- Greg Billing Contributing Writer
The Springboro Panthers high school girls soccer team has enjoyed measures of success since the program started in 1982. But the Panthers have really taken strides in the past several seasons.
In 2015 the Panthers won their first district title.
In 2016 the Panthers won their first regional title.
What does 2017 have in store? Springboro (16-1-2) finds out when takes its next step against Mason (13-3-3) in the Division I regional semifinals 7 p.m. Tuesday at Monroe High School.
“When you get to this point in the tournament there are no easy games,” Springboro coach Eric Detmer said. “We scrimmaged them pre-season the last four or five years. They’re a very good squad. Very few weaknesses. It’s going to be a real challenge for us. I think we can compete and it will take our best to get us through.”
Springboro reached the D-I state championship game in 2016 before falling 2-0 to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit. The experience gained during that tournament run – and the program’s five straight district finals appearances – is something the Panthers have drawn strength from.
“I think it’s a belief. In the past Cincinnati has really controlled southwest Ohio. We’ve had three district championships in a row. I think what you get from it is the belief we can compete with anyone,” Detmer said. “What used to be a hope and a wish that we would win a district championship is now a why not us kind of attitude. After the run last year that was the talk. We proved we could compete with the best and the girls believe in that. I think they have the belief in themselves they can take on any challenge.”
Springboro’s defense has allowed 11 goals this season and posted 10 shutouts behind keeper Kristy Catrine. Defenders Bridie Herman, Haley Dancer and Emma Feldman have played key defensive roles in front of Catrine.
“Kristy doesn’t get challenged often because she has a very solid defense in front of her,” Detmer said. “I’ve said the difference between her and others is she makes the big save when needed. She really kept us in the (district final) game and prevailed us to victory.”
Offensively, Olivia Page leads the Panthers with 31 goals of the team’s 84 goals and Alex Garver has 15. Herman has a team-high 10 assists and Laurin Uptegrove has nine.
Annie Metzger leads Mason with nine goals and 12 assists. The Comets have scored 40 goals and allowed 10.
“(We’ve got) a good group of girls. It’s been a great ride this far,” Detmer said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what comes this week.”
•In other regional semifinals (all games are 7 p.m. Tuesday):
Bellbrook (16-0-3) plays Indian Hill (18-0-1) at Lebanon Junior High in Division II. The Golden Eagles, who fell in the regional semis last season, have allowed three goals all season behind all-state keeper Bekah Vine. Bailey Sedlak (16 goals), Audrey Spirk (12 goals), Lydia Travis (eight assists), Cassidy Hofacker and Madison Geloneck have played key roles in Bellbrook’s run.
Also in D-II, Tippecanoe (15-3-1) plays Hamilton Badin (12-5-2) at Chaminade Julienne High School. The Red Devils last reached the regional tournament in 2014. Defenders Lauren Weimer, Courtney Ryan, Mackenzie Weaver, Lauren Clapper and keeper Claire Hinkle have combined to allow 10 goals all season. Lauren Lester leads the team with 19 goals.
In D-III, Lehman Catholic (13-4-1) plays Madeira (15-4-0) at Fairmont High School. The Cavaliers make their third regional appearance in the past five seasons. Lehman hasn’t allowed a postseason goal yet while scoring 16 themselves.