Springfield boys soccer on pace for best year in school history

After finishing 5-12 last year, the Springfield High School boys soccer team entered the season ready to prove they are a program on the rise.

The Wildcats have done that and more this fall.

Springfield is 4-5-1 this season, including beating Clark County rival Greenon for the first time since the schools combined in 2008. The Wildcats tied Belmont (7-0-1) 3-3 on Thursday night.

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“Coaches are starting to realize this isn’t the ‘stat game’ because that’s what it was for the longest time,” said Wildcats coach Matt Kohl. “It’s not the stat game anymore. You better come ready to play and to our compliment, teams have done that. They’ve come ready to play.”

When South and North High Schools combined in 2008, the boys soccer program went 0-17 in back-to-back seasons and won just five games in the next three seasons.

Before last season, the Wildcats hadn’t won more than four games in a season in school history. After coming off five wins and its first victory in a Greater Western Ohio Conference division match in 2018, Springfield scheduled more difficult games in both the summer and the regular season to prepare itself for the postseason.

“We trained back into January with the mindset that we’re going to have a tougher schedule,” Kohl said.

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Springfield opened the season with a victory in the Benjamin Logan Quest Cup, beating the host school 7-1. The Raiders haven’t lost since and currently lead the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division. The 4-3 victory against Greenon was just the second Clark County team Springfield has beaten since the merger — the other being Southeastern.

“They work hard,” Kohl said. “They know how good they are. At 4-5, they’re starting to get it. The losses we’ve had have been to quality teams. It’s still coming.”

The Wildcats fell to Lebanon 3-1 on Sept. 10, but tied the game in the second half before giving up two goals in the final 10 minutes.

“We fought for the entire match to try to get that equalizer,” Kohl said. “It’s a cultural shift. You get that equalizer and do your best not to lose the game, rather than what we want, which is ‘Let’s go get it’.”

The Wildcats are led by two speedsters up front in sophomore Yoro Diallo and Cam Elliott.

Diallo moved to Springfield near the end of last season, Kohl said. He’s currently leading the Greater Western Ohio Conference in goals with 12, which also ranks him among the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association unofficial state leaders.

“He’s a tremendous talent,” Kohl said. “He’s a very physical, strong player. He is one of those special cases where someone just falls into your lap. He can score goals, plain and simple.”

Elliott set the school record for goals in a season last year with 12. He currently has seven goals and is tied for the lead in the GWOC with seven assists. He’s scored six goals in the Wildcats last five games.

“(Elliott) is a phenomenal talent,” he said. “He can score goals. He’s extremely fast.”

The Wildcats defensive unit has also come up big, Kohl said, including senior Dane Klosterman and Isaac Stiles. Klosterman moved to the back after playing forward in previous seasons.

“We’ve had guys do things they’re not accustomed to doing,” Kohl said. “They do what they’re asked to do and they’ve responded.”

The Wildcats will graduate a strong class for the second straight year, Kohl said, but have more than 40 players in the program.

“We’re continuing to grow,” said Kohl, who is in his second season as head coach. “The program has transitioned faster than what I gave it credit for. I’m happy about that. It’s a good thing.”

Big win: The Springfield High School volleyball team defeated Beavercreek for the first time since 2009 on Sept. 6, beating the Beavers in five sets 26-24, 17-25, 25-21, 17-25, 17-15.

Sophomore Jaeden Yost led the Wildcats with 27 assists and 18 digs, while Alessia Fornasari had 19 kills and 22 digs.

Springfield is 5-5 and 3-1 in the GWOC American Division, one game back of Centerville (8-3, 4-0).

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