Girls soccer squad 'vocal'
For the second year in a row, the Groveport Madison High School girls soccer team has a young roster. The difference between last year and this year, however, is that the Cruisers now have more experience.
"We're not really replacing a lot, but we were young last year so we're still young," second-year coach Andy Ling said. "We want to improve on the record that we had last year. Last year we gave away some games. We didn't play to our ability and that hurt us. If we can get more consistency this season, then I think we'll have a better performance and improve our record."
Last season, Groveport finished 4-10-3 overall and went 0-5-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division to tie Newark for seventh, behind Gahanna (7-0), Pickerington North (5-1-1), Pickerington Central (5-2), Grove City (4-2-1), Reynoldsburg (2-5) and Lancaster (1-4-2).
The Cruisers lost to sixth-seeded Dublin Scioto 11-0 in their Division I district tournament opener last year.
Ling will be relying on a trio of senior captains to lead his team in defender Sarah Landuyt, midfielder Amy Castle and forward Courtney Husch.
"They're all experienced players, so they lead through example a lot," said Ling, whose team opened with a 6-0 loss to Westerville Central on Aug. 18. "They're all very vocal leaders, so they help the girls out in that manner. They express things vocally and through their actions."
Among the players from a year ago who were lost to graduation was goalkeeper Elise Zimmerman, who was first-team all-league last fall.
Junior Ariel Kelber and freshman Brooke Coyer have been vying for the starting job in goal.
"Elise was a returning starter as a senior, so the game experience is probably the biggest thing to make up," Ling said.
Among the other returnees are sophomore defenders Lily Coyer, Paige Dersom and Erin Hale and junior midfielder Steph Siwicki.
"A couple of the seniors we had were midfielders last year," said Ling, who has switched from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-5-1, using Husch as the lone forward. "We lost them, so we're kind of adjusting to the personnel, which we have to do a lot in the high school game."
The Cruisers begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at home against Gahanna.
"The league schedule as it is will be challenging because of who we're in with," Ling said. "The rest of (the schedule) you don't try to make it out to be too easy. You want it to be competitive. I don't go looking for blowouts either way."
Boys soccer team has holes to fill
Boys soccer coach Deke Scott has some holes to fill in his lineup after losing six players from a year ago to graduation, two players to Crew Academy and two others who transferred out of the school district.
"I still think we'll be competitive," said Scott, who is in his 12th season leading the program. "We return some key players, but we're going to be young."
Among the returnees are seniors Matt Ater (defender) and Tyler Mehl (defender), junior Benny Lam (midfielder) and sophomore Kris Henry (defender). All four will serve as captains this season.
"They're quiet as far as not being screamers," said Scott, whose team opened Aug. 21 against Canal Winchester. "They're really good at helping the younger kids. We have a young team and they're patient with them.
"They're able to direct and get their points across as leaders should. They actually dictate practices as well. They've been around long enough that they're like an extension of a coach."
Groveport finished 6-7-3 overall last season, losing to Westerville Central 3-0 in its Division I district tournament opener.
The Cruisers went 1-4-2 in the OCC-Ohio to place seventh, behind Gahanna (7-0), Pickerington Central, (5-2) Pickerington North (5-2), Reynoldsburg (3-3-1), Grove City (2-5) and Lancaster (2-5) and ahead of Newark (1-5-1).
Groveport begins league play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Gahanna.
"I think the league's tough," Scott said. "A state representative comes out of our league usually. Our non-conference schedule isn't as hard as it's been in the past. The schedule is pretty good for us being young.
"I sum this team up like this: If we show up and play for 80 minutes, we can compete and possibly win a lot of games. If our youth shows up, we could lose some games."