BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — It’s a senior class that Maumee girls soccer coach Jeremiah McNutt said has seen “the lows of the program.”
And now, they’re a part of some of the rarest air the program has ever sampled.
The Panthers ran through last week’s district tournament, allowing only one goal in two games, to claim the program’s second district title in its 33-year history.
Maumee beat Port Clinton, 3-1, in the Division II district semifinal before shutting out No. 1-seed Oak Harbor, 1-0, in the championship game.
“This means a lot to this program,” McNutt said. “It has been nine years since the program has played in a regional semifinal.
“Our senior starters Haley Hughes and Teagan Foster have been big parts of our program this year. The senior class, including Nikki Kiss and Marina Adams, has seen the lows of the program.
“However, they have all stuck with it and worked hard for four years. They are now seeing the rewards of their hard work.
“They are my first class at Maumee. They will always hold a special spot in my heart.”
Foster scored in the win over Port Clinton and Hughes had her sixth shutout of the season against Oak Harbor. The younger classes also stepped up, however.
Junior Cait Smalley scored in her fourth straight game, while sophomore Evelyn Boyett also scored against Port Clinton, with assists going to juniors Julia Findling and Courtney Becker as well as sophomore Shannon Tolbert.
Boyett scored the game’s only point against Oak Harbor. Her two goals in the district tournament broke a seven-game goalless streak.
“We have a lot of talent that continues to push each other to get better,” McNutt said. “My hope is that this experience helps us build on the big picture, getting back to the winning ways of the program’s 33-year history.
“This is one season, but I would love to see the upcoming classes make it into a tradition. Only time will tell.”
The Panthers next faced St. Marys Memorial last Tuesday in the regional semifinal at Bowling Green High School. No matter what has happened in the past or what may remain in the future, McNutt said the key from here is to focus on one game at a time.
He said he listened to several coaching and motivational books in the offseason and has pulled lessons from each one. The most important, he said, is The New Mind Set.
“Forget about the past. Do not let past results determine the results of the game before it is even played, this season or in past seasons,” McNutt said.
“To strive to bring the glory days of the past 33 years back to Maumee. These have been our goals the whole season, and will be the goals for as long as this tournament run lasts for us. They will also be the goals for next season.”