By Chris Chaney
Only two Clermont County high school girls’ soccer teams are still kicking into late October and the sectional tournament.
The New Richmond Lady Lions and Clermont Northeastern Lady Rockets represent both of the remaining teams vying for postseason glory and both were in action Tuesday night, Oct. 23.
The Lions faced McNicholas, the same school that ended the Lady Lions’ male counterparts’ season on Monday, Oct. 22.
At 9-5-3 overall and 4-3-3 in the Southern Buckeye Conference, the Lady Lions haven’t exactly been world beaters, but thus far in the sectional tournament, they beat who has been put in front of them.
Up until Tuesday night, by virtue of their draw, the only game the Lady Lions have had to play was against No. 9-seeded Finneytown.
Although New Richmond was the higher seed at 10, head coach Chris Malotke wouldn’t describe their first-round win as an upset.
“Finneytown was a good game,” the coach said. “We scored in the first minute-and-a-half on a corner kick. It was a beautiful serve by Sarah Glenn to Maren Hance.
“It was a seesaw battle between the midfield most of the first half. We outshot them 10-5 and each team was really just feeling each other out. Then in the second half, it seemed like we put it into second gear and took control not only from a defensive standpoint, but in the midfield controlling the tempo of the game to the point that we outshot them 10-1 in the second half.
“We scored both of our goals in the last 15 minutes, but a couple of inches here or there and we could have easily put in three or four more.”
Similarly to the Lady Lions, Clermont Northeastern played in a bracket in which their first-round game was essentially a second-round game due to where they fit into the draw.
The sixth-seeded Lady Rockets faced off with No. 10 seed Fayetteville and were able to advance by virtue of a 2-1 win.
The road to the sectional championship toughened considerably for both Clermont schools in their respective sectional finals as both of them drew the top seeds in their division.
For the Lady Lions in Division II, the McNicholas Lady Rockets are ranked as the best team in the city, coming off of a season that featured a Girls Greater Cincinnati League Grey Central title and a 11-3-3 record.
“Obviously playing not only the No. 1 team in the city, but also in the sectional ranking, McNick is an extremely talented team,” Malotke said. “We are more a team of mental toughness. I think if we come to play focused, then we can play with anybody. Our focus has been about gaining other opponents respect with our play, whether we win lose or tie.”
For CNE, the Lady Rockets also faced the top-ranked team in the city and division in Summit Country Day. The Silver Knights were 15-1-2 coming into their game with CNE along with winning the Miami Valley Conference Title.
At the time of print, the games had not yet been completed, but for the scores be sure to follow @ClerSunSports on Twitter.