Boys Soccer State Redemption


(PHOTO from ROMICK) The 11 senior boys line up in front of the Mariemont goal. (Left to right) Jimmy Sauter, Mclain Lemay, Luke Brothers, Stephan Nistor, Kyle Romick, Chase Hollander, Jaryd Hartman, Kyle Croll, Nick Comer, James McGrory, Will Fahnestock.

McKenzie Zobrist


The boys soccer team secured what could be the best start to Mariemont Boys Soccer in school history with a 4-1 win over rival Indian Hill on Tuesday, September 15. The team’s record is 9-0-0; the next closest beginning record ever reported is 8-0-1 in 2013.

The team credits their success to both chemistry and skill. Coach Vanags, longterm boys head soccer coach since 2012, said, “More than anything, it’s consistency and comradery: they know each other and us as coaches.”

Returning 18 Varsity players has offered the coaching staff a mature team. “They’re very focused and they take what we’re doing seriously. The key is that they listen– you don’t always get that with adolescent boys,” said Vanags, “When players believe in what you’re saying and buy in, it leads to success.”

(PHOTO from ROMICK) The team posed for a photo following the Seven Hills game win 5-2 on Friday, August 21.

Senior Captain Kyle Romick said, “I think there are two things that set us apart from previous Mariemont Men’s Soccer teams: Depth and continuity. I think we have a really deep squad, which means we are never too vulnerable if someone is having a bad game or gets injured. More than that, though, everybody on the team generally gets along and we all have a common focus. In my opinion, a team with very good chemistry can outperform an equally skilled one that doesn’t communicate well or solve problems on the fly. Our team has that ability, and I think it’s a great asset.”

It’s a conservative team effort that gets the job done. Vanags said, “I don’t care who starters are and who starters aren’t. If someone comes in for four minutes and can do their job and that position is filled for 80 minutes, we’ll be successful. That’s why we’re a team.”

The team is working on building tradition. Vanags said, “There’s definitely talent in this younger team, and we’re trying to get them exposed to the Varsity experience.”

With a State Championship in mind, and pandemic still prevalent, the Varsity boys are taking each game one step at a time. Senior Captain Nick Comer mentioned, “Coach’s saying of the year is ‘each game is a blessing; treat each game as your last.’”

Romick added, “Now that I’ve heard about [COVID] running through teams elsewhere around Cincinnati, I think it could happen to us, and we need to be very careful— I would hate to lose a season like this.”

Senior Captain Luke Brothers said, “The coaching staff and the team are taking COVID very seriously: We arrive and leave in masks, and maintain social distance during warmups and when we are not playing. We don’t share water, and we are doing our best– outside of soccer and school– to be wary of who we interact with and where we go.”

COVID precautions were put into place during summer practice where the boys were individually split into small groups. Brothers said, “The coaches did a great job in preparing us even with the unknowns and were able to get us fit and sharp for the first game of the season.”

(PHOTO from ROMICK) The team exits the Wyoming field following their win 3-2 on Tuesday, August 8.

The team beat Seven Hills 5-2 at the home-opener on August 21. Comer said, “We were all in great shape for the Seven Hills game– something that doesn’t happen that often.”

Although seating was restricted to family members only, the team managed to pull through knowing they hadn’t beaten Seven Hills in the past 13 years. Romick said, “Sometimes [a student section] makes the difference in a match because loud fans are encouraging and can stir you up; plus, you don’t want to have a bad game in front of your peers. In a lot of ways having a large number of fans at a game can elevate the team and cause us to play better, but I understand the necessity of the limitations.”

The student section will be open to a limited number of students on Tuesday, September 22 for the boys’ Senior Night against Finneytown. Students can access the tickets through with an access code that will be sent to their school email.

Sports are a way to bring the school together when times are keeping us apart. Vanags said, “In this tough time, soccer is like a relief– it’s some sense of normalcy. I can’t thank [the boys] enough, and appreciate enough, how much they’re sacrificing– how much they’re working. I’m happy to see that hard work, that sacrifice, that commitment pay off for such a great group of guys.”