For 18 years, Oak Harbor girls have been winners

J. Patrick Eaken

The Oak Harbor girls soccer team has never had a losing season in the 18 years coach Renee Williamson has been at the helm.

Williamson can give a general explanation of how her program works.

“There are a number of reasons. First, we have a number of superior athletes,” Williamson said. “The girls are just so athletic, and they like to win. They hate to lose and so do I, honestly.”

That makes sense — those involved in any successful program “hate to lose.” This year, the Rockets were even more about winning, finishing 14-4-1 overall and 7-0-1 in the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division to win a league championship.

That is not hard to explain, either.

“It is a little bit of everything. We just had a lot of talent back,” Williamson said. “We graduated five seniors last year and at the end of the season there were only two seniors there, so our core was there. We had Ripley (St. Clair) back in keeper, we had three of four of our defenders and the one who stepped in this year actually played varsity due to an injury last year at the end of the season. 

“Defense is huge. We kept teams to 19 goals, averaging one goal per game even playing teams like Eastwood and Mansfield Christian. The only team that scored a lot of goals against us was in our very first game, against Norwalk, and they scored five (5-4 Norwalk win).”

St. Clair is a junior who had 110 saves, including 15 during a 2-0 loss to Eastwood, and led the Rockets to seven shutouts. She was first team All-North Central District and second team all-league selection after garnering first team all-league as a sophomore. She is a first team Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press keeper and was a strong candidate for keeper of the year.

“She is just phenomenal. She is a great communicator, and she anticipates well,” Williamson said. “Matter of fact, on a couple goals this year she over-anticipated. 

“When we played Eastwood (2-0 Oak Harbor loss), the first goal that they scored on us she actually had the goal (stopped). She was coming out to receive that ball and it hit something and bounced right over her head. We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, you know, she had it.’ 

“Then, the second one she had her hand on it so it could have easily been a 0-0 game. She stepped up and she is fearless. She is not real tall. She can really get up there and at least get a hand on the ball. If she cannot stop it, she can usually get her hand on it and deflects it to avoid the goal. She works with her defense well, so that is huge.”

Three other first team All-Press selections are all juniors, including attacker Hannah Schulte, midfielder Remi Gregory and defender Kaley Daniel. Schulte is first team all-district and Gregory and Daniel are second team.

Schulte only played seven games but still led the Rockets in scoring with 14 goals and eight assists. Gregory had five goals and five assists and Daniel, playing defense, scored one goal.

“Midfielder Remi Gregory really stepped up towards the end of the season and defender Kaley Daniel made a lot of plays in the outside for our defense,” Williamson said. “She is in an attacking defender, which was huge for us. We are going to get a lot of these girls back next year.”

Senior midfielder Kelsey Schling (three goals, four assists) and junior defender Amelia Mizelle were second team All-SBC and honorable mention all-district.

To win a league championship, the Rockets had to face off with the perennially tough Huron Tigers. 

“We beat Huron twice (2-1 both times) and that is obviously a big thing for us because that is how we win our league,” Williamson said. “We beat Wauseon (2-1) and Central (2-0) during the season and then unfortunately lost to them during the tournament. Those were probably our key wins.”

In a big SBC win at Huron, the Tigers scored first and carried a 1-0 lead into the half. The Rockets came back in the second half to score twice. Sophomore Lily DeTray (10 goals, five assists) scored the first goal with 12:04 remaining in the game and senior Elayna Krupp (seven goals, six assists) followed with a second goal with 7:35 remaining in the game.

Another huge league win came against Edison, 1-0. Senior Trinity Varga (two goals, three assists) scored the only goal with 27:42 remaining in the game.

The only league hiccup was a 1-1 tie with Port Clinton. The Redskins scored first, and Krupp tied the game with 26:02 left in the game.

In the regular season win over Central Catholic, DeTray scored the first Rocket goal six minutes into the first half and Varga assisted. The Rockets were able to score an additional goal with 1:30 remaining off of a Gregory corner kick that Schling was able to get her head on enough to allow Krupp to score. St. Clair made 15 saves.

The 1-0 tournament loss to Central Catholic came in the Division II district finals after Oak Harbor had defeated Tiffin Columbian, 4-0, and PC, 2-1.

In the shutout win over the Tornadoes, junior Kori Helle (two goals, one assist) scored the only goal in the first half of the game with 20:16 remaining on a ricochet off of the post. In the second half, Gregory started the scoring with 28:52 remaining in the game off a dual assist from senior Paige Clune (three goals, five assists) and freshman Hollie Robinson (four goals, two assists).  Robinson scored with 5:52 remaining and DeTray assisted. The final goal was scored by Gregory from a corner kick. St. Clair had five saves.

In the tournament win over PC, DeTray scored the first goal with 37:32 left in the second half.  Clune followed with a pass from classmate Emma Martin with 11:24 remaining in the game. St Clair had seven saves.





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