BETHEL – Like many of the sports at Bethel-Tate High School, a change of scenery may be beneficial for the girls soccer team.
After going 5-13 (2-8 in the Southern Buckeye Conference-American Division) second-year coach Ron Shook will compete in the National Division this fall. He figures his top competition will be Clermont Northeastern and Blanchester. Moving from National to American will be Batavia.
“What’s going to help us is playing schools our size,” Shook said. “We’re not going to have to play the Amelias, New Richmonds and Norwoods twice. We’ll play the other small schools twice.”
The Lady Tigers return seniors Michelle Cornelius, Morgan Walters, Kaitlynn Perkins and Julia Weber. Top juniors are Alyssa Demaris and Kylie Dunaway.
Shook expects Cornelius and Demaris to lead the team in scoring up front.
“It’s taken a year to finally get an attack-minded mode instead of running back and trying to keep the other team from scoring,” Shook said. “We need to try and attack. You can’t win games 0-0.”
Seniors Cornelius and Perkins participated in a preseason showcase tournament all-star game in Mason recently. Shook will be looking for leaders to replace last year’s veterans but will also feature some young talent.
“We’re going to be depending on juniors and sophomores both,” Shook said. “Haley Taylor, Haley Foster and Sam Gardner are all good sophomores that will contribute.”
Taylor is one of the busier girls as she also runs for her mother, Pam, on the cross country team.
“If we stay healthy, we should have a chance to challenge for the league title,” Shook said. “We had four goalkeepers injured – two knees, a concussion and a finger – at the same time last year. It’s really tough to win games with your No. 5 goalkeeper.”
Bethel-Tate’s home opener is against Georgetown Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. They visit Felicity-Franklin Aug. 28.
The Felicity-Franklin Lady Cardinals had a difficult 1-13-2 season a year ago.
They do return junior Baylie Wilson who made the SBC-National second team last fall.
Felicity-Franklin begins the 2014 slate with three straight home games; Aug. 21 against St. Bernard, Aug. 26 with Blanchester and Aug. 28 with Bethel-Tate.
McNicholas High School was 14-4-2 (6-1 and first place in the Girls Greater Catholic League Coed Central) under first-year head coach Ben Kirkpatrick. And despite graduating eight players from that team, Kirkpatrick looks forward to a strong sophomore season.
Senior Lauren Rice anchors the defense in the goal. Senior Meghan Martella and sophomore Sophie Gorman both earned first team all-GGCL honors last season and return in the center midfield.
Junior Emma Heise at forward and and classmate Lauren Pearson at center back and center midfield should be key new editions to the varsity lineup.
McNick opens the season Aug. 16 at Loveland and plays at Cincinnati Country Day Aug.18 before hosting Anderson Aug. 21 in its home opener.