breaking news

Multiple weather-related accidents reported across Miami Valley

High School Soccer: Shawnee boys excelling under new coach


With just 14 players and a new coach, the Shawnee High School boys soccer program wasn’t expected to do much on the pitch this season.

However, coach Christian Davoli and his Braves squad proved they were up for the challenge.

»RELATED: Monday’s high school roundup

»RELATED: Monday’s high school scoreboard

The Braves finished 5-9-3 this season, including an upset of previously unbeaten West Liberty-Salem on Oct. 6 — despite rarely having more than three players on the bench at one time.

“We play scrappy, tough soccer,” Davoli said. “We frustrate teams and counter attack when we get the opportunity.”

Davoli, a former All-Ohio selection at Greenon, played collegiately at Westminster College and later got a teaching position at nearby Wilmington High School. He coached the Greyhounds boys soccer team to multiple district playoff appearances in 11 seasons with the program.

Davoli and his family moved back to the area when found a teaching job at the Global Impact STEM Academy. He couldn’t pass up the opportunity to build the program at Shawnee, which has never won a league or district title in school history.

“That’s essentially what I did at the last school I was at,” Davoli said. “It was a heavy football school.”

Shawnee graduated nine seniors last year and returned three to four players with varsity experience, Davoli said. The team also had just one freshman in their 13-man squad, he said.

“Amongst all the teams that we play against, no one really has a squad that small,” he said. “As far as us staying healthy and making sure the fitness level was there for games, it took awhile for the guys to used to how to play with such little coming off the bench, sustaining for 80 minutes.”

The Braves started 3-3, but hit a wall against several good teams like Bellefontaine and Northwestern, he said.

However, Shawnee earned positive results in five of final six regular season matches, including two wins and three ties. On Oct. 10, the Braves entered their game against Jonathan Alder with just 12 players and lost a player during the match due to a red card and held on for a scoreless tie.

“It’s a real testament to these guys, the hard work they’ve put in,” Davoli said. “(Alder and WLS) on paper and as well as the eye test, they were way more skilled and technically-sound than our team. But their effort was unmatched. I haven’t seen a team scrap like these guys have scrapped. They’ve done way more than I had expected.”

The Braves also found their goalkeeper and 14th man in senior Matthias Dewhurst, a homeschool student who lives in Shawnee’s district and plays for the Crew SC Academy club team in Columbus.

He led the CBC with 165 saves in 14 games.

“He just seems to have that natural ability,” Davoli said.

Seniors Jake Young (1 goal, 5 assists) and Ben Ross (3 goals) have provided great leadership, guiding the young Braves team since Davoli’s first practice, he said.

“It’s been a challenge, but it could’ve been way more challenging if we didn’t have these guys there to lead our young guys,” Davoli said.

This year, Davoli played to his team’s strengths in an effort to win more games. Shawnee finished its season on Monday, falling to Oakwood 5-0 in a Division II sectional match. Aiden Wills led the team with four goals this season.

Moving forward, he wants to implement a more tactical system with ball movement, he said. He’s also hoping to grow the game at the younger levels within the district.

“If you don’t have something feeding into your program, it’s never going to grow,” Davoli said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Signing period: Area seniors who will play at the next level
Signing period: Area seniors who will play at the next level

The week-long early signing period for basketball and the regular signing period for all NCAA Division I and II sports but football began on Wednesday, Nov. 14. NCAA D-I football will have an early signing period from Dec. 19-21. The traditional regular signing period for football is Feb. 6-April 1 of 2019. The following are area high school seniors...
Ohio State looking to extend noon dominance
Ohio State looking to extend noon dominance

Ohio State and Maryland are set to kick off at noon Saturday — the perfect time for the Buckeyes so far in the Urban Meyer era.  Perfect as in they haven’t lost a noon kickoff yet since he took over as the coach in Columbus.  The Ohio State sports information department produced that eye-opening stat this week: 29-0 in games that...
Hue Jackson on return to Bengals: ‘Excited to join a team in playoff contention’
Hue Jackson on return to Bengals: ‘Excited to join a team in playoff contention’

Hue Jackson was hoping he could make his way back to the Cincinnati Bengals when the Cleveland Browns fired him as their head coach three weeks ago, but he said he has no regrets about leaving Cincinnati in the first place. The Bengals named Jackson a special assistant to the head coach Tuesday to help Marvin Lewis as he assumes the role of defensive...
Wayne’s Landers on OSU defense: ‘Lot of things we still need to clean up’
Wayne’s Landers on OSU defense: ‘Lot of things we still need to clean up’

The Ohio State defense has been under fire throughout the 2018 season. The troubles started on opening day when Oregon State scored 31 points and totaled nearly 400 yards. That included 196 yards on the ground, touchdown runs of 78 and 80 yards plus a 49-yard score through the air. Although some of that damage was done against reserves, the seeds for...
Random thoughts: Ohio State’s mentality, the Bengals future, Reds optimism, Warriors troubles and more
Random thoughts: Ohio State’s mentality, the Bengals future, Reds optimism, Warriors troubles and more

It took 10 games, but Ohio State finally got a win it could purely feel good about. Remains to be seen if Michigan State ends up being a true quality win, but that’s secondary if you ask me. A shot of confidence is something the Buckeyes needed more than a resume-builder, but you can’t have one without the other I guess. Big week for Dwayne...
More Stories