Miller leads all-Ohio soccer

Dec. 9—SCIOTO COUNTY — Zane Miller was likely the first Falcon thought of when mentioning Minford boys soccer in 2021.

But, in his own words, the senior standout forward first thought about his teammates —when asked an interview question about earning first-team Division III all-Ohio.

Miller, spearheading the Falcons’ first Division III district championship in an entire decade (2011), made first-team all-state as announced by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association —as Minford went an impressive 18-2-0, and a perfect 10-0-0 in capturing the Southern Ohio Conference Division II.

He was, in fact, the only Scioto County — or even Southeast District besides Brianna Reynolds of Rock Hill — soccer player for either boys or girls to garner Division III first-team all-state.

“It means that I had a great team that made me look good,” said Miller. “Together, we went undefeated in SOC II, won our sectional and won the district. I’m most proud of our team accomplishments, but being named first-team all-Ohio and all my hard work being recognized is definitely cool. All our hard work and dedication to each other paid off. Our preseason goals were to win the conference and the district, and we accomplished that. Being a captain and leader of those guys was great, and I want to thank all the players, coaches and fans for a very memorable senior season. To be part of this year’s team was awesome.”

His first-year coach, Minford alum Jacob Hackworth, concurred about Miller’s hard work.

The Falcons faced Hiland in the Division III regional semifinal match, and only fell 1-0 to the high-powered Hawks —having multiple opportunities at a 1-1 tie and thus forcing a subsequent overtime in the waning minutes.

Miller scored 26 goals and assisted on six others this season, concluding his career with 59 tallies and 14 assists.

“Very deserving. Zane has put a ton of time in and worked extremely hard. He scored the majority of our goals, but always put his teammates first,” said Hackworth. “Zane really became a great leader and a player we relied on both on and off the field. We are all proud of him and looking forward to what his future holds.”

Story continues

As for that future, Miller mentioned it.

“I’ve talked with some schools, but haven’t made any decisions yet. I’m just starting to take visits, apply to schools, etc. I would like to play in college, but I’m not going to a college just to play soccer. It’s going to have to be the right fit,” he said. “I’m going to continue to play indoor this winter and play for First Capital Football Club (FCFC) this spring to keep improving.”

For Division III second-team all-Ohio — Scioto County was represented by two boys and two girls, as both boys were senior forwards and both ladies just juniors.

Austin Sommers of Valley and Trae Zimmerman of South Webster were the all-Ohio boys, while Wheelersburg midfielder Jocelyn Tilley and Minford striker Haley Knore were the two girls.

Sommers paced the Indians in goals and points, as Valley captured its first SOC I championship in two full decades (2002).

Speaking of point scorers, that’s what Zimmerman was for the Jeeps —as well as Tilley and Knore for the SOC champion Lady Pirates and runner-up Lady Falcons, respectively.

Both the Indians and Lady Pirates also amounted Division III district runners-up.

Miller, Sommers, Zimmerman, Tilley and Knore are all first-time all-Ohio honorees.

For the boys, other Southeast District second-teamers included Zane Trace’s Ethan Nelson and Rock Hill’s Sam Simpson.

Both were senior forwards.

The other Southeast District second-teamers for girls were Lynchburg-Clay senior defender Natasha Davidson, Leesburg Fairfield senior midfielder and forward Cadence Saunders, and Eastern Brown senior forward Mary Litzinger.

Eastern Brown defeated the Lady Pirates for the district championship, and ultimately advanced all the way to the Division III state semifinals.

Kirtland swept the top player and “assistant coach of the year” honors —with Marco Valentic the Player of the Year for the boys and Erika Zschuppe the same for the gals.

Tony Ripberger of Cincinnati Madeira was the Division III boys Coach of the Year, while the same honor on the girls side went to Jeff Stiver of Preble Shawnee.

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved


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