PIQUA — Sidney was disappointed by a tie and a loss against two tough opponents in the first week of the season. The team is hoping lessons learned then will help lead to better results in a tough upcoming stretch.
The Yellow Jackets won their eighth consecutive game by beating Piqua 9-0 on Wednesday at Wertz Stadium. It’s the sixth win by three or more goals in the stretch.
Sidney tied Northmont 2-2 to start the season and lost 1-0 to Troy in its Miami Valley League opener on Aug. 23.
Since then, the team has rolled. It’s lone close win in the last eight games was a 6-5 win at Miamisburg on Sept. 11.
“After the first couple games, we really talked about our decision making in the attack,” Sidney coach Kevin Veroneau said. “We had a lot of high-quality scoring opportunities against both Northmont and Troy and thought we let those two games go by.
“Our goal from the beginning of the season was to get to this point undefeated. …We felt we let those slip through, and we then really focused on better decision making in the final third (of the field), pushing for the high scoring opportunities. We were settling for too many low scoring opportunities.
“… We had to recommit to the high-quality looks. Sort of like in basketball, pushing for the paint, getting easy layups, instead of settling for 3-pointers.”
Sidney’s offense has had an improved output, scoring six or more goals in five of their last six matches; a 2-0 win over Kettering Fairmont on Saturday is the lone game in the stretch it hasn’t reached six goals.
Junior forward Larkyn Vordemark has scored an MVL-best 28 goals and has five assists. She scored three goals and had one assist against Piqua on Wednesday.
“In the first couple games, she wasn’t driving to goal,” Veroneau said. “We talked about how she has to be looking on the first touch to penetrate. Our forwards in the first couple of games weren’t thinking about going to goal, and our attack was so slow.
“Once she started realizing, ‘I’ve got to go to goal and I’ve got to go quickly,’ her scoring opportunities started opening up. When she started thinking about her runs, realizing she can’t run straight because she was going offside and started to solve that …her offsides have dropped, she’s making better runs, and she’s driving to goal.”
Sophomore Katie McKinney scored two goals and had two assists on Wednesday, and Kyleigh Spade, Kenzi Koester, Kimora Johnson and Olivia Barga each scored one.
Koester, a sophomore forward, has scored eight goals and has 11 assists. McKinney has scored five goals and has nine assists. Johnson, a senior defender, also has 11 assists.
Johnson, junior Kendall Dickman and sophomore Jada Shroyer are among key defenders for the squad. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaylee Morgan has made 36 saves and given up 13 goals.
Sidney has posted five shutouts this season. But after giving up three goals to Bethel on Sept. 7 and five to Miamisburg in consecutive games earlier this month, Veroneau said the squad refocused defensively.
“I think they realized they had to recommit to getting shutouts,” Veroneau said. “I think they’ve recommitted to that. They got a good shutout against (Fairmont).”
Sidney (9-1-1, 4-1-0 MVL Valley Division) trails both Tippecanoe (10-1-0, 6-0) and Vandalia-Butler (9-0-3, 6-0-0) in overall MVL standings. The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to host Butler this coming Wednesday and to travel to Tippecanoe on Oct. 4.
Before taking on Butler, Sidney is scheduled to travel to Fairborn (4-5, 3-2) on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve gotten through a little bit of injuries, and hopefully, we’re peaking at the right time,” Veroneau said. “Hopefully we can bring it all together against those teams.”
Lehman Catholic pushes winning streak to 4
Lehman Catholic has earned two Three Rivers Conference victories in the last week to stay in the title race.
The Cavaliers (6-4, 3-1 TRC) beat Miami East 4-0 on Saturday and Milton-Union 2-0 on Thursday in league games in Sidney. They’ve won four straight.
Senior forward Eva Dexter scored three goals against the Vikings and both goals against the Bulldogs on Thursday. She has scored a TRC-best 26 goals.
The Cavaliers are scheduled to host Greeneview (9-2-1) on Saturday and Dayton Stivers (3-2) on Monday in nonconference games. They’ll then have a week off before traveling to Miami East on Oct. 3.
A rematch with Bethel looms on Oct. 9. The two teams each have one conference loss; Lehman beat Bethel 2-0 on Sept. 14.
Botkins snaps losing streak
Botkins stopped a three-game losing streak on Monday by beating Spencerville 5-0 in a Western Ohio Soccer League game. Junior midfielder DeeDee Pitts scored four goals while Camdyn Paul scored one.
Paul, a senior forward, has scored a team-best 17 goals and has a team-high seven assists. Addison Blindauer, a sophomore forward, has scored six goals and has six assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Delaney Manger has made 45 saves.
The Trojans (4-5-1, 3-0-0) are in second place in WOSL standings behind Anna (7-2-1, 3-0-0). The Rockets beat Botkins 5-3 on Aug. 31.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.