If Badin’s girls’ soccer team went into the season thinking it would cruise to a second consecutive Division II state championship, the players quickly learned the trip might be a little choppy.
After opening the season with a 4-2 win over Edgewood, the Rams were tested in one-goal wins at Mariemont and over Madeira at home before losing, 1-0 at home to a powerful McNicholas team.
Badin has gone 15-0-1 since then, rolling into the ninth state semifinal appearance in program history. The 18-1-1 Rams, ranked No. 1 in both the Division III statewide and Enquirer coaches’ polls, are scheduled to play Summit Country Day on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Lakota West High School.
Badin coach Todd Berkely admits his girls might’ve been a little lax going into the season.
“The bottom line, at the end of the day, is they’re all still kids,” Berkely said. “They go through the pressures of the day and the games and their peers saying, ‘These guys should easily get back to the state championship.’ These kids understand that nothing is given to them. They know they have a target on their back and that, in every game, they’re going to get the other team’s best game.
“The teams we’ve played, especially Mariemont, have taught us that we have to play a championship-level game every time.”
Badin is trying to become just the second area girls’ team to win back-to-back state championships and the first since St. Ursula in 2007 and 2008, but this team is different than last year’s, Berkely said.
“Last year, we scored 75 goals, which was a school record,” he said. “We’re nowhere near that this year. This year, we’ve been focused on distributing the ball. We’ve had a wide blend of scoring. In the regional final game, we had three different scorers, but only one of the three was among our leading scorers. One girl scored her first goal of the season.”
Badin and the Silver Knights are two of five local teams that’ve reached the boys’ and girls’ state semifinals. McNicholas (19-1-0), the state and Enquirer’s Division II No. 1 team, is making the first state semifinal appearance in program history. The Rockets are scheduled to meet 2013 state runnerup Granville, the only Division II semifinalist to repeat from last season, Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at West Carrollton High School.
Mason (19-1-1), the Enquirer Division I poll champion and state’s third-ranked team, is hoping to reach the state finals for the second consecutive season. The Comets, one of three Division I semifinalists returning from last season, are due to meet state No. 10 Dublin Coffman at 7 p.m. at Bellbrook High School.
Among the returning Division I teams is defending state champion Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, the state poll champion.
The three state final matches in the 30th annual Ohio High School Athletic Association girls’ tournament are scheduled to be played Friday at Columbus Crew Stadium. The time for each division’s final has yet to be determined.
Summit Country Day has the only team still alive in the boys’ tournament. The defending Division III state champions, who are 10-0-1 in their last 11 matches, are scheduled to play Grandview Heights, the state’s top-ranked team, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at West Carrollton High School.
The Silver Knights, the only one of last season’s semifinalists to return for the 39th annual boys’ tournament, are ranked sixth in the state and third by the Enquirer.
The state finals in all three boys’ divisions are scheduled to be played Saturday at Columbus Crew Stadium with times to be determined.