BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
Save for one match, Port Clinton girls soccer team has dominated the competition for the duration of the season. The Redskins, who are 7-1 and 2-1 in the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division, began the season with seven consecutive victories and have outscored their opponents by a combined 50-13.
Leading the way are nine seniors that have been playing together since their days in youth soccer. Four of them — Rebekah Nehls, Katerina Fillmore, Paige Cuevas and Brooke Martinez — are the captains. The other seniors are Alexis Spears, Paeja Leow, Jasmine Biers, Gabbi Porter and Avery Joseph.
Port Clinton coach Paco Romero, now in his 11th season coaching the team, talked about what they’ve meant to the program.
“Our senior leadership has been a super positive factor to our success,” he said. “They have meant so much to the program. They have helped to establish the program. Our kids have put a lot of time and work into getting better.”
The ‘Skins have been challenged just twice this season. There was the loss to Oak Harbor, and a 3-1 victory against Perkins two weeks ago, a game in which Port Clinton led from the time it scored its first goal until the finish.
Other victories include wins over Edison (5-1), Huron (8-1), Perkins (3-1), Tiffin Columbian (10-0), Fremont Ross (8-0), Norwalk (5-1) and LaGrange Keystone (10-3).
Fillmore leads the team with 18 goals, including five hat tricks. Gracie Rohrer, Morgan Woods, Jade Mitchell and Gladys Wiechman have gotten in on the action, scoring a combined 24 goals.
“I think our attackers do a nice job of opening spaces. They’ve very selfless, they generate things for us,” said Romero. “It can be anyone scoring on any given night. I think our opportunities to score are created by our team, and Katerina fits that position well.”
Goalkeeper Olivia Perry and a fine defensive unit have allowed more than one goal to be scored in a match just twice this season. The primary defenders are Nehls, Spears and Gabbi Porter.“I feel very comfortable with Olivia back there. I think she had eight shutouts last year,” said Romero. “Serena Lewis is also competing with Olivia for playing time.
“Our defenders are quick, fast and strong. They have good legs, whether it’s for a short ball or a long ball.”
The primary forwards are Wiechman, Jade Mitchell and Morgan Woods with Rohrer and Makaila Webb seeing plenty of action as well.
The Redskins operate out of a 3-4-3 alignment. Fillmore is the front midfielder and is backed up by Martinez, Biers and Leow. Some of the key reserves on the team are Morgan Delhees, Amelia Finn and Paige Cuevas.
The ‘Skins aren’t ranked in the top 15 in the AP Division II poll, but they have received some votes thus far.
Romero also credits the community with raising the necessary funds to build the Port Clinton Athletic Boosters Field House, which is located at 407 Short Street.
“I have to credit our athletic boosters,” he said. “The facility has allowed for our kids to work on their game.”