Rockets clinch their 11th conference championship

J. Patrick Eaken

Oak Harbor girls soccer clinched its 11th league championship under coach Renee Williamson after a 2-0 shutout victory over Edison last week.
        After neither team scored in the first half, on an assist by Riley Watkins, Hannah Schulte scored with 32:42 left in the game, and Schulte scored an insurance goal with 1:23 remaining, assisted by Remi Gregory. Goalkeeper Ripley St. Clair had three saves in earning the shutout.
        The Rockets are 10-3-1 overall and 8-1 in the Sandusky Bay Conference’s Bay Division. However, earlier in the season it looked as if Huron might rock the Rockets’ boat.
        Huron defeated Oak Harbor 2-0 in their first matchup, but the Rockets rebounded the second time around, downing the Tigers 3-0, thanks to a hat trick by Schulte. All three of her goals came in the second half.
        Schulte scored two minutes and 51 seconds after the second half kickoff, assisted by Haley Lenke, to put Oak Harbor on the board. Elayna Krupp assisted on Schulte’s second goal, which came with 24:58 remaining, and Schulte’s final goal came unassisted with 9:15 left in the game. St. Clair had five saves.
        Williamson says the strengths of this year’s team are “speed and team cohesiveness.”
        Williamson had 11 returning lettermen on this year’s team including four forwards, Schulte, Krupp, Paige Clune and Lily DeTray, and they return St. Clair in goal. Midfielders returning include Gregory, Kelsey Schling and Trinity Varga and defenders include Watkins, Erica Winters, Kori Helle, Kaley Daniel and Amelia Mizelle.
        Last year, Schulte, Krupp, Winters, Varga and Daniel were All-SBC honorees and Schulte and Winters won North Central District honors. Schulte had 22 goals and defenders combined for more than 1,100 touches to keep the ball off the goal.
        St. Clair stepped in during tournaments and only allowed one goal as the team went 11-6-1 overall and 6-2 in SBC play. Williamson said she had every expectation that this year’s team would compete for a league title, and now they’ve already won it with three regular season games remaining.
        Since that season, Williamson says her team has made improvements “in confidence in ball handling and shooting.”
        Other wins have been over Norwalk (7-3), Vermilion (3-0 and 2-1), Wauseon (5-1), Port Clinton (4-0 and 2-1), Edison (4-0) and Clyde (2-0 and 3-0). Other losses have been to Lake (5-1) and Central Catholic (2-0) and the Rockets tied Genoa, 3-3.
        Wednesday in a 3-0 win over Clyde, Schulte scored the only goal for the Rockets in the first half with 32 minutes remaining. She was assisted by Wintes. However, in the second half, St. Clair got on the board, scoring a goal just one minute and 19 seconds into play. Kaley Daniel scored the final goal with 9:51 remaining in the game.
        In the first 3-0 win over Vermilion, all three of Oak Harbor’s goals came in the second half, which seems to be a trademark of the team this year. Four minutes and nine seconds after the second half kickoff, Kelsey Schling scored on assists from Winters and Schulte. Schulte scored the second goal with 29:15 remaining, assisted by Schling, and DeTray scored the final goal with 10:04 remaining, assisted by Schulte.
        Against Wauseon, it only took one minute and 43 seconds for the Rockets to get on the board as Trinity Varga scored assisted by Krupp. Schulte scored the next two goals, the first coming unassisted with 26:20 remaining in the first half and the second just less than nine minutes (17:43) later. Schling scored the final first half goal with 11:09 remaining, and Schulte completed her hat trick, getting her third goal with 29:37 remaining in the game. St. Clair had six saves.
        In the 4-0 win over PC, Oak Harbor scored twice in each half. Schulte scored one minute and 17 seconds into the game, assisted by Krupp, and Schlilng scored with 17:42 remaining in the first half. In the second half, it took Varga just 16 seconds to score the Rockets’ third goal, assisted by DeTray. Gregory got the final goal with 2:01 remaining off a ball that deflected off the post. St. Clair had three saves.
        It was the same in a 4-0 win over Edison — two Oak Harbor goals in each half. Schulte had both first half goals, scoring six minutes and 18 seconds into the match, assisted by Schling, and again with 25:59 remaining in the half, assisted by Krupp. DeTray scored the third goal on a pass from Lenke with 33:21 remaining in the game, and Schulte got another hat trick, scoring with 24:12 remaining on a feed from Varga.
        The second time around with Vermilion the Rockets narrowly escaped with a one goal win as Schulte got the game winner with 11:32 remaining. Assisted by Lenke, DeTray scored with 21:55 left in the first half to put Oak Harbor on the board after Vermilion’s Makayla Lindo scored the game’s first goal almost eight minutes earlier. St. Clair had seven saves.
        The same thing happened in the second match with Port Clinton—Schulte had the game winner with 36:58 remaining in a 2-1 win. Kennedy Blunt assisted, Schulte had the first goal on an assist from Clune with 7:04 remaining in the first half. But both goals were big as PC scored off a penalty kick later in the match.
        The Rockets had a rematch at Clyde last Thursday, took on Eastwood, ranked fifth in the Division III coaches’ poll on Saturday, and end the regular season traveling to Mansfield Christian this Thursday for a 5 p.m. game.
        This is Williamson’s 17th year at the helm, accumulating a 234-51-28 record. Under her tenure, Oak Harbor has won 11 sectional championships, two district titles, and one regional title which sent the team to the state semifinals.


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