MONROE — At the beginning of the season Preble Shawnee girls’ soccer coach Jeff Stiver thought this would be a rebuilding year — not a reloading one — for his Arrows.
The Arrows lost seven starters to graduation from a team that went 12-5-1 last season and Stiver was hoping some of the underclassmen would be able to step in and fill some keys roles, while relying on the returning starters for leadership.
The results couldn’t have turned out much better as the Arrows finished off the season as district runner-up after falling to the state’s top-ranked team Cincinnati Country Day, 7-0, in a Division III district final, at Monroe, on Saturday, Oct. 27.
CCD led 3-0 at the half, scoring with 16:52, 5:54 and 4:42 left in the half. In the second half, CCD added goals at the 25:16 mark, 19:48 mark, 16:48 mark and with 2:52 remaining.
“We exceeded our expectations,” Stiver said moments after his team received the program’s third district runner-up trophy. “When you lose seven starters and the experience they had, and the ability that they had, and replace it with some junior varsity players and kids that don’t have that experience … at Preble Shawnee that’s like wow.”
Shawnee knocked off Troy Christian 2-1 in overtime to win the sectional final/district semifinal, on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Eaton, on a goal from Cami Hollon.
The Arrows finished the year 14-4.
“I would have never expected to win 14 game and go 14-4 and get to the district final,” Stiver said. “We tweaked some things along the way. We made some changes and we ran off 13 out of 14 wins before tonight.”
In their previous eight games, the Arrows allowed just two goals while winning all eight.
“I’ll have a lot of good things to say about them at the banquet,” Stiver said. “Like I said, I didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t expect 14-4, being in a district final and beating Waynesville for the first time in four years and beating Troy Christian twice. I told them it’s sad to lose the last game, especially for those seniors. But, I said, ‘you have no reason to hang your heads because when you look at the big picture I thought it was a fantastic season.”
The Arrows will lose six seniors to graduation this season — Nicole Sims, Brenna Woodard, Jenna Lovely, Logan Hollon, Abby Bulach and Bailey Downard.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Stiver said. “They were great captains. They were great teammates. Great leaders. They weren’t afraid to get on somebody, but they knew they also had to turn around and pat them on the back. They were everything a coach could ask of. Not only great players, but great kids. They would do anything that we asked them to do.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH