Call it bad luck or misfortune or what you will. Whatever it is, Groveport Madison High School boys soccer coach Deke Scott hopes it stays away from his team next season.
The Cruisers had a difficult time finishing their scoring chances for most of the season and finished 8-8-1 overall. They scored 35 goals in 17 games, but 15 came in two contests -- a 10-0 win over Madison Christian on Oct. 11 and a 5-0 win over Coshocton on Sept. 8. They were shut out four times and held to one goal in five games, going 1-7-1 in those contests.
"I felt like we were never really out of games," said Scott, who completed his 12th season leading the program. "Some of the games we did lose, I felt like we were the better team. We were just unlucky. Hopefully it changes next year."
Groveport won its final four regular-season games but lost to Teays Valley 2-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17.
"We made some adjustments throughout the year," Scott said. "We got better when we needed to. We just couldn't get the ball in the net against Teays Valley. We hit the post and the cross bar.
"We kept saying all along that our luck would change, and it truly never did."
The Cruisers went 2-5 in the OCC-Ohio Division to finish sixth, behind Gahanna (7-0), Pickerington Central (4-1-2), Pickerington North (4-2-1), Lancaster (3-1-3) and Grove City (3-3-1) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (1-5-1) and Newark (0-7).
Junior forward Javier Meneses led the team with seven goals and was named first-team all-league. Also earning all-league honors were senior defender Matt Ater (second team), junior defender Limamu Mohammed (special mention) and sophomore midfielder Kris Henry (honorable mention).
Groveport loses six seniors, including three starters in Ater, Joey Jewell and Tyler Mehl.
In addition to Henry, Meneses and Mohammed, expected to return are juniors Benny Lam and Nic Weakley, sophomores Mohammed Al-Harbi, Justin Male, Evan Mehl, Blake Snyder and Jacob Weakley and freshmen Cole Mathias and Darrell Talbert.
The Weakley brothers split the goalkeeping duties.
"I'm definitely encouraged by the returning players," Scott said. "We were young, so having the majority of the guys back with experience will benefit the team. We just need to focus on conditioning. I think we can have a pretty solid year (next season)."
Girls soccer team finished strong
The girls soccer team finished 3-13-1 overall but won three of its final seven regular-season games after going 0-8-1 in its first nine.
The Cruisers went 1-6 in the OCC-Ohio to place seventh, behind Pickerington North (7-0), Grove City (5-1-1), Gahanna (5-2), Pickerington Central (4-3), Reynoldsburg (3-3-1) and Lancaster (1-5-1) and ahead of Newark (0-6-1).
Groveport lost to second-seeded Pickerington North 8-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 after both teams had a first-round bye.
The Cruisers' wins came against Newark (3-2 on Sept. 18), Teays Valley (2-0 on Sept. 29) and Madison Christian (4-2 on Oct. 11). They tied Columbus School for Girls at 2 on Aug. 30.
Groveport loses six seniors, including four starters in midfielder Tyler Bates, midfielder Amy Castle, forward Courtney Husch and midfielder Sarah Landuyt.
Landuyt was named first-team all-league and Husch was second-team all-league. Castle, Husch and Landuyt were four-year letterwinners.
"We're losing four key contributors, so we'll be pressed to fill those spots," said coach Andy Ling, who completed his second season leading the program. "But I see the rest of the girls continuing to get better, which will hopefully make up some of the difference in replacing four starters with new players."
Among those expected to return are juniors Ariel Kelber, Tisha Lane and Steph Siwicki, sophomores Lily Coyer, Paige Dersom, Erin Hale and Haley Shelhart and freshman Brooke Coyer.
Brooke Coyer was the starting goalie.
Siwicki, a forward, was honorable mention all-league and played a major role in what Ling believes was the turning point in the season -- the win over Newark.
With the game tied at 2, Siwicki scored with 11 seconds left to lift Groveport to its first win.
"It was exciting," Ling said of the win over Newark. "I had told the girls going into that game that it was the midpoint of the season and I felt our goal should be to try to go 4-4 the rest of the way out. We wanted to win half our (remaining) games.
"We fell a little short of that, but we were able to pick up a few more wins and improve the rest of the way."