MINFORD — For a short time this season, Wheelersburg’s girls soccer program was doubted.
But, like any good team, the Pirates used that doubt as a motivation piece.
With a 4-1 win at Minford Thursday, Wheelersburg (13-2-1, 9-1 SOC) clinched a share of the Southern Ohio Conference title, finishing their conference slate with just one loss.
“This year, we were faced with adversity but we were able to stay true to who we are,” junior Lani Irwin said. “After our loss to Waverly, [the Tigers] were confident that they had for sure taken the SOC title from us. Their certainty drove us to work harder. To know that winning the SOC, for the fifth consecutive year, was in our hands, sharing it or not, that motivates us.”
Before the win over the Falcons, the Pirates had a visitor at practice in Wheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward, who knows a thing about winning or two.
Through Woodward, Irwin and company found even more motivation to seal the deal on a fifth straight crown.
“Woodward came in to talk to us. He had respect for us as we did for him. He inspired us to prepare and practice as we would play in a game. Our journey has been filled with ups and down, but I think our dedication shines through. To share the SOC title is a great accomplishment for Wheelersburg’s girls soccer program. It feels good to silence the ones who thought we couldn’t do it. We aren’t ‘all talk.’ We’re all about the game.”
In the win over Minford (7-8, 5-4 SOC) , four different players scored. Ellie Kallner scored first and was followed by Jocelyn Tilley, Laney Eller and Chelsee Steele.
The Falcons’ score came from Haley Knore.
Next up for Wheelersburg is a date with Athens in a Division II sectional semifinal at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15.
“We knew we had to play tougher than [Minford] and execute and we did that,” senior Brittani Wolfenbarker said. “Im super proud of how we stepped up and played team ball in the last half.”