The Press Newspaper
The No. 13 Owens Community College women’s soccer team is having its best season in its history thanks to a wealth of local players.
“The local talent in the area has been a huge part in our success,” said Mary Whisler, head coach. “Not only do they excel on the field, but also in the classroom. These young ladies have outstanding class, great attitudes and strong work ethics. I am proud to coach these girls.”
Northwood’s Jessica Grindle is the region’s leading scorer and one of the nation’s best scorers, as well. After producing six goals and three assists in an injury filled freshman season, she has burst on the scene with 21 goals and five assists as a sophomore. Among the nation’s top 30 players in goals scored and points, she produced two goals in last weekend’s Region XII tournament that helped propel the Express to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) D-I National Tournament in Melbourne, Fla. on Nov. 18-23.
“The hard work Jess Grindle has put in to become one of the most dangerous forwards in the country speaks for itself with her stats,” Whisler said. “What people don’t see in the stats is her amazing leadership and outstanding attitude.”
Meanwhile, Northwood’s Marissa Ramirez helps anchor a defense that hasn’t given up more than one goal in 14 straight matches, including seven shutouts during that span. She also scored her first career goal in an Oct. 23 road match against Delta College.
Three Clay High School graduates have also played an instrumental role in the success of the team this year. Kendyl Christian, a freshman forward, is third on the team in scoring with 10 goals and three assists and Abby Groll, a freshman midfielder, has three goals and three assists. Megan Soncrant, a freshman midfielder/goalkeeper, hasn’t scored yet this year, but has played a vital role in the field and in goal. She has played in four games in goal, while starting two. She hasn’t allowed a goal in 155 minutes of action. Overall, she has played in every match with five starts.
All three Clay graduates started both games in the Region XII tournament last weekend in which the Express posted back-to-back 2-0 shutouts over Delta College and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
“I could not be happier with what Kendyl, Abby and Megan have brought to our team’s dynamic,” Whisler said. “They work hard on the field and do anything that is asked of them, not to mention they keep me laughing with their funny personalities.”
Lake graduate Tara Preble has seen action in 18 of 19 games as a sophomore reserve. She has three assists on the year.
Woodmore graduate Taylor Avers, who scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over nationally-ranked Schoolcraft College as a freshman, has started all 19 games as a sophomore. She has one assist this year as a defender.
Eastwood graduate Samantha Starkey has seen action in 16 games as a sophomore reserve midfielder. She scored her first career goal in a match against Mercyhurst North East on Sept. 8.
Oak Harbor graduate Amber Burnette has five goals and one assists as a freshman reserve forward. Her goal total is tied for fourth on the team.
All of these players have helped the Express advance to the NJCAA D-I National Tournament, where they will compete with 11 other teams for a national title. The tournament will feature a pool play round and then a championship round of the four pool winners. The Express will find out who they play a week prior to the tournament.
The Express is 17-2 overall with a school record 15 match winning streak. During that stretch, they have outscored their opponents 63-9.