Girls soccer team looks to build on strong start
Whetstone High School girls soccer coach Phil Labuhn likes what he's seen from his team so far, but he isn't ready to call his team a finished product.
"We're off to a good start record-wise," he said. "But we still aren't putting together an entire match. We're giving up some chances we shouldn't give up.
"But all in all, for as young as we are, we're real pleased."
The Braves beat Columbus International on Sept. 11 to improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the City League, with their only loss coming to Grandview, 4-0 on Aug. 23. Grandview is 8-0 heading into a game against Bexley on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Whetstone has outscored its opponents 42-5.
"They're all working together as a team," Labuhn said. "We don't have one person we rely on to carry us."
Junior forward Marlee Christian leads the team with seven goals. Junior midfielder Liz Jackson and senior forward Alana Bruzzese each has six goals, followed by sophomore forward Rita Knasel with four and junior defender Maddy O'Malley and sophomore midfielder Emma Van Dommelen with three apiece. Freshman midfielders Kiara Lopez and Tovey Nederveld and freshman forward Lauren Taylor each has two goals.
Senior goalkeeper Kollene Elekes has 10 saves on the season. Freshman Jensen Smith has split time as a defender and backup goalie and has seven saves.
"She's made some really great saves," Labuhn said of Elekes. "Then, at other times, she comes out way too quick."
Labuhn is willing to excuse some of the fundamental mistakes made by Elekes, who is a first-year player.
"She came out to see if she could play goalie and she had enough athleticism and enough drive to do well," he said. "She works hard at learning the position. The potential is there. We're happy about where she is at this point."
The Braves are looking to get back to the City championship this year at Crew Stadium after losing to Centennial 2-1 last year.
"That's our goal," Labuhn said. "Everything we're playing for is heading back to Crew Stadium. ... Every match will get tougher and tougher. We'll really know where we stand (by the end of the regular season)."
Whetstone plays host to Tree of Life on Thursday, Sept. 20. The Braves then face Coshocton on Saturday, Sept. 22, at home and travel to Chillicothe on Tuesday, Sept. 25, and Delaware on Sept. 27 before returning to league play Oct. 2 at Centennial.
"We're trying to get better after each match," Labuhn said. "After every game, we look at the things we weren't so good at and try to improve those in the next match."
Girls tennis team excelling on court
The girls tennis team was 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the City-North before playing Linden-McKinley on Sept. 17.
The Braves scored eight points in the Grandview Invitational on Sept. 15 to finish third, behind Logan Elm (18) and Grandview (9) and ahead of Hamilton Township (2). Logan Elm won the event for the second consecutive season.
"It was great weather, great teams," coach Bucky Walters said. "I feel really good."
Senior Abby Nypaver finished first at first singles, defeating Logan Elm's Kari Willard 10-9 in the championship match. Junior Alex Myers and senior Dora Mase finished third at second and third singles, respectively.
Junior Jessica Price and freshman Lily Morris placed second at first doubles, losing to Logan Elm's Katie Willard and Amber Risner 10-3 in the final.
Football team falls in league opener
The football team lost to visiting Mifflin 60-24 in the City-North opener Sept. 14 to fall to 1-3 overall.
Junior quarterback Ramroth Finnegan scored on a 1-yard run and passed to Trent Harper for the two-point conversion and then completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Yusef Conteh and ran in the two-point conversion to give Whetstone a 16-0 lead in the first quarter.
However, Mifflin, which improved to 3-1 overall, scored the next 60 points to open a wide lead.
The Braves closed the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 10-yard run by Finnegan and a pass from Finnegan to Chris North for the two-point conversion.
Finnegan finished 12-for-30 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown and carried 22 times for 110 yards and two scores.
Whetstone travels to Beechcroft on Friday, Sept. 21, for a league contest. The Cougars, who defeated the Braves 50-14 last season, improved to 2-1 overall with a 55-15 win over Centennial in their league opener Sept. 14.
Beechcroft is led by quarterback Maurice Hale, who passed for more than 1,800 yards and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season. Hale had 464 yards passing and 154 yards rushing through two games this year.