By John Bombatch
XENIA — The Xenia Buccaneers girls soccer team is becoming a fine-tuned scoring machine. Coach Jim Lamb says Wednesday’s 8-0 romp over visiting Greenville is a sign that the team is coming together.
“We have started to put it all together,” Lamb said. “We’re getting more consistent play and a better effort from everyone. It’s a solid, consistent team effort and we’re starting to play smarter, too. And it’s all starting to pay off.”
Cheyann McGee was the main benefactor in Xenia’s coming together as a team. The senior forward scored three goals in the first half, then scored another in the second half. Junior forward Amara Shepherd also had a trio of first-half goals, and Chelsea Dudgeon added a second-half goal.
Lamb credited Adriana Winston, Amelia Maloney and Marissa Babb with assists in the Bucs win.
Xenia has now won its last three matches to pull its record to 3-3 overall, 2-2 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s American South Division. They’ve outscored opponents Piqua, Urbana and now Greenville by a combined 15-3 margin.
Thirteen of the Xenia players on the 22-player varsity roster are juniors or seniors. Lamb says that experience is a big reason for the team’s recent success.
“For the first time in the last few years, we have a team that is fairly experienced. They’ve played a lot of soccer, and a lot of them have played together for several years. We do have a few young kids, but they play at a very high level in the off-season, and so they’re mixing in really well,” Lamb said.
Greenville coach Jason Arnold said his team doesn’t fare very well on an artificial turf surface.
“We’re used to playing on natural grass, and turf seems to speed the game up a bit too much for us,” he said. “Our touches and our passes were a little out of gauge tonight. I would say that’s one of the obstacles we face when we travel.”
Green Wave defenders Allie Null and Maddie Shepherd both made big saves in the second half to keep the match from getting further out of hand. On a Xenia corner kick with eight minutes left to play, the two Greenville defenders covered for their goaltender who had cleared the initial corner kick shot from Xenia’s Jamea Clark, but couldn’t get back in time for the two rebound tries.
Winless Greenville (0-4, 0-3 GWOC American North) has yet to play a home match this season. They have been shut out in three of their first four contests. At least three of those losses came on artificial turf. The Green Wave will finally get to enjoy the natural turf confines of their home pitch when they host New Paris Graham at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Xenia will host Vandalia Butler (3-1-1, 3-0 GWOC American North) at 11 a.m. Saturday.