Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — When a soccer ball finds Aaron Jolly’s feet, exciting things happen.
Wheelersburg’s junior striker did just about everything one player possibly could this past fall, collecting accolades like candy while leading his Pirates on a deep tournament run in the process.
Jolly was the District Player of the Year, a first-team All-Ohio honoree and most recently, earned a selection to the Great Lakes All-Region Team.
He can now add SOSA’s Boys Soccer Player of the Year to his 2019 resume.
“The year was very successful. Earning back-to-back conference championships is something that is certainly not easy. The high points honestly included many moments more than the ones you see in articles,” Jolly said. “Games such as at South Webster and Minford were huge and exciting games, however being around such a fun group of guys really makes every moment special.”
Jolly was the ringleader for a team that finished 17-2 overall and 9-1 in the SOC II … marking back-to-back conference titles as he mentioned. The Pirates’ season ended with a 3-2 loss in shootout fashion to Lynchburg-Clay in a Division III district final.
But that doesn’t mean the season, as a whole, wasn’t a successful one.
“Our team had a very strong bond which I felt carried us to being a top competitor. This year’s success was founded off of our senior class who really stepped up when the moments came,” Jolly said. “Having the seniors play a large role for the team added more leadership and togetherness over the course of the year. I know that we would have liked to go further in the tournament, however I wouldn’t trade this season or team for anything.”
Individually, Jolly was as good as anyone in the state. He led the Pirates in scoring, was the engine that allowed the team to run smoothly, and consistently left his fingerprints on contests.
“A goal of mine from the beginning of the year was to get first team all-state. The team’s success came first, but I knew that if I played well, the outcome tended to be better for the whole team,” Jolly said. “Each year I’ve continued to improve, even though I need to continue to prepare even more for next year.”
But none of that, according to Jolly, would have been possible without a talented supporting cast around him.
“Personally, scoring was a high point for me this year. Having Jacob Saxby up top alongside me really helped lead to our success this season,” he said. “Shepis, Darling, Silvia, Schwamburger, and Jordan were also great contributors not only to my success but the success to the team as a whole, also.”
Now, Jolly’s focus shifts to a senior year that he hopes brings even more success.
He wants to take his team further, continue to make opposing defenses miserable and, most importantly, leave a lasting legacy at Wheelersburg.
“Trying to form a tight bond again next year will be the key to success for the team,” Jolly said. “I have seen many senior classes over the years, and have learned from what they have contributed to the program. We seniors will have to go above and beyond to exceed our limits.”