Soccer team endures rough beginning
The Columbus School for Girls soccer team had a rough start, losing its first three games by a combined score of 15-1.
The Unicorns opened Aug. 21 with a 5-0 home loss to Grandview, before losing at Reynoldsburg 5-1 on Aug. 23 and to Bloom-Carroll 5-0 on Aug. 28 at home.
Second-year coach Mindy Hammond said those lopsided losses were due more to the strength of her team's first three opponents than any glaring weakness in her squad.
"We opened our schedule by playing a Division I team (Reynoldsburg) and a Division II team (Bloom-Carroll) ... and that's tough competition for us being such a small Division III team," Hammond said. "We have only 28 kids to pick from for two teams and we've dealt with some injuries, but I think we're going to be fine."
The Unicorns' defense has been hampered by injuries, as three starters have missed multiple games.
Sweeper Kameron Millner missed the first three games as she continued to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and left fullback Mo Ruff missed the first three contests because of a stress fracture in her shin.
Fullback Kellie Carlson didn't play against Reynoldsburg or Bloom-Carroll after sustaining a concussion during practice.
The Unicorns also have had to move freshman defender Olivia Feldman to goalkeeper after senior starter Jordan Nielsen moved to Virginia.
Senior fullback Helen Gianakopoulos, junior fullback Leah Glimcher and freshman sweeper Maria Presper have stepped in for the injured starters.
"We've had to do a lot of shuffling and teaching in our defensive end," Hammond said. "Helen usually plays as a forward or outside midfielder, but she's done a good job of moving back and helping out while we wait to get some of our key defensive players back.
"We played well in the first half against Reynoldsburg and the game was tied at 1 at halftime before they broke us down and scored in the second half. After we give up one goal the floodgates seem to open, so we're working on finding ways of stopping other teams from getting that kind of momentum against us."
Generating offense was an equally large problem for the Unicorns in their first three games. Junior center-midfielder Olivia Beeson scored from 25 yards out on a free kick in the first half against Reynoldsburg for CSG's only goal during those contests.
"Olivia's been our most consistent player," Hammond said. "Maddie Ostrowski and Jasneet Singh also have played well in the midfield, and Quinn Walters and Alyssa Sugar are doing really well up top, too."
CSG hoped to bounce back against Tree of Life on Sept. 4 and Caledonia River Valley on Thursday, Sept. 6.
"We have a (few) games against other smaller teams where we feel confident that we can be more competitive and win," Hammond said.
The Unicorns open CCL play Saturday, Sept. 8, by playing host to Watterson before playing host Tuesday, Sept. 11, to DeSales.
Last season, CSG lost to Watterson 11-0 and to DeSales 4-0. DeSales won the Division II state title and Watterson captured a Division I district championship a year ago.
"For a small school like us, teams like Watterson and DeSales are crazy competition," Hammond said. "So we're going to use these games as a learning tool to make ourselves better."
Golf team small but hoping to be mighty
The golf team has only four players on its roster after its expected top returnee, junior Millie Leonhard, transferred.
Competing for CSG are seniors Nikki Dean and Krystina Garabis, sophomore Saba Mehra and freshman Carolina Korterud.
The Unicorns didn't have enough players to post a team score in three of their first eight matches, including their two latest competitions, because Korterud was ill.
"Krystina, Nikki and Saba had an amazing offseason and all three have really improved," second-year coach Shawn Withem said. "We may have only four players on our team, but they are all fully committed to golf."
Last year, CSG finished third (16-6) in the overall MOGGL-Division II standings behind Granville (24-3) and Bexley (23-4). Centerburg (11-16) was fourth, followed by Wellington (6-16), Tree of Life (5-12), Licking Valley (2-20) and Zanesville West Muskingum (1-11).
The Unicorns were second (386) in the 15-team sectional at Foxfire behind Bexley (371) and then finished sixth (393) in the 13-team district tournament at River Greens.
Logan Elm (364), Williamsport Westfall (369) and Strasburg-Franklin (379) advanced to state, with Bexley (384) and Uhrichsville Claymont (391) rounding out the top five.
Angela Mentel, a 2012 graduate, shot an 81 at district to miss qualifying for state by two spots. The top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state.
Also competing at district for the Unicorns were 2012 graduate Jacqueline Carroll (83), Leonhard (113), Garabis (116) and Dean (116).
"We have some young players who are getting better, scoring-wise, and who are thinking through their rounds of golf much better," Withem said. "I think we'll continue to get better as the season continues."