As Queen’s “We Are The Champions” blared from the loud speakers, the Tecumseh High School girls soccer senior class embraced at the center of the pitch at Spitzer Stadium.
After 25 years, the Arrows were champions.
»RELATED: Thursday’s high school roundup
»RELATED: Thursday’s high school scoreboard
Tecumseh beat Indian Lake 3-1 on Wednesday to clinch its first Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division, the school’s first girls soccer championship since 1993.
“It’s a very big accomplishment for the team,” said senior defender Katlin Sanning. “I’m very proud we were all able to work together to do something that was a goal for everybody.”
Katie Rawlins, Taylor Sisco and Haley Yeary each had goals for the Arrows (13-1-2, 9-0-1).
At the beginning of the season, Tecumseh coach Craig Lindsey knew the CBC Kenton Trail would be very challenging. The Arrows finished third in 2017 behind Shawnee and Jonathan Alder.
“We marked those two on our calendar at the beginning of the season,” Lindsey said. “Those were must wins. We knew if we wanted to win it all, we had to win those two.”
Tecumseh beat Shawnee 2-1 on Sept. 12, then beat Jonathan Alder 2-0 two weeks later. That’s when the Arrows started to believe, Lindsey said.
“The girls realized this could be something special,” he said. “As the season went on, we knew it was going right. We kept our focus on one game at a time and they stuck to it. We didn’t look ahead. I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”
The Arrows needed a win or a draw to win the league title outright. It was a typical situation for Tecumseh, who always seemed to play its best in the biggest moments, Sanning said. The Arrows overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Kenton Ridge 3-2 on Oct. 8.
“We always pushed through it and played even harder than even we knew we could,” she said.
As the Lakers attempted a quick counter attack early in the second half, Rawlins, an outside back, stole the ball and shot from about 40 yards out. The ball sailed into the open net, tying the game.
“We do a great job pushing up and our defenders all have pretty big legs,” Lindsey said. “We always get the ball right back in there. She was in the right place at the right time and it was a beautiful shot.”
Goals by Sisco and Yeary gave Tecumseh a lead it would never relinquish.
Team chemistry has been a key factor in the Arrows success, Lindsey said.
“Every girl contributes in every way possible,” he said. “Our team is good about accepting their roles. We don’t have one star, we have a field of them. It doesn’t matter who’s out there. It’s not let’s get the ball to this player; it’s let’s work the ball around as a team. We’re very team-oriented and I think it shows.”
The future is bright for the young Arrows squad that consists of four freshmen, four sophomores and seven juniors. They’ll lose four key seniors in Sanning, Yeary, Olivia Dix and Emma Hennigan.
“They’ll be hard to replace, but we have a great young group,” Lindsey said. “I think if anyone can step up into it, they’re going to be able to.”
First, Tecumseh will set its sight on the postseason. The Arrows will host Fairborn in a Division I, Dayton 2 sectional first round game at 7 p.m. Tuesday. They beat the Skyhawks 1-0 in the second game of the season on Aug. 20.
Cats roaring: The Springfield High boys team won its first Greater Western Ohio Conference division game in school history Tuesday, beating Wayne 5-0 in American National East Division play.
Sophomore Cameron Elliott netted a hat trick in the victory over Wayne. Elliott scored another goal in the Wildcats’ 4-2 victory over Fairborn of the GWOC American South, setting a school record for most goals scored in a season with 12.
The victory also set a new record for boys soccer wins in a season with five.