By Garth Shanklin
The Williamsburg Lady Wildcats’ soccer team will take to the pitch looking to make a name for themselves in 2016.
The team won four games in 2015, three of which came against Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference opponents. In addition, four Lady Wildcats earned postseason honors from the conference, with seniors Gracie Book and Miranda Wiedemann earning spots on the second-team all-conference squad while then-junior Hope Schaljo and then-sophomore Haley Beeston earned spots on the first team.
Head coach Brian Hart said the squad tends to take a backseat to the Lady Wildcats’ volleyball team, but he hopes in time that will no longer be the case.
“It was a typical Williamsburg year,” Hart said. “Our volleyball program has always been a dominant sport, and soccer has just been something that we offered. I’d like to change that.”
Increasing interest in the sport has helped, and the Lady Wildcats now sport a roster that contains nine freshman, all of whom are expected to log valuable minutes for the team in 2016. Some of them were coached by Hart at the club level.
Those freshman will look to a group of five seniors whose leadership, according to Hart, has been instrumental in making his transition to coaching the squad smooth.
“Their leadership has been key,” Hart said. “I came in and did things a different way than they had been, and they’ve taken to that and taken the younger players under their wing.”
The leadership displayed by the team’s seniors will go a long way toward helping the squad meet the lofty goals Hart has for the team as a whole and the individual player.
“We gave each player individual goals,” Hart said. “Those tie back into the team goals. Ultimately, I’d like to fill that banner in the gym with league titles, and then after that make state.”
However, the Williamsburg Lady Wildcats’ soccer team isn’t focused solely on winning.
“We want to give each player an experience that they’ll remember,” Hart said.
The team will open the 2016 regular season with a road match against SBAAC foe Clermont Northeastern on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. The Lady Wildcats’ home opener will be one week later, on Aug. 30 against Blanchester at 7 p.m.