Rinehart takes over Lady ’Jackets soccer

WILLIAMSTOWN — If first-year Williamstown High girls soccer boss Ben Rinehart ever needs to consult with his predecessor, all he has to do is eye one of his assistants.

Rinehart is succeeding Dr. Dave Pickering. The two have actually flipped-flopped roles with Rinehart, an assistant last year, now calling the shots, and Pickering, a specialist in diabetes, staying on as an assistant — and team doctor.

Andy Buckley will also continue as an assistant.

Rinehart will become the third Williamstown girls soccer head coach in as many years. (Before Pickering, Jason Hill was at the helm. Hill is now the WHS boys soccer boss.)

“I feel it’s such a privilege and honor to be the head coach,” Rinehart said. “There’s a lot of excitement for the program right now. It’s going to be a fun year.”

WHS graduated just one senior — Emily Pickering (honorable mention all-stater) — from last year’s 7-11-2 squad. The Yellowjackets bowed out to Nitro in a penalty kick shootout in the sectional tournament.

“The shootout had 21-22 penalty kicks,” recalled Rinehart. “And, the kids were naturally upset when we lost. But on the bus, they had this attitude of ‘when can we get back to work.'”

The 2018 maroon and gold roster will feature 25 players, including 10 starters (Emma Coiner (mid), Elaine Freed (defender), Makenzie Hill (striker), Jillian Leo (mid), Lilly McMullen (striker), Maddi Morgan (defender), Eliza Newton (defender), Katie Pickering (mid), Jenna Pridemore (defender), and Mara Rinehart (keeper) from last year’s season opener against Athens.

“I think we surprised a few people with our competitiveness and athleticism last season,” Rinehart said. “Now, these kids are a year old, bigger, and stronger.”

Of the 25 on the roster, seven are freshmen.

“We have a huge, talented freshmen class that I coached in travel ball coming in,” Rinehart said. “I think we’re going to be one of the deepest teams around. Right now, every position is up for grabs.”

With so many players, Williamstown will be able to field a JV team this upcoming fall.

“So far, we have eight junior varsity games scheduled,” Rinehart said.

Currently, the WHS team is at a soccer camp with Marietta College women’s head coach Tracy Blasius providing the guidance. The clinic is being conducted on the Williamstown pitches as Marietta Field is being resurfaced.

The camp — which kicked off last Thursday (July 12), — is slated to conclude Friday.

Last month, the Yellowjacket booters competed in an East Fairmont soccer tournament and advanced to the finals where they played “a very strong Bridgeport team” and lost 1-0, Rinehart said.

“It was a great tournament against AAA and AA schools, and we had a great outing,” Rinehart said.