Coffman ready to handle 'hype'
While Dublin Coffman High School girls soccer coach Marc D'Auteuil believes he has one of the most talented rosters in the state at his disposal, one of his primary goals this season is to keep his players grounded.
The fourth-year coach wants the Shamrocks to play with confidence while avoiding overconfidence.
Coffman, which finished 15-4-2 overall last season, opened Aug. 21 against Westerville North and begins OCC-Central Division play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Hilliard Davidson.
"We were ranked very high in the (Division I) state poll and the national polls last year, and we may have gotten caught up in our own hype at times," D'Auteuil said. "So this year, my job is to make sure we pay more attention to the process. I think that's the best approach toward getting to where we want to go."
The Shamrocks feature two fourth-year starters in senior forward Grace Filler and senior midfielder Bailey Wilson.
Wilson had 16 goals and 17 assists a year ago and was named OCC-Central Player of the Year as well as second-team all-state and first-team all-district. She is a University of Cincinnati recruit.
Coffman also has four third-year starters in juniors Sam Edwards (forward), Jena Phillips (midfielder), Brynn Schlemitz (midfielder) and Amanda Stratton (defender).
Edwards had 19 goals and eight assists last season and was first-team all-state, all-district and all-league and Stratton was second-team all-league. Phillips was special mention all-league a year ago but is expected to miss this season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Two other starters have returned in senior defender Haley Lehmkuhl and junior goalkeeper Quynh Vo. Lehmkuhl was second-team all-league last year.
Senior Kelly Phipps, a move-in and a Western Kentucky recruit, also is expected to make a big impact this season. Last fall, she scored in the Florida 6A (large school) state final to lead Palm Harbor University to a 1-0 victory over Boca Raton.
Also expected to start are junior midfielders Griffin Tullis and Kaeli Tunistra.
Rounding out the team are seniors Natalie Ashbrook (midfielder) and Meredith Mockler (forward), junior Jesse Schaefer (defender), sophomores Courtney Dille (defender) and Allison Johnston (forward), and freshmen Sophia Bingaman (defender), Ellie Hackett (midfielder), Hannah Lehmkuhl (midfielder) and Christine Szabo (defender).
"We have a unique mix of experienced veterans and quality newcomers," D'Auteuil said. "This is probably the most athletic and fastest team I've had at Coffman. I'm encouraged with our talent and depth."
Last season, Coffman finished first in the OCC-Central Division at 6-0-1, ahead of Davidson (5-0-2), Thomas Worthington (4-1-2), Upper Arlington (3-2-2), Hilliard Darby (2-3-2), Worthington Kilbourne (2-4-1), Central Crossing (1-6) and Westland (0-7).
As part of OCC realignment this summer, Darby and Kilbourne moved to the OCC-Cardinal and were replaced by Olentangy Liberty and Marysville, both of which had been in the OCC-Cardinal.
Seeded second in the Division I district tournament, the Shamrocks defeated Northland 11-0 in the second round, Grove City 3-0 in a district semifinal and Hilliard Bradley 2-0 in a district final.
Coffman then beat Watterson 2-0 in a regional semifinal before losing to Jerome 1-0 in a regional final.
"I think we have the talent and depth needed to compete for championships, so it's just a matter of getting everyone on the same page working together as a team," D'Auteuil said.
Celtics looking to build on last season
Jerome opened Aug. 21 at Olentangy and begins OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Hilliard Bradley.
Last season, the Celtics finished 20-2-1 overall, won the OCC-Cardinal championship and advanced to the Division I state final, where they lost to Strongsville 1-0.
Jerome returns five starters in seniors Lindsay Agnew (forward), Makenzie Costner (defender), Kaitlin Miller (midfielder) and Olivia Rozsits (forward) and junior Christy Chou (defender).
Agnew led the Celtics with 22 goals and 18 assists last season and was named league and district Player of the Year and first-team all-state. The Ohio State recruit also was captain of the ThisWeek Super 12 team.
Miller, who has verbally committed to Kentucky, had 16 goals and 10 assists last season and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district. Costner, a Western Kentucky recruit, was second-team all-league.
Other returnees are seniors Brooke Boyle (midfielder), Caitlin Clancy (midfielder), Katherine McCoy (defender), Kelly Trabue (forward) and Maddie Schneider (midfielder), juniors Andrea Davidson (forward), Jillian Graff (defender), Kelsey Larsen (goalie) and Marissa Martin (midfielder) and sophomore Madison Costner (forward).
Rounding out the team are juniors Anna Poptic (midfielder) and Tara Williams (forward), sophomores Abi Fickel (defender), Maddy Ireton (goalie) and Keemia Rashidi (forward) and freshmen Sabine Chandler (forward) and Sydney Harris (defender).
"We jelled as a group well together last year and we're trying to build upon that," second-year coach Josh Brader said. "Lindsay Agnew will miss our first seven games while she's training with the U-17 Canadian national team, but she will come back stronger than ever. Kaitlin Miller is faster than a deer and is so strong and skilled. And Makenzie's one of the most dominant defenders I've ever coached. I'd put those three girls up against any other girl in the state at their positions."
Last year, Jerome won the OCC-Cardinal title at 7-0, ahead of Dublin Scioto (4-2-1), Westerville North (3-2-2), Westerville Central (3-3-1), Liberty (2-4-1), Olentangy (2-4-1), Marysville (2-5) and Westerville South (1-4-2).
In addition to Darby and Kilbourne, Bradley has joined the league after being in the OCC-Capital. Liberty and Marysville moved to the OCC-Central and Olentangy moved to the OCC-Capital.
The top seed in the district tournament last season, Jerome had a first-round bye and defeated Westland 10-0 in the second round, UA 10-0 in a district semifinal and 12th-seeded Olentangy Orange 7-0 in a district final.
The Celtics then beat Gahanna 2-1 in a regional semifinal, Coffman 1-0 in a regional final and Centerville 3-2 in a state semifinal before falling to Strongsville.
Jerome opened last season with a 1-0 loss to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame but did not lose again until the state final.
"This is a great group of girls and they're working extremely hard to try to build the program into one of the best in the state once again," Brader said.
Irish aiming for winning season
Scioto opens Thursday Aug. 23, against visiting Pickerington North and begins OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at home against Westerville Central.
The Irish, who finished 14-3-2 overall last season, are led by senior captains Anna Buhigas (goalie), Kelsey Diewald (defender) and Elise Jones (midfielder).
Buhigas had 54 saves last season and was first-team all-league. Jones had 11 goals and five assists and was second-team all-league and Diewald was honorable mention all-league.
Other returnees are senior Sveta Gudenkova (forward), juniors Jenna Best (defender), Summer Cartwright (forward), Rachel Jacoby (defender), Michelle Kryc (forward), Maddie Marker (midfielder) and Claudia Shealy (midfielder) and sophomores Quinn Blackwell (midfielder) and Lindsey Rentzsch (midfielder).
Gudenkova led Scioto with 13 goals and seven assists last season and was special mention all-league.
"We have three solid captains with a lot of game knowledge," sixth-year coach Chris Adams said. "Kelsey, Anna and Elise all have experience and are willing to do what it takes to make our players and our program better."
Last season, Scioto placed second in the OCC-Cardinal at 4-2-1 and reached a Division I district final before losing to Watterson 1-0 (3-2 on penalty kicks). Seeded sixth in the district, the Irish opened the tournament with an 11-0 win over Groveport and defeated Thomas 1-0 in a district semifinal before falling to Watterson.
"We didn't set any specific team goals," Adams said. "Of course, we want to do well in the conference and we want to make sure that we continue to get better from game to game, hopefully peaking come tournament time. If we do that, the success will come."