EATON — The Preble Shawnee girls’ soccer team had its season come to a close with a 4-0 loss to back-to-back state champions Hamilton Badin on Monday, Oct. 26, in the sectional final at Eaton High School.
Badin had the majority of possession and chances on goal in the first half, but the two teams were level until late in the half when Anilou Belvo made a one-handed save, only for the rebound to be headed in by Badin’s Marissa Kah.
Saylor Jewell nearly leveled the game right before half, but Badin’s keeper made a save to keep the Arrows down a goal.
Shawnee began to see more of the ball for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but a quick counter by Badin with 20 minutes left in the game ended with the second goal of the match.
Head coach Kevin Schaeffer explained how the second goal forced him to change tactics: “We had to switch formation to try and put a little more pressure on Badin up top. We knew that doing so might likely result in giving up a third goal but it was a risk we had to take at that point in the game. With one less midfielder to help build possession, Badin spent much of the time passing and weaving through our depleted midfield.”
With ten minutes to go, a long shot into the bottom corner by Malia Berkley made it a three-goal lead, ending any hopes of an Arrow comeback.
A frustration foul in the box gave Badin a penalty kick in the final minute, and despite a save on the initial shot, the rebound again found the back of the net for the fourth and final goal.
Schaeffer believes the game was much closer than the final score demonstrated and hopes his team gained respect from the back-to-back state champions after making them work for two wins against his program.
Schaeffer also gave credit to his five seniors who chose to play Badin in the sectional final. “We asked the seniors who they wanted to play and kudos for them choosing to Badin, unfortunately we ran into a buzz saw who was really good tonight. Hopefully they are proud, because we didn’t really do anything wrong or play poorly, they were just really, really good.”
One key difference in the game was Badin having two players signed on to play high level division one soccer next season in college according to Schaeffer. “If you take those two out of the game we’re as good as them, but having two players of that caliber in the middle of the field, makes it tough for us.”
Jewell’s first half strike ended up being the chance on goal for the Arrows and Schaeffer said that save was a key moment, as it prevented his team from maintaining the formation he wanted to play, giving the Badin midfield problems in the first half.
The Arrows end the season with a 12-5-1 record, finishing as runners-up in the SWBL Buckeye Division regular season.