Lehman Catholic put together a successful campaign in the inaugural season of the Three Rivers Conference but fell short of earning the league title.
The Cavaliers are looking to keep up their normal success this year while adding a conference title to their list of accomplishments.
“Most of the original starting 11 are returning, but the players from the bench will play a huge role this season,” third-year coach Josh Duncan said. “The seniors will also bring a wealth of experience. In their career, they have accumulated two district championships and a district runner-up finish.
“Expectations remain high for this group. As the girls enter their second season in the TRC, the goals remain the same: win the conference and advance past regionals to the state tournament.”
Among the returnees is junior forward Eva Dexter, who scored 26 goals and had six assists last year. She was a first team all-TRC selection.
Also back are senior midfielder Ella Black (6 goals, 9 assists) and senior midfielder Tori Lachey (4, 7). Both are starters. Junior midfielder Emilee VanSkiver is another key returnee.
Sophomore goalkeeper Callie Giguere is a returning letterwinner. Senior defenders Lucy Ritze and Kailey Higgins and junior defenders Tanner Black and Mara O’Leary are returning starters.
Freshmen forwards Anna Minneci and Melanie Karn will round out the varsity roster.
“They will provide an immediate impact straight away,” Duncan said. “With both girls excelling in summer scrimmages, they will play a huge role in our success this season.”
Lehman finished 13-5-2 overall last year after falling to Cincinnati Mariemont in a regional semifinal. They tied with Miami East for second place in the TRC with a 5-3 league record.
Sidney tied with Tippecanoe for the overall Miami Valley League title last season and is looking to repeat — and fair better in postseason play — this year.
The Yellow Jackets struggled through a tough nonconference slate and finished 8-9-1 overall a year ago. Their overall MVL title hopes looked bleak after a 2-0 defeat to Tippecanoe dropped them to 6-1-1 in league play.
But the Red Devils lost to Vandalia-Butler in their last MVL game of the season to drop to 7-1-1 overall, and Sidney posted a blowout win over Greenville to finish 7-1-1 in league play and tie for the overall title.
Sidney’s season came to a fast end. The squad lost 1-0 in its tournament opener at Butler after having won a regular-season MVL matchup against the Aviators 3-0.
Sidney returns all but three seniors from last year’s team.
Among the returnees is sophomore forward Larkyn Vordemark, who scored a team-high 13 goals last season and had five assists. She’s joined by another key offensive piece in senior Lexee Brewer, who scored 11 goals and had 11 assists.
Senior Lainie Fair (7 goals), junior Kyleigh Spade (6), and junior Olivia Barga (5 goals, 4 assists) are also set to return, as is junior Kimora Johnson, who scored two goals and had 13 assists last year.
Freshman Madison Piatt looks to take over as goalkeeper.
Kevin Veroneau returns as the program’s coach.
Anna is looking to continue the success it has enjoyed the last several seasons, but there are holes to fill from the graduation of seven seniors.
Among the players the Rockets lost is Tanner Spangler, who scored 39 goals during the squad’s 12-3-3 campaign last year and finished with about 120 career goals.
But the squad is returning 14 letterwinners who will try to keep up the program’s streak of five consecutive district final berths.
Not everyone will be playing right away, though.
“We are coming into this season with a lot of injuries,” coach Mike Noll, who is entering his sixth season, said. “When they are all back, we will be one of the top teams in the Miami Valley.”
Seniors Jayce Billing, Jadyn Huber, Abbie McEldowney and Taylor Poeppelman return in addition to juniors London Reiss and Jenna Wolters and sophomore Iris Canan and Abby Stroh. Stroh returns as goalkeeper.
“All our top returning players are some of the best players in the Miami Valley,” Noll said. “I’m looking forward for all the girls returning to the field.”
Also returning are seniors Bella Brown and Aubrie Coyer, junior Courtney Dulaney and sophomores Chelsea McEldowney, Brook Metzler and Reagan Schloss.
Seniors Brianna Brewer and Kendyll Boyd, junior Camryn Edwards and sophomores Abby Barhorst and Morgan Paulus will round out the squad.
The Rockets won the Western Ohio Soccer League title outright last season. They’ve captured four WOSL titles since 2017.
The Trojans were vastly improved in Padraig Murphy’s first season as the program’s coach and are hoping the trend continues this year. Botkins went from a 9-6-2 campaign in 2020 to a 12-5-1 record last year.
Ten letterwinners return this season, including junior forward Camdyn Paul, who scored 23 goals and had 14 assists a year ago. She was a first team all-WOSL selection last year.
Also back are sophomore midfielder/forward Delana Pitts (11 goals, eight assists), senior defender Kennedi Doseck, junior defenders Ava Woodruff, Reagan McPheron and Sarah Ivey and junior midfielders Chloe Pax, Grace Wiseman, Zoie Longbrake and Aubree Topp.
Seven freshmen are set to join the squad this year: Norah Homan, Addison Blindauer, Lillian Bayless, Aliyah Monnin, Delaney Manger, Taylor Huelskamp and Lauren Gerstner.
“We’re a young team. Over 40 percent are freshmen, with one senior on the team,” Murphy said. “But we’re a team hungry to build upon the success of last year and the respect we gained.
“Obviously with a young team, we’ll take our lumps at times, but we should continue to get better as the season progresses. The girls are starting to become more like a family, which will only help in the inevitable moments of adversity. Extremely excited to see these girls grow as individual players and as a team.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.