Near the end of a grueling two-hour training session held in 86-degree temperatures, the Watterson High School girls soccer team practiced finishing and defending shots off crossing passes.

Near the end of a grueling two-hour training session held in 86-degree temperatures, the Watterson High School girls soccer team practiced finishing and defending shots off crossing passes.

Even though it was their second long training session of the day, the Eagles continued the drill until coach Alyxandra Portier stopped practice.

Portier, who played soccer for two seasons at South Alabama and two seasons at Ohio State, said it was a familiar scenario for the Eagles, who finished 15-3-2 overall last year after losing to Hilliard Davidson 2-1 in a Division I regional semifinal.

Watterson opened last Tuesday against Thomas Worthington. The Eagles play today at Dublin Jerome and Saturday at Worthington Kilbourne.

"These girls always work as hard as they can for the entire practice like this, and this is the hardest-working team I've ever worked with," Portier said. "They're very talented and they have great personalities, but what makes this team special is its work ethic. This team never settles for mediocrity. They reach for perfection, and when you reach for perfection, you're going to reach excellence."

Senior defender Molly Cantwell said the Eagles are inspired by the tournament run they made last year.

Fourth-seeded Watterson opened district play at home with a 4-2 victory over Pickerington Central before downing Pickerington North 2-0 in a semifinal at home.

The Eagles then defeated seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome 2-0 in the final at Bexley to win their first district title since 1998 before losing to Davidson.

"It was a horrible feeling to get that far and lose a game that close, and we're doing everything we can to prepare ourselves to win those type of games this year," Cantwell said. "We believe that we can go as far as we push ourselves, so we've stepped up our work ethic. We keep going hard no matter what the conditions are."

Eight senior starters have returned, including forward Isa Hollern, midfielders Tyler Bucci, Kelly DeNiro and Meghan Caldwell, defenders Cantwell, Katie Coleman and Bridget Lynch, and goalkeeper Mary Kate Campbell.

Four Eagles already have made verbal commitments to Division I college teams: Cantwell (University of Toledo), DeNiro (University of Akron), senior defender Ellie Gavin (St. Francis, Pa., University) and Lynch (Duquesne University).

Last year, DeNiro was second-team all-district and first-team all-CCL, Cantwell was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-CCL, Lynch was first-team all-CCL and Coleman was second-team all-CCL.

Rounding out the lineup are senior forward Lindsey Schons, junior midfielder May Montalto, junior forward Rachael Callahan, sophomore midfielder Kathryn Sullivan and freshman midfielder Andrea Regrut.

"Our seniors have been together four years now, and we have good chemistry," Lynch said. "Our coaches have told us since we were freshmen that we have the most potential of any class that's ever come through Watterson. And we're doing our best to prove them right."

One of Watterson's biggest goals is to win the CCL outright for the first time since 2002. The Eagles lost to DeSales 2-1 last year on the way to finishing second in the CCL with a 3-1-1 league mark.

"Our team theme is '10 seniors, one season, don't blow it,' and the CCL's really important to us," Gavin said. "We don't want to have any would've, should've, could've moments."

•The boys soccer team opened last Wednesday against Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and plays Saturday at Mount Vernon.

The Eagles finished 6-8-4 overall after losing to New Albany 2-1 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.

Six starters have come back including senior midfielders Paolo Bucci and Sebastian Bohorquez, junior midfielders Trevin Pitroff and Max Rohda, senior forward Ben Schlater and senior defender Adam Smith.

Bucci was second-team all-state, first team all-district and first-team all-CCL last year.

Other key players are junior defender T.C. Frommeyer, junior goalkeeper Brian Raderstorf, sophomore outside midfielders Austin DeCocker and Derek Hesse, sophomore defender Brennan Clegg and freshmen midfielders Bryan Lucksheiter and Dominik Smith.

"We expect big things out of our midfield because that's where a lot of our veteran players are," coach Frank Bucci said. "We're counting on Adam Smith to lock down our defense and organize in the back."

Last year, Watterson finished fourth (2-2-1) in the CCL and opened the district tournament with a 6-2 win over Buckeye Valley before losing to New Albany.

"If our younger kids follow the lead of our seniors, we should have a better season than we had last year," coach Bucci said. "DeSales has more club soccer players than we do, so they're probably still the favorite to win the CCL, but us, Worthington Christian, St. Charles and Hartley all have pretty strong teams, and anything could happen."


Schedules

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 18 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne Aug. 19 -- at Wellington Aug. 22 -- at Columbus School for Girls Invitational Aug. 25 -- vs. Bexley Aug. 29 -- vs. Watterson Invitational Sept. 1 -- vs. Worthington Christian Sept. 2 -- at Hilliard Bradley Sept. 3 -- vs. Pickerington Central Sept. 8 -- vs. Hartley Sept. 11 -- at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Sept. 12 -- at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit Sept. 15 -- vs. CSG Sept. 16 -- at Dublin Coffman Sept. 17 -- vs. Reynoldsburg Sept. 22 -- at DeSales Sept. 23 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty Sept. 29 -- at Ready Oct. 6 -- at Bexley

boys soccer

Aug. 26 -- at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Aug. 29 -- at Mount Vernon Sept. 3 -- at Hartley Sept. 8 -- vs. Ready Sept. 15 -- at St. Charles Sept. 17 -- at Pickerington North Sept. 24 -- at DeSales Sept. 26 -- at Beavercreek Sept. 29 -- vs. Worthington Christian Sept. 30 -- at Granville Oct. 3 -- vs. Centennial Oct. 5 -- at Bexley Oct. 8 -- at Brookhaven Oct. 10 -- at Chillicothe Oct. 13 -- vs. Northridge Oct. 15 -- at New Albany Oct. 17 -- at Watkins Memorial

girls soccer

Aug. 25 -- vs. Thomas Worthington Aug. 27 -- at Dublin Jerome Aug. 29 -- at Worthington Kilbourne Sept. 3 -- vs. Hartley Sept. 8 -- at Ready Sept. 10 -- at Olentangy Liberty Sept. 12 -- at Hilliard Darby Sept. 15 -- vs. Worthington Christian Sept. 19 -- at Anthony Wayne Sept. 22 -- vs. CSG Sept. 24 -- vs. New Albany Oct. 1 -- at DeSales Oct. 3 -- vs. Westerville North Oct. 8 -- at Lancaster Oct. 15 -- at Pickerington Central

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Watterson boys golf, girls golf, girls tennis, girls volleyball, field hockey and boys and girls cross country teams:

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 18 -- Finished 21st (353) in Cleveland St. Ignatius Invitational behind champion St. Ignatius (289) Aug. 19 -- Finished second (318) in CCL Preseason Tournament behind St. Charles (298) and ahead of DeSales (329), Hartley (352), Ready (353) and Worthington Christian (366) Aug. 20 -- Finished 10th (335) in 13-team Fairfield Federal Invitational behind champion Pickerington North (307) Last Friday -- Finished eighth (316) in 26-team W-3 Invitational behind champion Dublin Jerome (303) Last Saturday -- Finished 16th (342) in Sycamore Invitational behind champion St. Charles (298) Last Monday -- Played Teays Valley Saturday -- At Cincinnati Moeller Invitationalat Waldon Pond

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 17 -- Won (318) 12-team Wolves Invitational ahead of runner-up Dublin Jerome (353). Lauren Grogan (70) was medalist. Aug. 20 -- Won (319) first round of Division I MOGGL Tournament ahead of runner-up DeSales (347). Grogan (75) was medalist. Last Tuesday -- Played DeSales Last Wednesday -- Played Pickerington North Saturday -- Second round of Division I MOGGL Tournament at Foxfire

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 18 -- Defeated Worthington Kilbourne 4-1 in opener Last Saturday -- Finished second ineight-team CSG Doubles Tournament behind Dublin Jerome. Olivia Ott and Lisa Rague finished second in the second flight. Erin Jenkins and Hayley Shepherd finished second in the third flight. Ali Hudock andChristie Jenkins finished second in the fourth flight. Maureen Stevens andKatie Shepherd finished third in the first flight. Last Tuesday -- Played Bexley Last Wednesday -- Played Wellington Saturday -- Home for Watterson Invitational *Tuesday -- Home vs. Worthington Christian Wednesday -- At Hilliard Bradley

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Saturday -- Opener at Cincinnati McAuley

FIELD HOCKEY

Last Monday -- Played Dublin Jerome in opener Tuesday -- At Lancaster

CROSS COUNTRY

Saturday -- At Newark Catholic Invitational

*CCL