LOVELAND – Among the athletic accolades at Loveland High School last season was an Eastern Cincinnati Conference girls soccer championship won by coach Todd Kelly’s Lady Tigers.
The Loveland ladies were 17-3 (5-1 ECC) and have had 13 winning seasons in the past 15 years.
Kelly returns seven starters in seniors Haleigh Goedde and Corynne Swift; juniors Hannah Fischer, Andrea Gomez and Courtney Spicer and sophomores Rachel Ernst and Claire Beran. Joining the group will be freshman starting center mid Taylor Nuncio.
“She is arguably one of the most talented freshmen I have coached at Loveland,” Kelly said. “She should be a player to watch in Southwest Ohio the next four years.”
Goedde and Swift are four-year players who will continue their careers in college. The 2013 state Division I assist leader Swift made ECC first team and will attend Walsh University. Defender and captain Goedde is headed to Tiffin University.
Fischer is also a captain and first-team ECC pick who has already committed to Northern Kentucky University as a defender. Gomez, Ernst and Beran were all second team all-league selections.
“Claire (Beran) is our leading goal scorer,” Kelly said. “As a freshman, she started every game and had nine goals and five assists, ranking her eighth in the ECC. She is likely a Division I collegiate prospect.”
Expectations are high on One Tiger Trail as Loveland made it to the district final in 2012 and won the district in 2013.
“Many of these returning players know how hard a return trip is going to be and they are training to give them the best chance to do so. A key to our success will be trying to integrate our nine returning core players with many new underclassmen that are inexperienced at the varsity level, but extremely talented. We have stayed relatively healthy. A key will be to continue that trend and get off to a strong start.”
Loveland’s next game is against Lakota West Aug. 20, followed by a road game against a very competitive Mason squad Aug. 23. One unique game every year is against Anderson where Kelly squares off with his former high school coach, Bil Miller.
Loveland hosts Anderson Sept. 2.
Former Xavier player and assistant coach Keri Heedum takes over the soccer program at Mount Notre Dame, where she is also an assistant athletic director.
The Cougars were 6-5-6 in 2013 and 1-2-2 in the Girls Greater Catholic League.
GGCL first team goalkeeper Sam Leshnak is back and will be supported by centerback Kacy Eckley, forward Holly Denny, midfielder Grace Wilson and midfielder/goalkeeper Jenna Prathapa.
After the Aug. 19 opener with Mason, MND is at Lebanon on Aug. 25. Rivalry games of note are Sept. 3 at St. Ursula and home with Ursuline Sept. 24.
The Cincinnati Country Day girls team comes into 2014 following an 18-2 record last year that included a runner-up finish in the Miami Valley Conference and a Division III district title.
Head coach Theresa Hirschauer could earn her 300th career win with a similar season; she owns a 285-121-33 record over the course of her 25 year-career at the Indians’ helm.
Senior Briana Maggard and sophomore Olivia Brown return after all-city seasons in the midfield last year, where they will be joined by junior Lauren Buczek. A trio of seniors in Grace Krammer, Charlotte Jackson and Kaitlin Harden lead the defense in front of sophomore goalie Olivia Robinson, who recorded eight shutouts as a freshman.
Sophomore forward Natalie Choo should be an asset up front after transferring from Seven Hills.
“We need to find someone to put the ball in the back of the net after the graduation of all-state player Kelsey Zimmers,” Hirschauer said. “I think we will be a team that has the capability for three or four players to score 10 to 12 goals each and be more balanced than last year.
“I think until someone beats them, Summit is the team to beat in the MVC. Our goal – like every year – is to win MVC and go as far as we can in the OHSAA tourney. I think we have the talent, but like any season we need to stay healthy and become a team.”
CCD opens against McNicholas Aug. 18 at home and hosts Mariemont Aug. 23 in a girl-boy doubleheader.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy finished at .500 with a 7-7-3 record last season, including a 3-2-2 record good four fourth place in the Miami Valley Conference.
Junior Emma Conway scored 10 goals and had eight assists to lead the team as a sophomore while earning second team all-MVC honors. Sam Houtchens was another second team honoree. Senior Savannah Mary returns to provide leadership.
“We are looking forward to building on last year with a returning core group of players,” said head coach Abby Schumacher. “We are expecting strong leadership from the upperclassmen and counting on contributions from talented freshmen.”
Ursuline Academy was 9-5-5 in 2013, including a 3-2 record in the GGCL good for second place. The Lions avenged a regular season loss against league rival Seton in the second round of the Division I sectional tournament before falling to Loveland.
Head coach Colleen Dehring has a trio of first team all-GGCL picks returning in seniors Andie Kennard, Mikaela McGee and Sara Robertson. Senior Jordan Hollmeyer and junior Holyn Alf were second team picks last season.
The Lions open the season at Walnut Hills Aug. 16 and have their home opener against Lakota East Aug. 26. GGCL play begins Sept. 3 at Seton.