With nine returning starters, including four Division I college recruits, the expectations remain the same for the Dublin Coffman High School girls soccer team.
The Shamrocks, who opened Aug. 20 against Westerville Central, are striving for their fifth consecutive Division I district championship and 11th overall and their third consecutive OCC-Central Division title.
"It's been like this 10, 15 years," coach Marc D'Auteuil said. "We've always been at the top of central Ohio and the state as well, and with that comes expectations. We have a pretty seasoned group."
Last season, Coffman finished 15-1-4 overall, 6-0-1 in the league and beat Olentangy Liberty 4-1 in a district final before losing to Pickerington North 1-0 in a regional semifinal.
The Shamrocks' only league blemish was a 1-all tie against Marysville. The teams meet Sept. 3 at Marysville.
"We have a target on our back all the time, but with the group that we have this year, we can take that pressure and move forward with it," senior defender Amanda Stratton said. "We'll really strive under the pressure. It should be a good year."
Leading the list of key returnees is senior forward Sam Edwards, an Ohio State recruit who had 19 goals and 18 assists last year and was named OCC-Central and district Player of the Year, first-team all-state and captain of ThisWeek's Super 12 team.
Other key returnees include Stratton, a Lehigh University recruit who was first-team all-league and second-team all-district a year ago, and senior midfielder/forward Brynn Schlemitz, an Ohio State recruit who was honorable mention all-league.
"I'm really excited for this season," Schlemitz said. "We have a lot of talent and we've been working hard from conditioning week to now to two-a-days."
The other returning starters are seniors Jena Phillips (midfielder), Jesse Schaefer (defender), Kaeli Tuinstra (midfielder) and Griffin Tullis (midfielder), junior Allison Johnston (forward) and sophomore Sophia Bingaman (defender).
Schaefer is a St. John's University recruit who was second-team all-league a year ago. Phillips missed most of last season with a knee injury.
Junior Morgan Witchey and sophomore Christine Szabo are competing to replace 2013 graduate Quynh Vo at goalkeeper.
Other returnees are juniors Bailey Borland (defender), Courtney Dille (defender) and Ellie Hackett (midfielder) and sophomore Hannah Lehmkuhl (forward).
Also on the team are juniors Megan Price (forward) and Bailey Whitlow (for-ward/midfielder), sophomore Sophie Vander Stoep (midfielder) and freshman Ayla Whitman (forward).
Celtics aiming for another OCC title
Jerome will be looking for its third consecutive OCC-Cardinal title and another strong postseason run under a new coach.
Neal Shaffer has taken over the coaching duties from Josh Brader, who resigned after two seasons. Brader guided the Celtics to a 36-4-4 record, two league titles and, in 2011, a berth in the Division I state final, where they lost to Strongsville 1-0.
Last season, Jerome finished 16-2-3 overall, 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal and reached a regional final, where it lost to Pickerington North 1-0. The Celtics beat Worthington Kilbourne 7-0 in a district final and defeated Hilliard Davidson 2-0 in a regional semifinal before falling to North.
Shaffer, 36, was an assistant men's coach at Ohio Wesleyan in 2011 when the Battling Bishops won the Division III national title. He previously was an assistant girls coach at Marysville and remains a coach at the club level.
Jerome, which opened Aug. 20 against Watterson, returns nine players from a year ago, including senior Christy Chou, who was first-team all-league and second-team all-district last year and could see playing time as a defender, midfielder or forward.
Also back are seniors Andrea Davidson (forward), Jillian Graf (defender), Marissa Martin (defender/midfielder/forward), Anna Poptic (midfielder) and Tara Williams (forward), juniors Madison Costner (forward) and Keemia Rashidi (defen-der/midfielder) and sophomore Sydney Harris (defender/midfielder).
"I'm pretty excited for the season," Martin said. "It's going to be a good season. I hope we do well and win all our games."
Junior goalies Maddy Ireton and Allie Eynon are vying for the starting job.
Also on the team are senior Alli Sobotka (forward), juniors Hannah Bertison (midfiel-der/defender), Katie Burke (forward/midfielder) and Emma Gonzalez (midfielder/forward), sophomores Sabine Chandler (midfielder/defender/forward), Annika Fowler (midfiel-der/defender) and Kenna Poptic (midfielder/defender) and freshmen Erin Griffith (forward), Ryann Harris (defen-der/midfielder) and Mya Howard (defender).
"We have a lot of experienced players who are very gifted technically, tactically and physically and who will be playing more than one position this year as we develop throughout the season," Shaffer said. "Every one of these girls has the ability on the field and in the classroom to move on to the next level."
Marker expected to lead way for Irish
Senior midfielder Maddie Marker, who was honorable mention all-OCC-Cardinal last year, is among the key returnees for Scioto.
Also back are seniors Jenna Best (defender), Summer Cartwright (forward), Rachel Jacoby (defender), Cori Kinder (defender) and Claudia Shealy (midfielder), juniors Quinn Blackwell (midfielder) and Lindsey Rentzsch (midfielder) and sophomores Anna Birko (forward) and Catherine Howard (midfielder).
The Irish, who open Thursday, Aug. 22, at home against Reynoldsburg, finished 10-3-4 overall and placed third in the OCC-Cardinal at 4-1-2 last season.
"I believe we're going to be better than we think we will be," Rentzsch said. "We were a little nervous losing a bunch of people and we're going to prove ourselves wrong, and I believe we can do just as well (as last season)."
Another key returnee is junior goalie Mikhaylan Price, who split time in goal last season with 2013 graduate Anna Buhigas.
Rounding out the team are senior Priyanka Pandey (midfielder) and freshmen Elizabeth Howard (midfielder), Taylor Johnson (forward), Monique LaFond (goalie/midfielder), Jessica Shirley (midfielder), Kali Steele (defender), Josie Wigg (midfielder) and Jenna Woodyard (forward).
"I still have a passion for the game. I love it," coach Chris Adams said. "The girls are always great and that's what makes the game fun, keeps me kind of young at times. I've always loved the game and the girls have always treated me well. All I can do is support them for their games and be ready.
"We have to count on our youth. There is no doubt we are definitely much younger (than last season). We're going to have a lot of close games (in which) we have to make sure that we're in for 80 minutes. If we take a minute off, it may have a major impact on us."