WHS girls soccer ready to go

File photo Williamstown’s Lilly McMullen, right, pictured here last year in an away match versus Warren. McMullen was all-state honorable mention last year.

WILLIAMSTOWN — It’s all about teamwork in 2019 for this season’s Williamstown Yellowjackets girls’ soccer team.

If you ask anyone on the team, they’ll say it’s always been that way.

That selfless strategy paid off in 2018, as the squad made it to the regional finals before falling 3-0 to eventual state semifinalist Winfield.

There is plenty of room for them to grow, as coach Ben Rinehart would tell you. That’s reason enough to keep an eye out for this cohesive unit.

“So, one of the things these girls gained from last year is a really good belief in themselves,” Rinehart said.

“I’ve already said this a couple times, and I make sure that the team knows it, is that we don’t focus a lot on expectation. We take each season as what it is. We have a good group of freshmen this year, so it’s kind of a whole new team.”

A solid mix of all four grades makes up this year’s roster, as this team doesn’t just have one or two leaders. In total, seven seniors return for one last chance at the high school level. Senior Mara Rinehart earned Class AA/A first team all-state honors a year ago at goalie, and her teammate Jillian Leo was awarded an honorable mention spot, as well.

For the senior Rinehart, she’s back hard at work preparing with her teammates for a year of hard work.

“I just really wanted to work on communicating with my defense,” she said. “We can always work on communicating. There’s always stuff I can work on in the goal, but we work together as a whole.”

Rinehart returns as a captain with seniors in (2018 all-state honorable mention) Lilly McMullen and Emma Coiner, and while coach Rinehart says those three “are taking their roles very seriously,” he also pointed out Leo as someone who is taking a leadership role and someone who is “being a lot more vocal.”

That leadership goes all the way down the line to even the younger players, as the depth of this team is an attribute that could lead to bigger things later in the season. As for the beginning of the season, Williamstown looks to get off on the right foot with a win on Saturday morning at home against Liberty (Harrison). Still, Rinehart says through scrimmages, he knows what his girls have to work on to make it back where they were in October.

“We’re playing some really talented local teams (in scrimmages),” he said. ‘We played Warren, and they came to us with it being a great match. We saw a lot of things we needed to work on. The girls recognized that, themselves. That’s a great feeling as a coach to know that. They were all on the practice field the next day going, ‘OK, let’s work on this, let’s improve to get better.'”

Following a shortened Wednesday scrimmage against Parkersburg South, Rinehart said his team is “committed to being better” and that the girls had no problem subbing in and out to let everyone have a chance to get ready. That selflessness could carry the ‘Jackets onto bigger and better things in 2019.

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com