VANDALIA — Northmont’s girls soccer team had little difficulty scoring a 6-0 victory Monday in Vandalia against a Butler team riddled with injuries.
The Lady Aviators have five starters sidelined with knee injuries and at least two more players went down with injuries against Northmont and limped off the field with ice bags wrapped to their ankle and knee after the game.
“Out of our players we have, we only have three starters left from the beginning of the year,” noted Butler Coach John Gray. “The second half tonight was mainly freshmen on the field because I didn’t have anybody to go to. We have two-and-a-half seniors that are healthy and one-and-a-half juniors healthy. That’s it. All the rest are freshmen and sophomores. You can’t compete at a varsity level. Their bodies aren’t ready yet.”
The upside is Butler is laying a foundation for the future by giving so many underclassmen extensive playing time. In addition, the Butler soccer program has 18 freshmen this year – which is why Gray used so many in Monday’s match against Northmont.
“You hate to put them in that spot, but you can’t do anything else,” Gray stated. “We have Greenville on Wednesday and hopefully that will be a little bit easier game, but then we have games against Beavercreek, Troy, Sidney and Tipp and all four are ranked teams. It’s going to be a long rest of the year.”
With the loss Butler fell to 4-6-1 overall while Northmont improved to 5-2-1.
Northmont Coach Ted Mergler acknowledged that the Lady Aviators were unable to put forth their best effort due to their injuries but was proud of his team’s performance.
“I felt like our girls were prepared and they went out there and got the job done,” Mergler said.
He felt his players held back a little bit against Butler. A long lightning delay that prevented the teams from warming up on time caused his players to become a little lethargic.
“We kind of had a slow start, but once we got things going we figured things out,” Mergler commented. “Butler was banged up and they put their better players on the back line to try and survive so to speak. We have all been in those situations and that is what you try to do, just survive. Butler gave a good effort tonight. Injuries are just one of those things that you can’t control.”