The Jonathan Alder girls soccer team has achieved something no girls soccer team at the school has ever done before.
The Lady Pioneers (10-0-1) are ranked No. 9 in the latest Division II state coaches poll. Getting recognized as one of the state’s best teams is a honor, but one Alder coach Matt Evans won’t spend too much time thinking about.
“We always talk about going to states and having that be an annual reality and I think the first step to that is being recognized around the state and being ranked,” the coach said. “We were ranked as high as 12 the past two years, but never in the top 10, so being No. 9 this week, and ahead of Granville, is cool.
“We will be excited about it for about 10 minutes and have fun with it, but then it’s back to work. We know for these rankings to mean anything, we have to go out on the field and prove we are worth it.”
Alder has played well this season despite losing so much to graduation last spring. But with a core of solid leaders and an influx of strong, young, talented players, the squad has come along nicely.
“We have been playing really well lately,” Evans said. “We are a very young team, with 12 underclassmen on varsity and only four seniors, but we have hit a groove where everyone is competing in practice and coming ready to play on game day.”
As for reading about themselves and possibly getting their heads filled with all the praise that’s being heaped their way, the coaching staff isn’t concerned one bit.
“Our team may be young, but they motivate themselves,” Evans said. “They are hungry to be the best and we have a great group of seniors and captains that set the tone and lead from the front. The only motivation they need is to have a soccer ball in front of them.”
Alder rolled over host Kenton Ridge 6-0 Monday. The Lady Pioneers got a pair of goals from Sophia Thomas and a goal each by Hannah Headlee, Kenzie Bushong and Madison Ice. Nora Squires was strong in goal recording three saves.
The Lady Pioneers will be back in action Wednesday, Sept. 27, at home against Tecumseh. Game time is slated for 7:15 p.m.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.