Currently for the 2012 Bethel-Tate Lady Tigers, they are working towards finding that mix as the team has been decimated by early-season injuries that have forced Coach Brenda Woodward to move players into new positions while others try to rehabilitate from injury.
“We started off in-conference and we moved into the big-school division (American) and it’s been difficult for our girls to play against teams at that level,” Woodward said. “Norwood was really physical. We played a good game against Amelia, but lost 2-0, so I think when we play them again, we’ll be ready. Against New Richmond, we had some key players out and had to have some freshman step up.
“I think when we have some of our players come back (from injury) we will see a few more wins on the field.”
The Lady Tiger currently sit at 2-4 on the season overall and 1-4 in conference. Aside from the losses to Norwood, Amelia, Western Brown and New Richmond, the Lady Tigers have beaten Purcell Marian and Goshen.
The new style of soccer that Bethel has been thrust into with their change of divisions in the Southern Buckeye Conference along with some nagging injuries have spelled a slow start, but Woodward is confident in her group to bounce back and play well in the second half of the year.
“We’re definitely capable of winning,” Woodward said. “This is a really nice group of young ladies that I’ve got. One the things that they have an ability to do that some of my teams in the past haven’t is literally playing to the last second of the game, regardless of the score. They will stay in and play hard. That’s a unique ability and mentally they’re definitely a tougher squad so I think that’s going to help in the second half of the season because they’re going to find success.”
The Lady Tigers are led by a solid senior class, but they also have a good mix of underclassmen to compliment them.
Morgan Calhoun and Alex Shinkle were the first two players that Woodward mentioned, although Shinkle has been ruled out for the remainder of the season because of knee fracture suffered against Western Brown. A Second Team All-Star last season, Shinkle will be missed.
With Shinkle out, Woodward said that sophomore Brooke Jenike has stepped up to fill the void and played well as well as Miranda Anter who has played defense for the Lady Tigers.
Woodward guessed that about one-fourth of her squad is dealing with injuries now, but believes that they have enough good players to stay competitive.
The Lady Tigers were given no easy assignment with their early-season schedule. Five of their first six games were against their new conference rivals and while they will get a little mid-season breather, they will face all of their American Division foes again to cap off the regular season.
Woodward hopes to have most of her normal roster back and healthy for the end of the season push, which will begin on Sept. 26 when they travel to Amelia to play the Lady Barons.
Between now and the end of the month, the Lady Tigers will try to build some more chemistry while defeating some familiar enemies. Bethel will kick off a two-week stretch in which they will play four teams from the National Division, Williamsburg, Clermont Northeastern, Blanchester and Batavia.
After playing St. Bernard on Monday, Sept. 10, the Lady Tigers have eight days off before they play Williamsburg on the road.
Woodward hopes the team will have their health and winning form by then.