Kyla Spencer

Ontario's Kyla Spencer tracks down a loose ball during a 2-0 win over Lexington in the Division II district semifinals at Lexington High School.

MANSFIELD — A pair of Richland County heavyweights will climb into the ring again Saturday afternoon.

Madison and Ontario will meet in the Division II district championship match for a fifth straight year at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lexington High School.

The second-seeded Rams (10-9) have won four straight district championships. No. 1 seed Ontario (15-2-3) won seven district titles in eight years from 2009 to 2016.

Madison is the defending Division II state champion, but the Rams lost the most accomplished senior class in program history to graduation last spring. In its place, a new generation of stars has begun to emerge.

“If you would have asked me halfway through the season, I definitely wouldn’t have thought this,” Madison coach Zac Huff said after Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Clear Fork in the district semifinals. “The girls are coming together and playing as a team. That’s what it’s all about, coming together when it counts.”

Sophomore Marisah Atterholt, who started as a freshman on last year’s title team, scored a pair of goals against the Colts. High-scoring classmate Nevaeh Lewis added her 15th goal of the season.

“The season last year really motivated all of us (then) freshmen,” Atterholt said. “We just keep on going with that.”

Ontario is playing in the district final for the 13th straight year, a streak that includes a two-year sent in Division III (2011-2012). Ontario won five straight district crowns from 2009 to 2013 and back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016.

“We’ve been here a lot of years,” Ontario coach Larry Atkinson said after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Lexington.

The teams met in the regular season earlier this month. Ontario cruised to a 5-1 win.

“Winning a district championship would mean a lot,” said junior Kyla Spencer, who scored her 32nd goal of the season against Lady Lex. “I definitely want to do it for the seniors, because they’ve never gotten a shot at it. I feel like it would be something cool for our school and our community.”

Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Richland County’s reputation as a girls soccer hotbed is intact.

“It’s great for this area,” Atkinson said. “I think we have one of the toughest districts to get out of. That’s what we preached to our girls all week, don’t think the No. 1 seed means anything. It doesn’t.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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