The Lady Indians soccer players will have to grow into some new roles this season after losing some hefty offensive production and senior leadership in 2014.
Coach Jeremy Ratcliff will enter his second year as the head coach of the Hillsboro girls team and says that the players on this year’s team will have to learn some new things.
“We lost some really good players and leaders last year from a production and leadership standpoint,” Ratcliff said. “The girls are still learning new roles on this year’s team, including leadership on the field and during practice. We also lost a lot of offensive production from last year and that has caused some transitioning into new positions for veteran players and forcing some younger players to step into starting roles. We lost some ‘game changers’; players that can literally take over a game. We are still looking to see who will fill that role this year, but I know that we have the talent and ability.
“As skill increases through repetition, individual and collective confidence should grow as well, which will be the key. That is the nature of high school athletics. Seniors graduate and younger players must step into bigger roles, whether it is in terms of production or leadership or both. The sooner the players realize and accept their new roles on this team, the sooner we will start to see success and build for the entire season.”
The Lady Indians have five seniors on the team this year that will have to step into those leadership roles that coach Ratcliff talked about: Mallory Sluss, Mallori Crum, Jaylyn Yochum, Lilly McCleese and Carly Meyer.
Coach Ratcliff said that the team’s goals are simple and that one of them is to win the South Central Ohio League.
“Our goal is always to win the league championship and we know that is not an easy task given our league record from last year and the strength of the top teams in the league,” Ratcliff said. “It is something I talk about everyday; competing every night in the league, especially as we prepare for tournament season.
“Another goal is to repeat as district champions. One of the things I always tell the girls is to not rest on our laurels. In other words, don’t rely on what this program has done in the past, because this year’s team hasn’t accomplished anything yet. A lot of players have come through this program and made tremendous sacrifices to get this program where it is and we should never assume that because we have had postseason success in the past that it will automatically happen again. Those players and teams earned that success and we have to work to earn success for this year’s team every day on the practice field, and should have really started in the summer through our commitment, effort, focus, communication, teamwork and being coachable.”
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.