State-ranked Warriors’ arsenal is total teamwork

10/29/2011

MBC title-holders hope to earn a spot in the state semifinals.
After losing six starters to graduation last year, Dayton Christian boys soccer coach Steve Vaughn was not sure exactly what to expect as the 2011 season unfolded.

“I thought we would drop off,” Vaughn said. “We were a good team last year, but actually?we have been more consistent this year. It has been a comfortable season for me and the guys.”

Vaughn had been the head coach at Dayton Christian before stepping down to the assistant coaching spot for the past two years.

When head coach Andrew Belleman announced he wasn’t coming back this year, Vaughn returned to the top spot.

So far, that familiarity has paid off.

For the first time in school history, the squad claimed an outright Metro Buckeye Conference title en route to claiming the top seed in the postseason tournament, the top ranking in the Miami Valley Soccer Coaches Association Division III poll and was ranked fourth in the final state poll.

“As long as I have been involved in the program, I don’t know if we have ever been the top seed,” Vaughn said of his time with the Warriors, which dates back 20-plus years. “We’ve never been state-ranked.”

While rankings are nice, the Warriors are pointing at doing something that hasn’t been accomplished since 1982 — advance to the state semifinals.

“We have been talking through it,” Vaughn said. “I feel as much pressure as they do, but mine is more from the stewardship of the team. You never know what is going to happen. That is the big unknown of the tourney. But, we haven’t given games away, and we are ranked so people are noticing what we do.

“But, I tell them we are only as good as our next game. Until we get there (the state semis), we haven’t achieved everything.”

And, Vaughn could tell right away that it was not going to be a season where they dropped off.

The Warriors defeated Columbus Academy and Cincinnati Seven Hills in the preseason and the momentum carried on through the regular season.

“You never know from one year to the next how things will go,” Vaughn said. “You don’t know what other teams will be like, but it started becoming apparent early that we are going to have a top team.”

The Warriors also are a team with depth.

While Cedarville University signee Christian Alexander (Springboro) leads the way with 17 goals and 17 assists after becoming the all-time scoring and assist leader for Dayton Christian, Daniel Erlandson (Waynesville) — who has committed to Lipscomb — has added six goals and is the staple pf the defense. Parker Vaughn (Lebanon), Alec Fisco (Springboro), Brent Schilling (Miamisburg) and Alex Lupinek (Kettering) also are in the top 20 in scoring for the Metro Buckeye Conference.

“One of the things that makes us so good is that we don’t have one person we count on to score,” said Vaughn, whose team is comprised of players from Springboro, Waynesville, Centerville, Kettering and Miamisburg, among others.

“We have four or five who can score. We really have a high-quality team. With the exception of Summit (Country Day), most teams rely on one or two guys ... we really don’t have any holes.”

Now, the Warriors aim to follow up their historic regular season with a run through the tournament.

“I have told them that getting to the district finals is not an easy thing to do,” Vaughn said. “You have the weather, we could have a game where we don’t finish, injuries ... you can’t take the easier teams for granted, you have to be focused.

“That is one thing I love about this team — they warm up loose, but once they step on the field they are professional in their approach; they know they have a job to do.

“I would love to repeat what the 1982 team did — anybody would — I have one eye on that and one eye on what we need to do... but there’s no pressure.”