The Groveport Madison High School boys soccer team didn't win its OCC-Ohio Division opener against Gahanna on Aug. 26, but coach Deke Scott believes the Cruisers earned a moral victory in the 3-1 loss.
"You're always disappointed with a loss, but I gathered the boys after the game and told them if they continue to play like they did against Gahanna, they're going to win quite a few games," Scott said. "It was 2-1 with around seven minutes left. It was 1-all until they scored with (1 minute, 22 seconds) left in the first half.
"We gave up a late goal in the half and we didn't allow it to affect the way we fought and scratched in the second half. This was huge for our program, as we try to build it up again. Gahanna usually reaches a district final or the regionals."
It was the first loss for the Cruisers, who were 1-1-1 overall before playing Grove City in a league game Sept. 2. They opened Aug. 21 with an 8-0 win over Whitehall and tied Fairfield Union at 1 on Aug. 23.
Sophomore midfielder Nuukele Gboe scored against Gahanna, tying the game at 1 in the first half.
"He is really playing well and he has scored in every game so far," Scott said. "Gahanna had better possession, but we did have some shots. Our defense has been very good. It has been keeping us in games.
"Kris Henry, Evan Mehl, Jayson Singratsomboune and Robbie Sithixay have done a great job in the back and Jacob Weakley is on top of his game in goal and has made some terrific saves."
Tennis team adjusting to lineup changes
The girls tennis team made some changes to its lineup right before the season opened.
Sophomore Asia-oenna Alfred, a move-in from Toledo, got a late start and is now playing second singles behind senior Elise Goodwin.
During the preseason, first-year coach Cody Masters had anticipated that junior Jordan Walton would play first singles. However, according to Masters, Walton is taking advanced classes at another school and scheduling conflicts won't allow her to play this fall.
"We picked one up girl and we lost a girl who played in summer tournaments and would've been our No. 1 singles player," Masters said. "That would've been the perfect scenario because as good as Elise and Asia-oenna are, they're actually playing up a court.
"The good news is that we have some good freshmen who are already showing improvement. There are some who never picked up a racquet over the summer until three weeks ago and they've won a few games, so it's promising for the future."
The Cruisers were 0-3 overall and in the OCC-Ohio after losing 5-0 to Pickerington Central on Aug. 28 and before playing Lancaster on Sept. 2. They lost to Gahanna 5-0 on Aug. 19 and fell to Grove City 4-1 on Aug. 26. Seniors Jordan Gilmore and Cheyenne Morris won 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 at first doubles against Grove City.
Football team getting ready for Bulldogs
The football team will play the first of three consecutive road games Friday, Sept. 5, against Columbus South.
The Cruisers opened Aug. 29 at home against Canal Winchester. Their next home game is an OCC-Ohio contest Sept. 26 against Grove City. They travel to Westerville North on Sept. 12 and open league play Sept. 19 at Gahanna for the opener.
South, which opened Aug. 29 against Whetstone, finished 3-7 last season and hasn't had a winning season since 2006.
Bulldogs coach Keith Dimmy expected sophomore Joehnus Joyce to start at quarterback in the opener. Terric O'Neal, who accounted for more than 1,500 total yards as the starting quarterback last season, transferred to Marion-Franklin.
The Bulldogs' lineup include three standout sophomores who started as freshmen in Lamont Broomfield (TE/DE), Dez Robinson (WR) and Deaquan Taylor (FB/LB). Taylor had 90 tackles last season.
Tyrone Sheppard and Devon Tyus are expected to be the Bulldogs' top running backs.
"We aren't looking to make big plays on every down," said Cruisers coach Bryan Schoonover, whose team finished 1-9 last season. "We just want to be physical and stay on schedule by getting three, four or five yards a play. A big play here or there would be nice, but we're not going to be a quick-score team."
The Cruisers have some big-play potential in wide receiver Markel Davis and running backs Dana Cherry, Thomas Matthews, D'Lante Smith and Dezjuan Allen.
Defensive playmakers include Davis at cornerback, linebacker Jordan Garrettson and lineman Jacob Dalton.
Girls soccer team begins busy stretch
The girls soccer team began a busy stretch of its schedule Sept. 2 when it traveled to Grove City for an OCC-Ohio game.
The contest was the first of six games being played in a 12-day period. The Cruisers will play host to Canal Winchester on Thursday, Sept. 4, travel to play Coshocton on Saturday, Sept. 6, and play home games against Lancaster (Tuesday, Sept. 9) and Westland (Sept. 11) before playing at Teays Valley (Sept. 13).
The Cruisers were 1-2 overall after losing to Columbus School for Girls 3-0 on Aug. 28. They defeated Tree of Life 3-0 in their opener Aug. 16 before losing to Gahanna 6-0 in their league opener Aug. 26.
Senior midfielders Brittany Barna and Jaida Singratsomboune and freshman forward Jordan McElravey all scored against Tree of Life.