Sydney Carpenter
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Brock Netter

Brock is SOSA's primary writer and has worked for the Coshocton Tribune, the Kankakee Daily Journal (Ill.), the Vinton-Jackson Courier and the Jackson Telegram. He's a six-time award-winning journalist, a lifelong WWE fan, a suffering Bengals fan and calls the sidelines his home.

Jackson tops Miami Trace, wins first conference title since 2016

It's the Ironladies' first-ever FAC title.

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

JACKSON — It’s been quite the two-year stretch for Jackson’s girls soccer program.

After winning 14 games, capturing a sectional title and making a district final appearance last fall, the only question left was how they follow that season up.

Tuesday was win No. 11 for the Ironladies, but unquestionably, it was the biggest one of the season to date. So far, so good.

With a 3-0 victory over Miami Trace, Jackson (11-1-2, 8-0-1 FAC) claimed the outright Frontier Athletic Conference championship — the program’s first-ever FAC crown and its first league title since 2016. 

Jackson’s Sydney Fain, pictured during a game earlier this season, helped her Ironladies win their first conference title since 2016 on Tuesday.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

“It’s such a great feeling. We heard a lot of teams saying we don’t deserve to be here and that we don’t have a chance in our league,” Jackson senior captain Sydney Fain said. “But we knew we did, and here we are as champions.”

Wins over Unioto and Chillicothe for the first time since 2014, and now a conference championship? 

Not a bad resume piece for Karena Fulks in her first year as the team’s head coach. 

“As someone who spent three years in high school playing for this program, it’s incredibly huge to win a conference title,” Fulks said. “In all honesty, I have to give a lot of credit to [former Jackson coach] Jon Groff. He laid a great foundation, put in so much work shaping this team and I walked into such a perfect situation. Terry Wetcher and Jordan Lower deserve a lot of credit as well for the time and work they’ve put in this season with these girls. It’s definitely something special to be a part of and I’m happy we got it for our seniors.”

Throughout the opening 28 minutes of Tuesday’s contest, neither team seemed to find a rhythm. They each managed a shot attempt, but no serious threats were truly ever made. 

Then at minute No. 29, the game broke open. 

Sydney Carpenter got the ball in the open field, sped past a Panther defender and beat the keeper to put Jackson ahead 1-0 — a score that remained at halftime. 

“Our main thing coming into this game was proving we could win. It was tough taking that tie earlier in the season, but Miami Trace is a good team,” Jackson captain Mattie Walburn said. “It came down to us playing a full 80 minutes. As seniors and as a team, we had a common goal so we came together and played as a team.”

Right out of the gates in the second half, the Ironladies saw an opening and didn’t waste the chance. 

With the ball at the feet of Fain, she found a crease and fed a perfect assist to Carpenter, who netted her second goal of the night for a 2-0 lead. 

Minutes later, Carpenter nearly completed a hat trick, but the ball bounced off the goal post and back out into the field of play. Luckily, it bounced right to Braelynn Brennan, who did the rest, extending the advantage to 3-0. 

From that point on, the Ironladies continued to remain focused on the task at hand. 

They maintained ball possession, protected the lead and prevented any chance of Miami Trace attempting a comeback, wrapping up a title run.

“It’s pretty crazy after being so close the last couple years to finally get it done,” Walburn said. “It’s such an unexplainable feeling, but it definitely feels great.”

Jackson wraps up the regular season with a trip to Chillicothe on Thursday before returning home for two contests against Minford and Fairfield next week.

Miami Trace (5-8-2, 1-6-2 FAC) gets back in action on Thursday at Washington before a trip to Zane Trace next Wednesday.

One goal was checked off the Ironladies’ list. Now they understand the next challenge and they’re as motivated as ever to prove themselves. 

“We’re not done, and everyone knows that. Being FAC champions is great, but there’s more to go,” Fain said. “We want to prove that we deserve this spot and we’ll continue working hard to do so.”


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