Seniors lead way for girls soccer team
Watterson High School girls soccer coach Alyx Portier has worked with more talented groups of players in previous seasons, but she said this year's team has the best leadership and chemistry of any squad she has coached.
The Eagles, who finished 10-6-4 overall a year ago, opened Aug. 21 against Pickerington Central and begin CCL play Sept. 6 at Hartley.
"This is a talented group, but what makes them special is the leadership of our seniors," said Portier, who is in her fourth season leading the program. "Our seniors have taken the best of what they've seen from our other team captains during their four years here, figured out what works best with this group and made it their own. Because of their leadership, the personalities on our team work well together and we've become a true team instead of a bunch of individuals."
Ten players who started multiple games last season have returned in seniors Allie Demboski (center midfielder), Brittany Maisano (center defender), Anne Montalton (forward), Andrea Regrut (outside defender) and Polly Sellers (forward), junior Ellie Ganz (forward) and sophomores Coley Frommeyer (outside defender), Bryn McQuade (center defender), Marissa Wierzbicki (goalkeeper) and McKenna Pitman (goalie).
Senior Katherine Pardi and freshman Abby Demboski are expected to see significant time at center midfield as well.
Maisano has verbally committed to Kent State University. Ali Demboski, Maisano and Sellers are team captains.
Last year, Watterson finished second in the CCL at 3-1, behind DeSales (4-0) and ahead of Hartley (1-2-1), Ready (1-2-1) and Columbus School for Girls (0-4). The Eagles won the league championship outright in 2009 and shared the title with DeSales in 2005, 2006 and 2010.
The Eagles won their first district title since 2008 last season. They opened the Division I district tournament with a 3-1 win over Logan and upset third-seeded Pickerington North 2-1 in a district semifinal and sixth-seeded Dublin Scioto 1-0 (3-2 on penalty kicks) in a district final before losing to Dublin Coffman 2-0 in a regional semifinal.
"Our goal is to keep growing as individual players and as a team so that we can go further in the tournament than we did last year," Portier said.
Boys soccer team aiming for CCL title
The boys soccer team returns eight starters from a year ago, when it finished 10-6-2 overall.
Watterson, which opened with a 3-all tie against Bexley on Aug. 18, features three third-year starters in senior captains Andrew Huber (defender), Bryan Luckscheiter (midfielder) and Dominic Smith (midfielder).
Also back are five second-year starters in seniors Jeremy Pratt (goalie) and Zach Steffensmeier (defender) and juniors Trevor Funk (goalie), Tommy Geraghty (forward) and Mitch Werner (forward).
Rounding out the team are seniors Connor DeSantis (midfielder), Nathan Giangardella (defender), Cameron Golamb (midfielder), Sean O'Brien (midfielder), Alec Pratt (midfielder), Sam Rancour (defender), Drew Sherman (defender) and Zac Simmons (goalie), juniors Michael Gilbert (defender), Michael Guza (midfielder) and Zach Storc (forward) and sophomores Michael Harper (defender), Frankie Isabelle (defender), Brad Kanney (forward), Sam Magee (forward) and Paul Mokrzan (midfielder).
"The team's biggest strength is definitely our senior leadership," second-year coach Chad Smith said. "They took charge of this team right from the start."
Last season, Watterson tied DeSales for second in the CCL at 2-1-1, behind St. Charles (3-1) and ahead of Hartley (1-1-2) and Ready (0-4).
The Eagles begin league play Sept. 6 at home against Hartley.
Seeded fifth in the Division II district tournament last season, Watterson defeated Caledonia River Valley 12-0 before losing to eighth-seeded Bexley 2-1 in a district semifinal.
"This year's team has shown great urgency to achieve their goals," Smith said. "The guys aren't afraid to talk about what they want to accomplish and are working extremely hard to achieve it.
"We always have the goal of winning the Central Catholic League. It's a conference with a lot of history and we are going to do everything we can to take home the title. DeSales and St. Charles are great programs and are always tough to play."