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Obtained From Brunswick Post

By: Todd Stumpf

The Division I girls soccer coach of the year, as decided upon by the state coaches association, was Eric Detmer of Springboro. After leading his team to a 17-2-2 record and a spot in the Elite 8, Detmer seemed a worthwhile choice.

Seems even more worthwhile given that the coaches association saw fit to honor none of Springboro’s players responsible for that season.

Also not represented on the all-state team anywhere were any Brunswick Blue Devils. Perhaps because of his team’s anonymity, Blue Devils coach Scott Ward garnered no special attention. The job he did holding together a program that was nearly completely rebuilt, is worth mentioning and probably worthy of major recognition.

Brunswick was coming off a 13-2-3 season and was doing so with an almost entirely gutted roster. The Blue Devils graduated almost their entire starting line-up, including second-team All-Ohioan Macey Juguilon, the 2014 Post Player of the Year.

The Blue Devils this year finished 11-4-4 and for the first time advanced to a district championship game. A stumble down the stretch – four losses in the final six games – took a little away from a 9-0-4 start, but did not diminish what went on from start to finish.

“I’m incredibly proud of this team, for sure,” Ward said. “I want to take that next step. I want this team, this community to know that we can be more than district runner-up.”

The Blue Devils lost to Medina in the district final. The Bees went on to the state final four. Brunswick has the talent to take that next step in 2016.

Freshman forward Ariella Pitty, a 20-goal scorer as a rookie, should continue to be a force. At the other end, Kristen Zima is part of a sophomore class that includes midfielder Katherine Camper. Camper’s team thought enough of her to elect her captain as a 10th-grader.

The junior class, headlined by scoring leader Danielle Lung, goalie Allison Mysliwiec and defender Heather Craska, will anchor the squad next year. Crasko, one of multiple underclassmen captains, had her effectiveness limited by injuries.

“They can be very good, especially because of the feeder program we have coming up,” Ward said. “The coaching staff has been involved with it quite a bit. They know now. They know what we’re capable of. They know what we have to do to play at this level.”

What Ward likes more about his team that its on-field success is its off-field demeanor and the way its leaders guided a young group toward success.

“I really wish you could see this group outside of the field,” Ward said. “The leadership they have, the team mentality. When everyone was telling them they’re not much of a team, that they’re too young, that we lost too much, they didn’t believe in that at all. That’s directly our captains, that’s directly our seniors all the way through, too.”

There will be holes to fill, none bigger than the one left by midfielder Bailey Blythin, the mainstay from the past few seasons, who will graduate.

“I’ve coached Bailey all the way through JV to varsity,” Ward said. “And she’s going to be missed huge.”

The Blue Devils will move ahead without this year’s seniors, but with what Ward promises is the next in what is a wave of promising classes. Brunswick spend the past few years working its way to a spot among the elite. This year, the Blue Devils maintained that perch.

“That’s what we’re coaching for, hoping for,” he said. “We’re working very hard to do that.”

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