Dublin Jerome High School boys soccer coach Nate Maust enters his seventh season confident that his squad has the firepower to contend for a three-peat in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

Dublin Jerome High School boys soccer coach Nate Maust enters his seventh season confident that his squad has the firepower to contend for a three-peat in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

The Celtics lost nine seniors to graduation, but return a solid nucleus, led by another talented senior class, including goalkeeper Jacob Lipps, defender Alex Flexer and defender Chase Porter.

Senior midfielder Brock Taylor returns after missing last season with an ACL injury sustained in a scrimmage.

Also back are senior forward Matt Stephens and senior midfielder Jonathan Holden.

"Our first goal is to win an OCC title and then a state championship," Holden said. "Our defense definitely has to step up. We're playing all right back there now, but we have a lot of young players back there."

Other seniors are forwards Blair Comfort and Adam Organ, and midfielder Chris Frey.

A talented-laden defense should also feature juniors Joe Davison, Nick Goldbeck and Connor Ward. All three played a role in the team's appearance in the Division I regional semifinals last season and junior James Warvel should back up Lipps in goal.

Other juniors are forward Christian Beith and midfielder Pedro Amaya.

Maust thinks his sophomore class will provide immediate contributions. Defender Tyler Kidwell, who Maust believes has great potential, should lead that contingent.

Other sophomores are forwards Kyle Moser and Andres Isea, midfielder Ian Keller and defender Dan Allen.

"Some of these players have played together and some haven't," Maust said. "The core of the team really gets along. They get along off the field and they're learning to get along on the field, and that's really going to help us down the stretch."

Last season, Jerome finished 11-8-1 overall and 6-0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal, good for first ahead of Olentangy Liberty (6-1), Dublin Scioto (4-1-2), Westerville North (3-2-2), Westerville Central (3-3-1), Marysville (2-5), Olentangy (1-6) and Westerville South (0-7).

The Celtics' season, however, ended with a 3-2 overtime loss to Olentangy Orange in a regional semifinal. Jerome appeared headed to the regional final, but Aaron Horton scored with just 2.2 seconds remaining in the regulation to tie the game and force overtime.

"The players that are back talk a lot about that game," Maust said. "They talk a lot about the 2.2. As soon as someone says 2.2, that brings back a lot of memories. The players that are back have learned from it. They realize anything can happen."

ĽA new era for girls soccer begins as Chuck Crawford makes his coaching debut for Jerome on Saturday at Sylvania Northview.

The Celtics are looking to improve on an 11-4-4 record and fourth-place finish (3-2-2) in the OCC-Cardinal.

"It's interesting to watch these girls because they really love the game," Crawford said. "The level of appreciation for what's going on is really great. They've really bought into the system of play."

The girls team also returns a solid nucleus, led by senior midfielder Carli Pimm and senior defender/midfielder Brooke Carrel.

"We have a lot of talent," Pimm said. "We didn't lose that many seniors. We just have to stay connected and keep our chemistry."

Other seniors are forward/midfielder Jessica Sabers, midfielders Lindsay Fitzgerald and Sarah Myers, and forward Lindsay Reed.

Junior Megan O'Donnell is back at goalkeeper. The other juniors are defenders Abbey Drake, Katie Mazurek, Amelia Robison, Katie Trabue and Cailey Ward, and midfielders Supreya Kesavan, Courtney Kobashigawa, Alyssa Lambie, Emily McDowell and Megan Sobotka.

"This is a great group of girls and a great program coming through, so it's really a joy to be here," Crawford said.

Crawford noted that the remaining 27 girls on the roster are sophomores and freshmen, and could split time between varsity and junior varsity.

Last season, the Celtics finished fourth in the OCC-Cardinal behind Liberty (6-0-1), Westerville North (5-1-1) and Westerville Central (4-1-2), and ahead of Dublin Scioto (1-3-3), Olentangy (1-4-2) and Westerville South (1-6).

"If we continue to improve all season long we'll be happy," he said.


Schedules

BOYS

Aug. 28 - vs. Sylvania Northview *Aug. 31 - at Westerville North Sept. 2 - at Olentangy Orange *Sept. 7 - vs. Olentangy Liberty Sept. 9 - at Upper Arlington Sept. 11 - vs. St. Ignatius *Sept. 14 - vs. Westerville South Sept. 16 - at Dublin Coffman *Sept. 21 - at Olentangy Sept. 23 - vs. Gahanna *Sept. 28 - at Marysville Sept. 30 - at Hilliard Davidson *Oct. 5 - vs. Dublin Scioto Oct. 7 - vs. Worthington Kilbourne *Oct. 12 - at Westerville Central Oct. 14 - vs. DeSales

GIRLS

Aug. 28 - at Sylvania Northview *Aug. 31 - vs. Westerville North Aug. 28 - vs. Whetstone Sept. 2 - vs. Thomas Worthington *Sept. 7 - at Olentangy Liberty Sept. 9 - vs. Upper Arlington *Sept. 14 - at Westerville South Sept. 16 - vs. Dublin Coffman Sept. 18 - at Worthington Kilbourne *Sept. 21 - vs. Olentangy Sept. 23 - at Gahanna *Sept. 28 - vs. Marysville Sept. 30 - vs. Watterson *Oct. 5 - at Dublin Scioto Oct. 9 - at Reynoldsburg *Oct. 12 - vs. Westerville Central Oct. 14 - at DeSales

*OCC-Cardinal game