By Chris Chaney
At 8-3-1 overall and 4-2-1 in the league, the New Richmond Lions’ boys’ soccer team is having a pretty successful season.
An upperclassmen-laden roster has allowed Coach Doug Flamm’s team to develop into a solid contender in the Southern Buckeye Conference and he hopes to be a threat in the postseason.
“We’re playing very, very well,” Flamm said. “Defensively, offensively, we’re playing well. I like the goal-scoring opportunities that we’re creating. Our effort has been outstanding. As a team overall, they really mesh well together, there’s no personality conflicts, they play well together. They play hard with a great attitude.”
Despite starting the season out with a 3-0 loss at Eastern, the Lions did a bang-up job through the middle part of their schedule going 8-1-1 and inserting themselves as a top team in the SBC-American Division, something Flamm credits to stellar defense.
“Defensively, my goalie (Nathan Dixon) has done a great job,” Flamm said. “We’ve not given up many shots on goal. My back line and my goalie have done a great job. We’re creating some great opportunities and getting some shots on goal, we’re just not finishing.”
Asked about a few standouts this season, Flamm found it hard to narrow it down because of the whole team effort the Lions have put forth.
“Wow, there’s a lot,” he laughed. “There really is. There are a lot of guys playing well.”
Pressed on the issue, Flamm pointed out the senior leadership of Sam Leffler and Dixon.
“Most of my starters are having great years,” he said.
With a handful of games remaining on the schedule, Flamm believes his team has what it takes to make a push at the conference title.
The Lions started their late-season conference schedule with a win versus Western Brown, 4-1, but fell in a hard-fought game against Norwood on Monday, Oct. 1, 1-0.
New Richmond still has four games remaining, three of which are against Southern Buckeye American Division opponents.
“We’re hoping to win out,” Flamm said. “We need a little help to win league, but we’re hoping to win out conference wise and put some pressure on Amelia, but Amelia’s a good team.”
The Barons, who currently are undefeated at 12-0 overall and 7-0 in conference also have four games left on the schedule with three of those coming against SBC opponents. For New Richmond to capture a share of the league title, they would need Amelia to lose to Goshen on Thursday, Oct. 4 and Norwood in their season finale on Oct. 11.
The other game that New Richmond needs to Amelia to lose is directly in their control as the Lions faceoff with the Barons on Oct. 9.
Going past the regular season, Flamm is optimistic that with a solid finish they can make some noise in the postseason.
“We’re hoping to get a good seed to get a good draw,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get past the second round of the tournament and make a run at it.”