About half of the players on the nationally-ranked Owens Community College women’s soccer team are from local schools, and there is a reason for that.
Prep girls soccer teams and players from the eastern suburbs of continue to demonstrate that they can dominate outside opposition.
It all starts with the numerous youth soccer programs in the area, and then the travel programs take over.
Of five girls soccer leagues, three champions were from the eastern Maumee Bay region —Woodmore won the Northern Buckeye Conference title, Oak Harbor repeated in the Sandusky Bay Conference, and Cardinal Stritch Catholic won the Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship.
Those three coaches, Renee Goldstein (OH), Jason Allen (Woodmore), and Dan Roggelin (Stritch) are Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Co-Coaches of the Year. Roggelin helped start the Stritch girls soccer program in 2000 and has been coaching there ever since.
Stritch finished behind Ottawa Hills in the Northwest Ohio Scholastic Soccer League, and Clay was unable to repeat in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
However, Clay defeated Division I regional finalist Anthony Wayne during the regular season, Oak Harbor advanced to the D-III state semifinals, and Lake, Eastwood, and Woodmore advanced to the district tournament.
All-Press Co-Players of the Year received the same honor in their respective leagues. Oak Harbor freshman midfielder Emma Barney received the SBC honor, Lake center midfielder Jordyn Taylor and Eastwood senior attacking midfielder Courtney Niswander shared NBC honors, and Stritch sophomore midfielder Kama Hardy earned the TAAC honor.
Clay first team all-state goalkeeper Alyssa Heintschel is the TRAC Goalkeeper of the Year. Players on the All-Press teams are also carried over from league honors, with some adjustment based on district and other coaches association voting.
Eastwood coach Megan Rutherford said Niswander (10 goals, 9 assists) was voted in “for a reason.”
“She has grown to be a well-rounded soccer player that has good field vision, great technical skill, and is consistent on set pieces,” Rutherford said. “With her as a part of our offense we averaged 3.33 goals scored a game while our opponents only scored an average of 1.67 a game.”
Eastwood finished with an overall record of 9-7-2 (sectional champions) and a 7-3 record in the NBC, which put the Eagles tied for second with Lake. Both the Eagles and Flyers lost to Maumee in the district tournament, for the Flyers it was the third straight year the season was ended by the Panthers.
Lake coach Don Jablonski said that Taylor, who led the team in assists in 2012 and returned to lead the team in multiple categories this year, is “probably the best all-around athlete on the team.” The Flyers finished the 2013 season 12-8.
Jablonski, who helped start the Flyers’ soccer program back in 2003, coached at Lake through the 2005 season before moving on to coach at Central Catholic for the last seven years. He made the move back to Lake after Kevin Lanning moved on after coaching for two seasons.