Little Miami soccer seeks more conference success

08/28/2017

Submitted: It’s the perennial story: Finish your season with a championship and next year, you have a target on your back.

But in the case of the Little Miami women’s soccer team, the Lady Panthers are just fine with that pressure – in fact, they thrive on it.

Little Miami is looking for a repeat of their 2016 Southwest Ohio Conference championship this season, and judging from the tools that Head Coach Kim Koterba has to work with, the future looks bright.

“We have high expectations and are ready to challenge ourselves to repeat as SWOC Champs,” she said.

She’ll call on an extremely talented group to help her do it. Returning this year is junior Eva Kiper, one of Cincinnati’s brightest high school soccer stars. Kiper was named SWOC Player of the Year and scored 33 goals last season in conference play, more than double the nearest competitor. Kiper’s Cincinnati United summer team also won the U17 National Championship in South Dakota this summer.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lady Panthers will rely on will be senior goalkeeper Peyton Pakozdi and senior defender Alexis Hickey.

Pakozdi broke a conference record for shutouts last season and was named first team, all-conference. Hickey is a four-year started and “the backbone of defense,” Koterba said.

New to the team this year is senior Kaelin Wieland, “who will be deadly up top with Eva,” Koterba said.

With more than 18 years of coaching under her belt, Coach Koterba was named the 2016 SWOC Coach of the Year, and she’ll be aided again this year with the same coaching staff, including assistant coach Rob Chapman, who helped the men’s soccer team win their 2015 conference championship.

Koterba is an accomplished athlete in her own right, winning all conference, region and all-state honors in women’s soccer. She also was a Junior Olympics hurdler and holds two school relay records.