Greenon girls win first district soccer title since 2007

SPRINGFIELD — The Greenon High School girls soccer team are district champions for the first time in 15 years.

The Knights scored two goals in the first five minutes en route to a 2-0 victory over Anna in a Division III district final match on Saturday night at Springfield High School. Greenon won its eighth district championship in school history and its first since 2007.

“It means a lot, especially as we’re winding down from this season and realizing that any game can be our last,” said Knights senior Claire Henry. “I just realized how bad I want to win and how badly I want to keep going. I don’t think any of us are willing to lose.”

Greenon improved to 17-3 and advanced to face top-ranked Cincinnati Country Day at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Monroe High School.

Knights senior Kiersten Young scored 45 seconds into the match to give Greenon a quick 1-0 advantage.

A few minutes later, sophomore Sarah Riley scored to make it 2-0.

The Knights had a large contingent of fans who made the easy trip to Springfield High.

“We feel like this is our home turf in a way,” said Knights coach Jamie Minteer. “We have the advantage of having all of our families close. Granted, they’re going to follow us everywhere, but being this close and having your community support us, it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Greenon kept the pressure on in the second half, controlling the ball in their half of the field, but couldn’t penetrate the Rockets defense.

“We weren’t going to stop until we got that third goal,” Minteer said. “The pressure was on for (Anna).”

Minteer praised the Knights five seniors — Henry, Ally Jewell, Kierstin Young, Macy Young and Abby West — for an outstanding performance.

“They’re the heart and soul of this team and we’ve been successful because of them,” she said.

Since dropping back-to-back matches to Fairbanks and West Liberty-Salem, the Knights have won six straight without allowing a goal.

The losses played a key role in the Knights success down the stretch, senior Macy Young said.

“It took a loss to make us realize how much we wanted to buy into the rest of the season, especially come tournament time,” she said. “We realized how good of a shot we had and we had to buy in every step of the way.”

Greenon advanced to the district final thanks to a 1-0 overtime victory over West Liberty-Salem on Oct. 25. Riley scored the game-winning goal to send the Knights to the district final.

“It was a fantastic win,” Minteer said. “To play an undefeated team for the second time, the odds are stacked against you. We knew that we matched up well and took care of business. … It spoke volumes about this team and who they are, the kind of athletes they are and how competitive they are.”

They’ll face another tough task in the regional semifinals against last year’s state runner-up Country Day, which beat the Knights 7-0 in a D-III district final match last season. Greenon is seeking its first regional final appearance since 2002.

“It’s always exciting to play against any kind of challenging opponent,” Minteer said. “I think they rise to the occasion when they face a challenge. We’re eager and we’ll do whatever it takes to certainly have our best performance against Country Day.”

About the Author