BEAVERCREEK — With a 22-player roster, Beavercreek coach Steve Popp has one of the largest girls high school soccer teams he’s ever coached at his disposal. With the amount of talent he has on the team, this could also be one of his best.
Host Beavercreek cruised to a 9-0 win over Springfield, Sept. 19 on Frank Zink Field, and that score honestly was intentionally watered down. There were several second-half opportunities for the Beavers to score, where the player would opt to kick the ball wide of the goal instead.
There’s no doubt that Beavercreek can score. Currently with a 9-0-0 record (4-0-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s National East division), the Beavers have outscored their opponents by a 49-3 margin. Seven of their wins have been of the shutout variety, and the last time they’d been scored upon was 12 days ago in a 3-2 Sept. 8 win over Springboro.
“So far this season, we’re off to a really good start. The team has worked really hard in our first nine games, and we’ve done a lot of good things so far,” Popp said. “But there are still things we need to work on, and to try to improve on as we try to build through the season.”
Wednesday’s game with Springfield (1-7-2, 0-4-0 GWOC National East) became an opportunity for Popp to throw in different player lineups, to work on the team’s chemistry and timing. Out in front, 3-0 with 26 minutes left to play in the opening half, Beavercreek pulled the ball out to midfield and went into a keep-away drill. … and still scored two more times.
With Maggie Holstein’s goal barely a minute into the second half for a 6-0 Beavers lead, the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s running clock rule took affect … and Beavercreek managed three more scores anyhow.
Marcella Cash scored the game’s first two goals off Diana Benigno assists. Then Benigno scored off a pass from Molly Sedlock. Morgan Currier then scored off Kaileigh Nuessgen’s pass, then Nuessgen scored an unassisted goal to give Beavercreek a 5-0 halftime lead.
After Holstein’s second-half goal, Jenna McCartney took a Cassie Rodriguez pass for a 7-0 ‘Creek lead, Kellie Hawkins scored off Molly Bukiewicz’s assist to make it 8-0, then Nuessgen scored again — this time off another Bukiewicz assist — for the final goal of the night.
Lauren Galloway and Lexi Grice shared time in goal for the shutout. Unofficially, Springfield had two shots on goal.
Springfield coach Amy Miller told her players to learn from the contest.
“They’re very tough across the board. They don’t have any weak areas, and you can tell they are coached very well. They play well, and they’re very organized,” Miller said of Beavercreek. “Every time you step onto the pitch, it’s a chance to get better. The girls can see Beavercreek’s movement on the ball and how effective that can be. They were able to see where the top level is, and how far away we are. It’s a measuring stick for us.”
Miller praised her juniors — Jackie Grayson, Sammy Patel, Maecie Burkhardt, Kenzie Burkhardt, Clarissa Williams, Lily Foley, Evelyn Wolfe, Sara Arvin and KiKi Sanders — for helping to guide the younger players along this season. Her Wildcats will host Lebanon at 7 p.m. Saturday Sept. 22 for their next match.
Beavercreek has five of its final seven regular season matches on the road. For their next game at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, the Beavers will head to Clayton to take on Northmont.
“It’s been a good season so far, but we’re not looking ahead to the postseason at all,” Popp said. “Our next focus is Saturday at Northmont.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.