Despite losing several key players to graduation, the Dublin Jerome High School boys soccer team appears ready to reload rather than rebuild.

Despite losing several key players to graduation, the Dublin Jerome High School boys soccer team appears ready to reload rather than rebuild.

The Celtics finished 16-2-3 overall last year and won Division I district and regional titles before losing to Beavercreek 1-0 in a state semifinal. They opened the tournament with a 12-0 win over Marion-Franklin in the second round and defeated St. Charles 1-0 in a district semifinal, Westerville Central 3-2 in a district final, Dublin Coffman 3-2 in overtime in a regional semifinal and Worthington Kilbourne 1-0 in a regional final.

Jerome also celebrated the OCC-Cardinal Division championship, going 7-0 to finish ahead of Olentangy Liberty (4-2-1), Olentangy (3-3-1), Westerville North (3-3-1), Westerville Central (3-4), Dublin Scioto (2-4-1), Marysville (2-5) and Westerville South (2-5).

Among the key players lost to graduation was midfielder Brian McGue, who was named OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year last season as well as first-team all-district and all-state.

Senior midfielder Jeff Addis and senior defender Brad Carrel should lead a strong group of returnees. Addis had 16 goals and seven assists last season and made first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Carrel was named second-team all-league.

"I would like to get to states," Carrel said. "The state semifinal and state final would be great. We have to play big. We lost some tall kids, tall seniors last year. We're a little bit smaller, so we have to play physical, we have to play strong. We're really good technically, so we can move the ball around fast, but we have to put the ball in the back of the net. We have to score."

Senior goalie Mitch Wozniak is expected to replace Joey Hegedus, who graduated.

"Mitch has been a goalie in training the past three years, so he is definitely ready to step up and have that job," said coach Nate Maust, whose team opens Tuesday with a league game at home against Westerville North.

Other seniors are Anthony Larsen (forward), Chris Louwers (forward), Dom Rossi (forward), Eric Ruhl (midfielder), Nick Smith (defender) and Scott Ziolo (forward).

Also on the team are juniors are Alex Flexer, Jonathan Holden, Jacob Lipps, Hunter Naylor, Chase Porter and Matthew Stephens and sophomores Joe Davison, Nick Goldbeck and Connor Ward.

"This team has a lot of potential," Maust said. "This is probably one of the younger teams we've had. We have good senior leadership. We have some really young players who are stepping up and playing."

The Celtics, however, received a big blow during a preseason scrimmage when junior midfielder Brock Taylor was lost for the season with ACL and MCL injuries. He made second-team all-league last year.

•Among the goals for the girls team is winning another OCC-Cardinal title.

Jerome finished 12-6 overall last season and captured its third league title in a row, going 6-1 to finish ahead of Westerville North (3-1-3), Westerville Central (4-3), Westerville South (3-2-2), Scioto (2-2-3), Marysville (2-3-2), Liberty (1-4-2) and Olentangy (0-5-2).

"It's a goal every season, but especially for our senior class," coach Annie Murphy Gage said. "Considering they would be the first senior class to be able to get four in a row, it would be a good way for them to go out."

Jerome opens today at home against Watterson -- the team that ended its season a year ago. After having a first-round bye in the Division I district tournament, the Celtics defeated Teays Valley 4-0 in the second round and Worthington Kilbourne 4-2 in a district semifinal before losing to Watterson 2-0 in a district final.

Jerome lost eight players to graduation, including Kellen Shields, who was the OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year. Also gone is Morgan Herbert, who led the team in scoring with 22 goals and six assists and made first-team all-league.

"The great thing about being in Dublin is you have younger kids coming up that are good and every team is a little bit different," Murphy Gage said. "The team that we have this year has some things that last year's didn't, so I think we'll be all right."

Senior defender Olivia Warzycha, who made second-team all-league last season, leads the group of returnees.

"Obviously, we lost a lot of seniors, but we're coming out strong," Warzycha said. "We're pretty solid this year. We just have to work as a team, communicate. We have to get the ball moving and get some chemistry between us like last year."

Also back are seniors Carli Gasparro (defender), Anneka Hokanson (midfielder), Megan Hunter (forward) and Kathleen Smerles (forward), juniors Brooke Carrel (defender), Sarah Myers (forward), Carli Pimm (forward) and Jessica Sabers (forward) and sophomore Megan O'Donnell (goalie).

Pimm made second-team all-league last season and O'Donnell recorded 74 saves and seven shutouts.

Rounding out the team are sophomores Courtney Kobashigawa (midfielder), Emily McDowell (midfielder), Amelia Robison (defender), Megan Sobotka (defender), Katie Trabue (defender) and Cailey Ward (defender) and freshmen Makenzie Costner (defender) and Kaitlin Miller (midfielder).

"The big thing is discipline defensively," Murphy Gage said. "Our motto this year is you win and lose games inside of the 18 (yard line), so we're going to make sure that we're strong both offensively and defensively inside the 18."

The Celtics open OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday at Westerville North.


Schedules

BOYS

*Sept. 1 -- vs. Westerville North Sept. 3 -- vs. Olentangy Orange *Sept. 8 -- at Olentangy Liberty Sept. 10 -- vs. Upper Arlington Sept. 12 -- at Cleveland St. Ignatius *Sept. 15 -- at Westerville South Sept. 17 -- vs. Dublin Coffman Sept. 19 -- at Sylvania Northview *Sept. 22 -- vs. Olentangy Sept. 24 -- at Gahanna *Sept. 29 -- vs. Marysville Oct. 3 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson (Crew Stadium) *Oct. 6 -- at Dublin Scioto Oct. 8 -- at Worthington Kilbourne *Oct. 13 -- vs.Westerville Central Oct. 15 -- at DeSales

GIRLS

Aug. 27 -- vs. Watterson *Sept. 1 -- at Westerville North Sept. 3 -- at Thomas Worthington *Sept. 8 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty Sept. 10 -- at Upper Arlington Sept. 12 -- at Cincinnati Indian Hill *Sept. 15 -- vs. Westerville South Sept. 17 -- at Dublin Coffman *Sept. 22 -- at Olentangy Sept. 24 -- vs. Gahanna Sept. 26 -- vs. Springboro *Sept. 29 -- at Marysville Oct. 3 -- at Sylvania Northview *Oct. 6 -- vs. Dublin Scioto *Oct. 13 -- at Westerville Central Oct. 15 -- vs. DeSales

*OCC-Cardinal