By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Opening their campaign on April 6 against an old Flint Metro League (FML) foe Fenton Tigers, the Oxford Wildcats girls’ soccer program began their first season in two years with a 4-0 victory.
Junior Carly Boyd scored Oxford’s first goal of the year with 17:30 remaining in the first half. Just a minute and 56 seconds later, her sister, freshman Ella Boyd, found the back of the net to extend the lead to two.
Senior Mackenzie “Mackie” Methner, who supporters of Wildcat athletics will likely recognize from her success on the basketball court, added a goal with about three-and-a-half minutes left before the halftime break, and the elder Boyd added her second of the night with 4:04 remaining to bring the contest to its final.
Three days later, April 9, Oxford hit the road for the first time for their first Oakland Activities Association (OAA) game of the season, a date with the Rochester Adams Highlanders.
Courtesy of a Methner goal, the Wildcats held a one-goal advantage after 40 minutes of play, before Highlander junior Abbey Drahnak tied the game with just under 29 minutes left.
With 18:29 to play, Methner came through for Oxford again, recording her second goal of the night and third of the young season. Rochester Adams would generate some pressure late, but defenseman Ava Kettler and goaltender Brianna Barrows, both of whom are juniors, were up for the challenge and the Wildcats held on, 2-1.
“Chemistry,” head coach John Thaler said of the area he is most pleased with early in the season. “The girls are playing really well together for as little time as we’ve been together, we’ve only had two practices, two games, and been off for 600-some days.”
While Methner has led the charge on the offensive end, and likely will for the duration of the season, Thaler stressed the importance of their success being a team effort.
“They’re all excellent, they’re all amazing, and some have been taking advantage of the help they’ve been getting from the other players,” he said. “I think, as a collective group, they’re amazing.”
Oxford returned home to begin a three-game homestand on Monday against the Walled Lake Western Warriors, a member of the Lakes Valley Conference, and followed that up with a clash with the Farmington Falcons on Tuesday.
The team will round out this stretch of home games on Thursday against the Blue Water Area Conference’s (BWAC) Almont Raiders at 7 p.m. and will battle the rival Lake Orion Dragons on the road on Tuesday, April 20, also at 7 p.m.
By Teddy Rydquist