Whetstone High School girls soccer coach Phil Labuhn called it "the million dollar question."

Whetstone High School girls soccer coach Phil Labuhn called it "the million dollar question."

Last season during a 7-8 finish, the Braves scored just four goals and were shut out four times in their eight losses.

Who would step up offensively heading into this fall was among the biggest concerns for Labuhn, whose team lost only three players from a year ago to graduation.

Among the answers could be sophomore Maddy O'Malley, who had three goals in a 5-0 win over Westland on Aug. 27. Also expected to provide scoring punch are senior Brynne McCann, junior Alana Bruzzese and sophomore Liz Jackson.

The Braves, who opened with a 2-1 win over Teays Valley on Aug. 23 but lost to Delaware 4-0 on Aug. 25, return senior Symiah Campbell at goalkeeper. Seniors Zoe Leach and Emily Moffatt and junior Libby Adelsberger are expected to lead the defense.

Campbell had 18 saves against Delaware.

Junior Hailey Varney and sophomores Marlee Christian and Emma Vandommelen are others looking to contribute.

"This group we have now is basically the same as last year," said Labuhn, who is in his 13th season. "It's probably the most cohesive unit I've had and they're all working hard and all having fun."

Last season, the Braves went 3-1 against City League teams, beating Beechcroft, Northland and Columbus East all by a 7-0 score and falling to Centennial 6-1.

Whetstone lost to Watterson 4-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. Katie Fuller, Augusto Kargbo and Sarah Patashinsky comprised the Braves' 2011 senior class.

•The girls volleyball team also is hoping to benefit from having a more experienced roster.

The Braves return six seniors, including Lauren McKee and Quincy Repka. McKee was first-team all-league last year and is expected to be the setter, while Repka was honorable mention all-league and could see time at several positions.

The other seniors are Deitra Benjamin (defensive specialist), Sarah Cramer (middle hitter), Mercedes Mead (defensive specialist) and Rachel Wiltshire (outside hitter). Also on the team are juniors Audrey Bollas (middle hitter), Briana Clemens (outside hitter) and Danielle Fisher (defensive specialist) and sophomores Katie Kelekes (utility) and Val Vokac (utility). Sophomore Allie Adelsberger was expected to be the starting setter but was injured during the preseason.

Whetstone opened with a 25-14, 25-13, 25-22 loss to Worthington Christian on Aug. 29.

Last season, the Braves lost to Westerville Central 25-9, 25-9, 25-6 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish 10-12 overall. They were fourth (8-6) in the City League-North Division, behind Northland (14-0), Centennial (12-2) and Brookhaven (9-5).

Sara Johnson and Veronica Schulte-Hordelhoff were lost to graduation and Brittany Bishop did not return for her senior season.

"Our tallest player is only about (5-foot-7), so we're small and scrappy," said Errole Rembert, who is in his 33rd season as coach. "Our hopes are to win the City-North and get to the City championship game. We took a little hit (with the loss of Allie Adelsberger) but we've just got to get back to working a little harder.

"Our little saying for this year is 'Now.'"

•Both the boys and girls cross country teams will have new looks after losing their respective No. 1 runners to graduation.

Senior Alexander Singer, who was 44th (17 minutes, 18.51 seconds) in the Division I, district 3 meet last year, is the boys team's new top runner. Also back from last season are sophomore Hayden Palmer (100th, 18:38.09 at district), senior Mac Conklin (113th, 19:29 at district) and sophomore Kevin McCoy (117th, 20:25.42 at district).

Others looking to contribute are senior Harley Tripp and junior Ben Alexander.

Sophomore Liz Jackson, who also is playing soccer, is the top returnee for the girls team after placing 60th (23:34.78) in the district 1 meet last year.

On Aug. 27 in the six-team Buckeye Valley Baron Blast, the boys were fifth (115) behind champion Jonathan Alder (49) as Singer was first (17:52). The girls also were last (143) of six teams, behind champion Centerburg (40).

"We've got a numbers issue right now, but we do have a couple good kids back," said Joe Monda, who coaches both the boys and girls teams. "We're hopefully each week going to get better and by the end of the year have a team out there. They're all working really hard."

Last season, the boys team scored 34 points to edge Centennial (36) in the nine-team City meet. Then at district, the Braves were 16th (369) of 18 teams, behind champion Westerville North (52).

The girls team was fourth (83) in the seven-team City meet, behind champion Centennial (36), and was 11th (330) of 12 teams at district, behind champion New Albany (34).

Evan Schwartz, a 2011 graduate who advanced to state in 2009, was fourth (16:08.97) at district and took 18th (16:42.2) at regional to miss advancing to state by two places for the boys team.

Katie Fuller, also a 2011 graduate, was sixth at the City meet to lead the girls but did not run at district.