By Garth Shanklin
As the Amelia Lady Barons prepare for one final soccer season, the team has history on their mind.
Since joining the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference in 2010, the Lady Barons have dominated the league’s girls soccer landscape, winning American Division titles every season since entering the conference. Head coach Amy Kemmer does not want that streak to end now.
“We want to finish off by winning the league championship,” Kemmer said. “We haven’t lost the league since joining the conference six, seven years ago, and we want to finish off by winning the league and going undefeated in the league.”
In order to do so, the Lady Barons will rely on a team filled with seniors. Of the 16 players on the Amelia roster, 10 of them are seniors. The team also has four juniors and two sophomores.
As such, several of the team’s key returning players are seniors. Ally Brown finished seventh in the city with 24 goals last season. She also tallied 11 assists en route to earning All-City and All-Conference player of the year honors. Abby Brown started every game last year and led the Lady Barons’ defense. Both players have committed to play Division I soccer at Akron.
Another senior, Shelby Elder, is the team’s goalkeeper. She started last season for the Lady Barons and earned first-team all-conference honors for her performance in net. Kylie Smith will team with junior Lauren Gilbert in the midfield for the Lady Barons, with Lindsay Buten playing next to Abby Brown on the team’s back line.
Kemmer said she has been preparing the seniors since earlier this year for their leadership roles.
“It’s huge,” Kemmer said. “I’ve been talking to that group since January, talking about how important it is for them to be positive leaders and set a good example for the underclassmen. With this being the last year of our team and the existence of Amelia soccer, we want to make sure we finish in the best possible way we can.”
In order to do so, the Lady Barons will likely look to Ally and Abby Brown for guidance. Kemmer said the duo is extremely competitive, and that nature has rubbed of on the other players.
“They’ve been extremely important,” Kemmer said. “Their drive and competitiveness is something the girls have been able to look up to and inspire to be like. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a fun, silly game at practice or a tournament game, they go 100 percent all the time. Having that competitive edge and intensity has been a really good example for the rest of the girls to have. They’re really intense, but in a good way.”
That intensity is key for the Lady Barons if they want to reach their lofty goals for this upcoming season.
“We feel like this is our opportunity to go far,” Kemmer said. “We’d really be disappointed if we weren’t able to come away with the district championship this year. We’d really like to win a district championship, it’s one of our big goals for this year.”