SIDNEY – During a typical season, the Sidney Yellow Jackets’ girls soccer team would have faced a handful of the area’s best teams by now. This, though, is no normal season.
A regular-season schedule influenced by COVID-19 has delayed games against non-conference teams like Beavercreek, Centerville, Miamisburg and Springboro. With an abundant amount of senior leadership, as well as up-and-coming talent, it could be worth the wait.
Sidney, with a senior class eight players strong, is 11-1-1 overall. At 8-1-1 the Yellow Jackets have a firm foothold atop the Miami Valley League’s Valley Division.
The Yellow Jackets are also in contention for the overall MVL title thanks to a 1-0 win over MVL Miami Division foe Vandalia-Butler on Monday. The Aviators (11-1-1, 8-1-1) and Tippecanoe (11-0-2, 7-0-2) are also in contention for the overall title.
In addition to a second straight Valley Division title, reaching the Division I district title game is the goal. That means a likely meeting against one of those top teams.
“Usually we schedule to see three or four of the top teams in the Dayton area,” Sidney coach Kevin Veroneau said. “To get out of sectionals you have to knock one of them off. This year we don’t have that opportunity. It’s nice to be able to play Troy twice. It’d be nice to play Tipp twice. We’ve had some good competition in the league. We talk about even though we haven’t seen (area) competition, most of the players have played against teams like that. We know what that style looks like.”
As for opponents, they have to contend with a balanced Yellow Jackets’ attack that features standout scorer Khia McMillen and stellar stopper Makayla Hurey. Both are seniors.
McMillan’s 64 career assists are a school record. Her 54 career goals are fourth overall and nine shy of tying for third in Sidney history. Hurey’s 25 shutouts rank second in program history. She needs four more to break the school record. Her 10 shutouts are also two shy of tying for third most in a season.
As for the team, the school record for wins is 14. The Yellow Jackets can establish a new record by winning their final three games and their first tournament game.
“We’ve got some good talent here,” Veroneau said. “The youth feeder system over the next two or three years is going to be funneling even more players in. I’d like to continue with this type of result and style of play even if we’re playing the bigger schools. If we can do that, then that’s a testament to the players and the parents and their commitment to developing soccer players and student athletes.”
McMillen leads the team with 16 goals. She’s followed by senior MaKayla Dillinger (12), freshman Kyleigh Spade (8), junior Jada McMillen (4) and sophomore Lainie Fair (4). Four more players are tied with three goals.
Dillinger has a team-high 11 assists. Khia McMillen (9), freshman Kimora Johnson (9), Spade (6), Jadah McMillen (5) and senior Katie Atwood (4) and Fair (4) are also among team leaders.
Senior Lauren Barker, Khia McMillen, Hurey and Jada McMillen serve as the four captains.
“Their goal is to repeat a few years ago when we made it to the district finals. We believe we have the ability,” Veroneau said. “It’s a little more wide open in the Greater Western Ohio Conference this year. There’s a pathway. I’m betting once we have the tournament draw there’s going to be a lot of teams pushing to get into the third bracket and get away from Beavercreek and Centerville.”
Centerville is ranked No. 1 and Beavercreek is No. 2 in the Miami Valley Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association’s area poll. Sidney is No. 7.
Sidney last reached the district title game in 2017 when they lost to eventual state champion Loveland. That’s also the season the Yellow Jackets set the school record for wins at 14-3-2.
“This team set some pretty high goals this season,” Veroneau said. “It’s nice there’s leadership in all the lines and there’s experience all over the field.”