CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee’s head coach Kevin Schaeffer is ready to put his defense up against anyone in the league.
“Our defense is phenomenal. I almost toyed around with putting three girls in the back because three of my original pre-season starting defenders are phenomenal,” said Schaeffer.
“It’ll be nice because I’ve always wanted to, for the last seven or eight years, take one of those defenders (if not two) and — if we are holding possession — be able and throw them up on the outside of the field to become part of the offense.”
The Arrows, who finished 14-2-2, are the defending Southwest Buckeye League’s Buckeye Division champions and are ready to defend that title. The task won’t be easy though as the team graduated nine impact players from last season, including Abby Lynch who was the best goalkeeper in the school’s history.
Preble Shawnee also lost Maggie Woodard who had 26 goals last season, defenders Jordan Lovely and Sam Began, as well as Hannah Hurd who was the team’s starting outside halfback.
The Arrows front a large, talented freshmen class along with a small group of returners who will be solid, says Schaeffer.
“I think the big impact players are going to be the young kids. The freshmen class coming in this year is really strong. Some games this year I’ll start maybe six freshmen,” he said.
“If I had to make a prediction, there will be games where we look like world beaters, like the best team on the planet. Then there will probably be games out there where we don’t look good at all just because of that youth and inexperience and understanding the mood of the soccer game and what each game means when we step up to the table.”
The only starting senior is Lauren Mayer who will be the goalkeeper this season.
Alexis Blanton will hold down the defense for the Arrows while Carlee Jones will help control the midfield. In games against higher-level competition, Schaffer plans to use Riane Woodard, who will act as the team’s possession girl. She will be used to slow down the pace for the squad.
“Even though we are young, we are pretty deep too. We’ll run 16 or 17 deep,” said Schaeffer.
The Arrows opened their season up at home versus Eaton on Tuesday. They open up league play when Madison visits Preble Shawnee on Tuesday, Aug. 26.