Delaware Christian Roundup
Boys soccer team returns veteran lineup
The Delaware Christian School boys soccer team returned seven starters from last season, when it finished 12-4-2 and reached a Division III district final for just the second time in program history.
The Eagles were 4-0 before playing Mansfield Temple on Sept. 7, having outscored their first four opponents by a combined 35-2. They begin MOCAL play Tuesday, Sept. 11, at home against Madison Christian.
"Our competition has been weak so far, but we're getting to work on a lot of things," coach Levi Witt said. "We need to learn things and improve so that once we get into the tougher part of our schedule we'll be ready to step up. We're not focused on our record because we realize these are the games we should be winning."
The returning starters are seniors Pete Kerins (center midfielder), Luke McGrath (goalkeeper), Joe Miser (defender), Jackson Quist (forward) and David Tobin (defender), junior Brock Bishop (center midfielder) and sophomore Grant Bishop (forward).
Other returning letterwinners are seniors Zach Blakemore (midfielder/defender) and Michael Desrosiers (defender), juniors Matt Cellar (defender/midfielder) and Adam Houser (midfielder/forward) and sophomore Chris Art (sweeper).
"We went from having a terrific speed team, a team more suited for possession style of play, so that's the direction we've headed," Witt said. "It is very different than last season, but the kids are adjusting well."
Rounding out the roster are juniors Wyatt Bess (forward), Matt Gessner (forward/midfielder/defender) and Neil Williams (midfielder) and freshmen Wesley Blakemore (center midfielder), Dan Fisher (forward) and Brady Gregory (goalie).
"Brock Bishop is our playmaker in the middle and our go-to guy," Witt said. "He's in his third season as a starter and just gets better and better. He could end up being the MOCAL Player of the Year. He handles the ball great and is a great distributor and with him and Jackson Quist in the middle, they just make things happen. Jackson led our team in scoring the past few years."
McGrath is a third-year starter in goal and is supported in the back by Tobin, Miser, Art and Zach Blakemore.
"The defense is real strong and we're blessed to have some size and muscle in the back," Witt said. "I expect us to be very strong all year defensively.
"I also think we have a great future ahead with freshmen like Wesley Blakemore and Brady Gregory. I'm excited for this season and for our future."
Delaware Christian opened with a 6-0 win over Wellington on Aug. 20. It then defeated Caledonia River Valley 5-0 on Aug. 23, Harvest Prep 13-0 on Aug. 25 and Patriot Academy 11-2 on Aug. 28.
Last season, Delaware Christian went 2-1-2 in the MOCAL to finish third, behind Tree of Life (5-0) and Granville Christian (3-1-1) and ahead of Gahanna Christian (2-2-1), Grove City Christian (1-4) and Madison Christian (0-5). Quist and McGrath were second-team all-league and Kerins and Brock Bishop were honorable mention.
"Our goal is to win the MOCAL and at least match last year's tournament run," Witt said. "We're confident after last season and the seniors want to match what we did last year."
The Eagles were seeded seventh in the district tournament last season and had a first-round bye. They beat fifth-seeded Bloom-Carroll 2-1 in the second round and fourth-seeded Fairbanks 2-1 in double overtime in a district semifinal before losing to eventual state champion Worthington Christian 5-1 in a district final.
Delaware Christian's only other district final appearance came in 2006 when it lost to Bloom-Carroll 5-0.
Volleyball team needs players to step up
Having lost seven players from last season to graduation, the girls volleyball team is counting on players to step up this fall.
Senior outside hitters Lenora Boyer (5-foot-10) and Brenna McCullough (5-8) are the only starters back from a year ago, when the Eagles finished 21-3 overall, 12-0 in the MOCAL and reached a Division IV district semifinal.
"We're very inexperienced overall, but we think we have some talented players and that if we play with discipline, we'll have another real good season," said Jackie Boggs, who was named league and district Coach of the Year last year. "I've been impressed with the girls and I'm happy with our start to the season."
The Eagles are 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the MOCAL. They lost their opener to Harvest Prep (25-21, 25-27, 25-10, 25-20 on Aug. 25) before winning league matches against Gahanna Christian (25-21, 25-21, 25-23 on Aug. 28) and Grove City Christian (25-6, 25-11, 25-16 on Aug. 30).
Delaware Christian then went 2-1 in the Madison Plains Invitational on Sept. 1, beating West Jefferson 25-20, 25-19 and Worthington Christian 18-25, 25-23, 25-23 and losing to Shekinah Christian 25-18, 25-18.
"Lenora Boyer is so fun to watch," Boggs said. "She is highly skilled and played on a national level club team with Columbus Volleyball Academy. She's fundamentally sound. Brenna McCullough is moving from right-side hitter to outside and she also is very skilled. They both are hitting outside and playing middle-back defense."
Boyer was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last year and McCullough was honorable mention all-league.
The other returning letterwinner is junior Cooper Bridget (5-8, middle hitter).
Also on the team are senior Katie Bean (defensive specialist), junior Katy Sullivan (libero), sophomores Rachael Kirby (setter) and Sydney Manny (5-7, right-side hitter) and freshman Erin McCullough (5-9, middle hitter).
Kirby is the younger sister of Haley Kirby, a 2012 graduate who was MOCAL Player of the Year and first-team all-district as the Eagles' setter last year.
"Rachael has good hands and has been around the game forever," Boggs said. "She watches and listened to her sister and has been taking it all in and learning. She'll be a good one for us."
Last season, the Eagles were seeded second for the district tournament but lost to sixth-seeded Fisher Catholic 25-20, 19-25, 25-21, 15-25, 15-10 in a semifinal.
Delaware Christian won its fifth MOCAL title last year, finishing ahead of Gahanna Christian (9-3), Tree of Life (6-6), Fairfield Christian (6-6), Madison Christian (5-7), Grove City Christian (4-8) and Granville Christian (0-12).
Boggs believes her team will benefit from the addition of assistant coaches Sarah Huston and Courtney White, both of whom played collegiately. Huston played for Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind., and White played at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.