By Chris Chaney
Southern Buckeye Conference supremacy has become old hat for the Amelia Lady Barons, winners of the league each of the first three years they’ve been members, but heading into the sectional tournament, head coach Amy Kemmer is hoping to garner the respect she believes her program has earned.
“We already have the conference championship wrapped up at 9-0,” Kemmer explained. “The next team (New Richmond) has four wins, but we have other goals beyond that.
“Every year, I always hope for a higher seed, but in reality, we still don’t have the respect a lot of the Division I schools. We got a 22 seed out of 30 teams, which is actually a little higher than I thought we would get.”
With their last regular season game of the season wrapping up on Tuesday against New Richmond, the Lady Barons have shifted their attention to Princeton, their first-round opponent in the sectionals.
Despite hosting the No. 25th seeded Lady Vikings in the first round on Oct. 14, the lack of respect given to Amelia is apparent in looking at the records of those seeded ahead of the Lady Barons. The Lady Barons’ winning percentage (78.5 percent) is the fourth highest in the Cincinnati sectional behind only No. 1 seed St. Ursula, No. 3 seed Loveland and No. 17 seed Harrison.
“It doesn’t really matter to us anymore,” Kemmer said. “We try to come out and win games no matter who (we’re playing) and what our seed is.”
At 11-4 overall and 9-0 (at the time of this publishing), Amelia ran away with their fourth consecutive SBC title. Their romp through the league forced Kemmer and her squad to reevaluate what they wanted to get accomplished this year.
“We set a lot of goals at the start of the year and had to reset some others halfway through the year,” Kemmer said. “Our final goal, in terms of league, is to go undefeated, so hopefully that will happen after we play New Richmond on our senior night.”
The seniors who were honored on Tuesday night have left the Amelia program much better off than when they found it. Eleven of them in total, they have not lost an SBC game in their tenure, going 34-0-5 at the time of print.
“The senior group has meant a lot (to the program),” Kemmer said. “Many of them are four-year varsity players. (Ashlee) Holcombe, (Madison) Terry, (Courtney) Tackett, (Allison) McDaniel are four-year players, a couple of the others are three-year players, but they’ve all been in the program, so they mean a tremendous amount.
“They know how we do things, they have the same effort level that I expect and their going to be irreplaceable and for them, I want to make a run. It would be awesome for them.”
Kemmer said that she believes her team’s opportunity to win a few games in the tournament, which may include a second-round upset of second-seeded Mason, would go a long way in bolstering the reputation of Amelia soccer.
“(A couple wins) would definitely help us out,” Kemmer said. “That’s one thing that I mention to the girls a lot; we get frustrated that we don’t feel as though we’re respected, but at the same time we have to do more in the postseason. We have to make a run and win some games. We haven’t really gotten out of the second round of the tournament since I’ve coached here, so for us to get past Princeton at home and have the opportunity to play Mason at their place and knock them off would be huge.”
The Lady Barons can take their first step in improving the Amelia reputation on Monday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. when they host Princeton, but the big statement game could come a few days later on Oct. 17 when they would play the Lady Comets with a sectional final berth on the line.