting the net. Tackett’s goal came on a header.
The game was interrupted by lightning with 23 minutes left.
Goalie Brady Thompson stopped four shots in the Pleasant nets. Logan Pirnstill recorded eight saves in goal for Harding (0-1).