The consensus in northwestern Ohio is that the
girls soccer blitzkrieg will have a little less ammunition this year.
That just means the Yellow Jackets will have to decimate the opposition in a slightly different way.
The team that finished No. 2 in the national NSCAA rankings and No. 6 in the MaxPreps rankings is admittedly lacking in offensive prowess when compared to last year's downright dominant 23-0 team that won the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I title
, and earned a visit from the MaxPreps Tour of Champions
. So don't expect a 108-5 scoring margin again this season for Perrysburg, one of 10 fall girls teams to be honored as a national
title Early Contender, presented by adidas and Dick's Sporting Goods.
The actual differential this year will likely feature a smaller number in the Perrysburg column - but the goals allowed side might not change a whole lot. All-American and leading scorer Maddy Williams (48 goals) is gone, so the offense will be searching for some new answers. On the defensive end, though, Perrysburg is still stacked.
See all the 2013 Fall Soccer Early Contenders
"We have three of four starting backs from last year's team, we have two of three starting forwards and we have a returning attacking midfielder in up and coming sophomore with ODP Regional and National experience Josie Fowler," co-head coach Jorge Diaz said, adding that following up a 22-0 season is no easy task.
This juggernaut comes a part of Ohio that sometimes falls off the radar. Perrysburg is southwest of Toledo, less than 15 miles from the Michigan border, so it doesn't get seen too often in the bigger cities. But a strong youth program coupled with the high school's amazing season is making the team a hot topic in Ohio.
There might be a letdown, though it won't be due to lack of effort.
"The kids buy into it. Our motto is 'Don't let good enough be good enough. Be great," Diaz said.See the entire Perrysburg photo gallery
"After an historic undefeated season culminated in a Division I state championship last fall, expectations for the Perrysburg program are sky-high. But the loss of three supremely talented players, including leading scorer Maddy Williams and goalkeeper Chloe Buehler to major college programs, has tempered the enthusiasm. The cupboard is far from bare, however, for the Yellow Jackets, who have 13 players back including three out of four defenders. A unique co-head coaching combination of Jorge Diaz and Margaret Bernard should once again provide a steady, guiding force. This team will win its share of games but maybe by a 2-0 margin rather than 4-1 as Perrysburg often did last season to go 23-0."- Mark Monroe, Toledo Blade (@monroeblade)