Oldham home to some quality soccer

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By Brad Stephens

   It’s been a pretty special soccer season this fall here in town.

   The last two weeks especially have showcased just how competitive the beautiful game is in our county.

   North Oldham, Oldham County and South Oldham’s boys and girls soccer teams have spent the recent days going through the postseason, from districts to region to state. During that time the county has showed it’s far and away the soccer class of Region 8.

   The two teams that stand beyond everyone else are coach Dan Schulz’s OC girls and coach Chad Niedert’s North boys. Both squads have assembled historic seasons amidst a push into the state tournament.

   You can start with the Lady Colonels, one of just two girls teams in the state still undefeated.    In fact, the only game all year OC (21-0-1) hasn’t won was a 1-1 tie against perennial power Assumption in Louisville.

   The Lady Colonels boast three seniors that’ll be playing Division-I soccer next year, with Shelby Cohen (Louisville), Haley Kemper (Eastern Kentucky) and Karigan Owens (Tennessee Tech).   They went through the entire district and region tournaments without allowing a goal, including in two 4-0 wins over South Oldham in the district and region championship games.

   Then you look at our county’s other state tournament team, the North boys. The Mustangs, just one year removed from going 5-12-2, have gone 20-4-1 in Niedert’s first year as head coach, setting the school record for wins in a season along the way.

   North relies on a rotating cast of veteran scorers, from Sean Williams-Harris to Hunter Wafford to Mason Smith, while defensive players like Jad Vicich, Sam Kelly and Seth Junion keep other teams off the board. In their last three games the Mustangs have beat No. 3 Collins, No. 9 South Oldham and No. 12 Central Hardin, advancing to the state quarterfinals against some stout competition.

   “We just need to make sure we continue to organize and make sure this name is regularly appearing in this type of postseason run,” Niedert said.

But what makes soccer here so good isn’t just the teams at the top, but the depth throughout.

   On the girls side South (12-8-4) gave OC all it could handle earlier this year in a 1-0 loss, then blew through Spencer County and Grant County in the region tournament before falling again to the Lady Colonels. The Lady Dragons were a young team that’ll return key players like juniors Stephanie Rowland (11 goals) and LJ Wrightington (six goals, six assists.

   North’s girls (6-11-0) didn’t have quite the season they’d hoped, but had an even younger team than South. The young Lady Mustangs showed some potential when they beat the Lady Dragons 1-0 in September.

   On the boys side, it’s safe to say both South and OC could’ve won several of the state’s regions. Instead, the Colonels (9-4-5) didn’t even make the Region 8 tournament, while the District 29 champion Dragons (15-5-2) fell to North in the region championship games.

   OC played a tough schedule and fared well for the most part, including one win each over South and North and draws against Collins and St. Xavier.   The Colonels were a senior-heavy team but will bring back talented sophomore Johnny Huerta.

   South meanwhile looked like the county’s best team after a 3-1 win over North in the district championship game. The Dragons fell to the Mustangs in the region title rematch, but still had a quality year that included two wins each over North and OC, a 2-2 tie with eventual Region 7 champ Trinity and a 5-0 blowout over Region 11 runner-up Henry Clay.

   South loses key seniors like Alex Benson and Davis Ferriell but returns contributors like Christian Lister, Joseph Profancik and Griffin Smith.

   “We have a high-quality district,” Niedert said. “It’s unfortunate it’s only us that get to represent the region. It just says a lot about what the county has to offer as a whole.”

   This season has said soccer in Oldham County is strong as ever and will continue to be that way.

Email us about this article at sports@oldhamera.com.