When a team starts out hot, all that a coach can hope for is that said unit doesn’t lose its stride when the season’s homestretch hits.
Over the course of the 2017 season, the Northwest Mohawks and the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates have not only maintained their early season form, but have arguably improved upon it with the postseason looming. The OSSCA certainly has recognized at least some of that improvement, as the Northwest boys soccer program and the Wheelersburg girls soccer program — who are both undefeated at 13-0 and 12-0-1, respectively — maintained their status inside the OSSCA Division III Polls heading into the final week and a half of regular season play.
Wheelersburg, who is ranked as the No. 7-program in all of Division III in the girls realm, notched a critical 2-0 result over Minford en route to maintaining its seventh-place ranking. While the Lady Pirates tied with Alexander over the weekend (3-3), it is likely that Wheelersburg, who has 43 points in the latest Division III ranking, won’t be going anywhere after winning nine of its 13 total contests by at least three goals or more en route to outscoring its opponents by a margin of 82-13 on the year.
From an individual standpoint, Madison Humble, who has obtained 25 goals and 12 assists for the Lady Pirates on the year, leads the team in both categories and has collected 62 points to her name en route to heading the charge. Libby Miller, who has 32 points by way of 14 goals and four assists, and Lyndlee Willis and Christen Risner, who have obtained 20 points apiece off of nine goals and two assists (Willis) and seven goals and six assists (Risner), have all been key figures for Wheelersburg this past season.
Chelsee Steele’s six goals and three assists, Laney Eller’s six goals and one assist, and Sophie Hagans’ three goals and five assists have also been critical for Wheelersburg, who hosted Northwest on Tuesday evening and will host Waverly on Thursday evening. With simply a victory against Waverly, the Lady Pirates can lock up the SOC II crown.
As for Northwest, the Mohawks — despite mysteriously dropping a pair of spots in the receiving votes side of the OSSCA Division III Boys Poll — moved to its 13-0 mark by defeating West and Waverly by a combined score of 15-1 last week. Northwest obtained a hat trick from Harald Rundquist and also collected a goal and three assists from Evan Throckmorton en route to a 7-1 win over Waverly that allowed the Mohawks to clinch their first SOC II soccer title since 1993.
For the season, the Mohawks have held their opponents to an astonishing 16 goals while scoring 94 on their own en route to averaging seven goals a game while only giving up more than one. In 11 of its 13 matches, Northwest has won by at least five goals or more, with their only challenges coming in 2-1 and 3-2 victories over North Adams and Minford on Sept. 13 and Sept. 21, respectively.
OSSCA GIRLS DIVISION III Poll
1. Summit Country Day School (Cincinnati) 8-1-0 98
2. Grandview Heights (Columbus) 11-0-1 91
3. West Liberty-Salem 11-0-0 79
4. Archbold 11-0-0 60
5. Chippewa (Doylestown) 9-0-2 57
6. Madeira (Cincinnati) 8-4-0 44
7. Wheelersburg 12-0-0 43
8. Kirtland 6-4-2 36
9. Lehman Catholic (Sidney) 9-2-1 18
10. Lynchburg-Clay 9-2-0 8
Receiving votes: Loudonville, Grand Valley (Orwell), Manchester (Akron), Mansfield Christian School, Worthington Christian School, Riverdale (Mount Blanchard)
OSSCA BOYS DIVISION III Poll
1. Summit Country Day School (Cincinnati) 8-2-1 99
2. Ottawa Hills 12-0-1 88
3. Grandview Heights (Columbus) 8-0-3 73
4. Independence 12-0-0 72
5. Dayton Christian School 8-2-0 60
6. Archbold 10-1-1 40
7. Cincinnati Country Day School 9-1-2 39
8. Worthington Christian School 5-3-3 22
9. Mansfield Christian School 7-4-0 17
10. Mariemont (Cincinnati) 4-3-3 14
Receiving votes: Hiland (Berlin), Bethel (Tipp City), Northwest (McDermott), The Wellington School (Columbus), Western Reserve Academy (Hudson)
Minford 2, Chesapeake 1
Behind another gritty effort from the Minford Falcons’ girls soccer program and its defensive work in the back, Minford was able to pull out its second one-goal victory in a row by collecting a 2-1 victory over Chesapeake on Monday evening in a nonconference bout that was played in Chesapeake.
Even though the Panthers initially fell behind by a 1-0 tally after Chesapeake’s Jenna Taylor scored on an unassisted blast just 11 minutes in, Minford recovered and not only obtained the equalizing goal, but the go-ahead strike as Aurie Coriell’s goal off of a Brittani Wolfenbarker assist four minutes later tied the score. Seven minutes into the second half of play, the combination of Erin Daniels and Marissa Risner struck again as Risner’s pass to Daniels put the Lady Falcons in the lead for good.
“Chesapeake really played us tough tonight,” Minford head coach Shane Tieman said. “We were able to persevere and get the win. I’m very proud of this team. We have been competitive in every game that we’ve played. We have two games left in the regular season, and then we can look forward to tournament play.”
With the victory, Minford improved to 10-4 on the year. The Lady Falcons will play at Washington Court House Miami Trace on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. before closing out the regular season next Tuesday against Waverly at 7 p.m.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7