CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee girls soccer team wants you to know who they are, they want to be seen, and they believe they have a team worth paying attention too.
Head coach Kevin Schaeffer said, “One of our preseason goals is to make sure people see us, to have people say ‘Oh that is Preble Shawnee, they are going to be district team or a regional team’ whatever we end up being.”
Schaeffer, however, said first and foremost it’s about claiming an SWBL title and the team has plenty of talent on board to make it happen.
Junior, and All-State midfielder Riane Woodard is back and will be the orchestrator. Schaeffer said she controls the entire game for the Arrows, describing her as “the player who sets everything up when on the field.”
Woodard will have plenty of help around her as unanimously voted captain Senior Carlee Jones joins her in the middle of the field. Schaeffer said Jones simply does everything for the team. He called her the “squad’s heart and soul” on and off the field.
Talented sophomore winger Saylor Jewell will be back after an injury-filled freshman season and she has already been on a tear, scoring over half of the team’s preseason goals.
Perhaps the team’s biggest strength will be their back four.
“I’ll put our back four against anyone in the state,” Schaeffer said. “I think in the past couple of years or something we’ve given up like two-break-away goals which is ridiculous, I mean you know it never happens.”
The back four will be anchored by junior Hope Ballinger, senior Alexis Blanton and sophomore Olivia Rader.
Seniors Meagan Lindon, Allison Began and Alyssa Nicely will also be important contributors to success for the Arrows this season.
Just how successful the Arrows can be may be revealed in their fifth game of the year when they host back-to-back state champions Hamilton Badin, on Sept. 5.
One area Schaeffer is concerned about is his team being unable to handle a high pressure system since his offense is based so much on possession.
“Because we’re a possession-style team, our biggest weakness is going to the opposite of that, and if a team comes with high pressure and we don’t deal with it, I’m not saying we won’t deal it — but I’ve seen signs that we might not.”
Despite those concerns, Schaeffer is excited about the upcoming soccer season and clearly believes his team has a chance to be a special group.
The Arrows open their season on Thursday, Aug. 27, when the team takes on county rival Eaton.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or at [email protected]