Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Over the past two seasons, Unioto’s girls soccer program has reigned supreme across the Southeast District.
The Shermans, who have posted an overall record of 31-6-3 during that time, have claimed two straight Division II district titles with wins over Chillicothe (3-1) and Fairfield Union (1-0, 2OT).
Captain Kylee Bethel has been an imperative piece on both of those teams.
Bethel, who enters her senior year this fall, has the responsibility of providing even more leadership under a brand new coaching regime following the departure of several key veterans from last year’s team.
With soccer season peaking around the corner, we had the chance to catch up with Bethel to discuss her expectations heading into the season, the team’s transition and much more.
Question: As you enter your senior year, what are you hoping to improve upon the most?
Bethel: I hope to improve on more than I can even say. But something really important that I want to improve on is being a lot stronger with the ball and building up my confidence.
Q: You guys did what you do best last season: win. And now, you bring back loads of talent. After two consecutive trips to a regional semifinal, how can you get over that hump?
KB: To make it to state, I think the team needs to believe we can actually do it. We need to know that we are good enough to make it as far as anyone else in our Division. Having a good mindset for the whole season could really get us over that hump.
Q: Having said that, you do suffer some key losses in players like Jayla [Campbell], Elayna [Gunnoe], Acacia [Kauffman] and McKayla [Thompson] from last year’s team. What do you expect out of the younger girls as they try and fill those roles?
KB: For the younger girls, it’s going to be an experience they won’t ever forget. All I look for is for them to work as hard as they can and get things done. That may not always be easy, but if we want to make it to state, we need players like that. That’s what my team has always done best.
Q: Those key losses also don’t take into account the departure of [former Unioto coaches] Cara [Rathkamp] and Kendra [Dalton]. Can you discuss the transition and what new head coach Jeremy Clark’s doing well for the future of the program?
KB: Cara and Kendra were awesome coaches and they helped us shape the girls program in ways people don’t even notice. But with Jeremy, it’s something new. I haven’t been able to play in open fields yet this summer from trying to figure out some knee problems. But from what I’ve seen, he’s doing great with our girls. You can tell he just wants everyone to have fun and work hard. I’m super excited for my first open field with him and the team.
Q: Individually, you were just as electric as always last fall. What’s your favorite part about having the soccer ball at your feet?
KB: My favorite thing is being able to make those game-changing plays. Nothing can beat that feeling. Not only that, but I can decide where and what i want to do with the ball. I can see the field and know what needs to happen. A player always wants her team and herself to be in control of the game.
Q: In an overall sense, what can we expect to see out of the Shermans this coming season?
KB: From us, you can always expect to see something different and something big. Everyone is just going to have to wait and see what we can truly bring to the table.