The process of building a program takes time. Sometimes, it takes years for teams to return to their winning ways. Other times, you match your total wins from the previous season before the midway point of the next season.
The Goshen Warriors boys soccer team is in the latter group. In 2017, head coach Mark Willemin’s squad finished the season with five wins and 10 losses, including shutout losses in each of the team’s final five games. It took the team until October 2 to win their fifth game in 2017. This year, Goshen won their fifth game of the season on September 13, defeating Middletown Madison 6-2.
The team split two games last week, falling to New Richmond 5-3 but rallying two days later for a 4-2 win over Williamsburg. Willemin said he feels like the team will be even better as the second half of the season continues.
“We’ve got a pretty good record at this point, and it’s kind of a work in progress, too,” Willemin said. “I think we’re just going to get better in the second half.”
Willemin credited the team’s play to the work the team is putting in during practice.
”I think the guys are working hard,” Willemin said. “They’re doing what we’re asking, and putting the time in at practice. It’s starting to come together.”
Defensively, Goshen has exceeded Willemin’s expectations. Players stepped up to fill the void of a departing senior, which has helped the team surrender two or fewer goals in all but one game thus far this year.
“I think our defense is much better than I thought it was going to be,” Willemin said. “I thought we were going to be in a bit of trouble in the back, just because we lost a real key player last year. The whole defensive line has stepped up and played much better than I thought they would. They’re doing what we asked. They’re where they’re supposed to be, and doing what they’re supposed to.”
Offensively, Goshen is led by the team’s midfielders. Matthaus Buechner leads the team in goals with 10, and Ryan Willemin is right behind at nine. The sophomore duo are both ranked in the top 20 in the city in goals scored. Buechner’s eight assists are tied for sixth overall, and his 28 total points are eighth in the city of Cincinnati.
“That’s where most of our goals are coming from,” Mark Willemin said. “They’re pushing up and helping the offense out. We only run two guys up top, so we don’t have a lot of guys on offense up there. They’re helping get the ball back to the midfielders when they can’t turn, and it’s working.”
In terms of the league race, Goshen currently sits fourth in the SBAAC American Division at 2-2-1. Willemin said he hopes to be able to make a run at the league title.
“It’s the same guys up top,” Willemin said. “You have Western Brown, I don’t think they’ve lost yet. Batavia’s always good. It’s the same cast of characters that we’re chasing down, hopefully this year we can catch up to them.”
In the short-term, Goshen is hoping to have key players return from injury while picking up a few more victories.
“Right now, our starting goalie is out,” Willemin said. “We’d like to get him back. I’m hoping to win at least four more games. We need to keep playing, get a full game. We have an issue with playing a full game, we need to put whole games together. I think if we can do that, we’re going to win a lot more games.”
Goshen visits Blanchester on Thursday, September 27 in the team’s final non-league contest of the regular season. The team then travels to Batavia on October 2 before finishing the regular season with three straight home games.