The Dublin Scioto High School field hockey team went winless last season, but first-year coach Hannah Coughlin couldn't be happier to be back with the program.
Coughlin, a 2007 Scioto graduate who played at Ohio Wesleyan University, was hired to replace Jason Perlman, who resigned at the conclusion of his fifth season.
The Irish finished 0-15 overall last year. They went 0-7 in the eight-team Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division to finish last, behind champion Thomas Worthington (7-0).
"Ever since I went off to play in college, my goal has been to come back to Dublin to coach and teach in the district, so this has always been my dream job," Coughlin said. "It's a great experience to be a part of the Scioto field hockey team again because we have a bunch of hard-working players who are receptive to instruction."
The Irish opened Aug. 18 with a 6-0 loss to Columbus School for Girls. They begin league play Thursday, Aug. 28, at home against Thomas.
Scioto returns seven players who started or saw significant playing time last season in seniors Shivangi Bhardwaj (defender), Emily King (attacker) and Nikki McFadden (midfielder), juniors Kayleigh Bowen (defender) and Sarah Mitchell (goalkeeper) and sophomores Julia Kovach (defender) and McKenzie Lomax (midfielder).
Completing the roster are seniors Allyson Ginn (attacker), Liliana Rubio (defender) and Sami Vazquez (attacker), juniors Reeya Desaj (attacker), Reagan Lutz (attacker) and Reyna Rodriguez (defender), sophomores Laurel Herr (attacker), Jennifer Higuera (defender) and Alexis Kennedy (midfielder) and freshmen Kennedie Lomax (midfielder) and Kerin Reyes (defender).
"We have a team full of girls who are willing to try anything," Coughlin said. "They work hard day in and day out and make my job as a coach very easy. These girls recognize that we are a team that has lots of young talent and is in the process of rebuilding from the ground up. Their willingness to learn is refreshing to see in high school athletes, and they soak up everything that the coaches say like sponges."
Celtics hoping to 'fill holes' in lineup
Jerome has returned only one starter from last season, when it finished 12-6 overall and 3-4 (fifth) in the COFHL-West.
Junior defender McKenna Russell is the lone returning starter, but seniors Danielle Baiocchi (midfielder) and Madison Redd (forward), juniors Kailee King (midfielder) and Claire Koontz (defender) and sophomores Grace Cochran (forward) and Claire Prenger (goalie) all saw extensive playing time a year ago.
Cochran had four goals and four assists a year ago and King and Redd each scored one goal.
Jerome opened Aug. 25, tying Olentangy Orange at 1 in a league game.
"This year's team is very young in regards to varsity experience," 11th-year coach Colleen Bender said. "Claire Prenger saw some varsity action last season, and she has really stepped up this season and played with confidence. We have ... a lot of holes to fill from the talent we lost to graduation. We have some other girls that we feel can be good contributors. We are working on fine-tuning the basics and getting the girls used to (their) positions on the field."
Completing the roster are seniors Sushmitha Boppana (defender), Celina Fojas (midfielder) and Shannon McTighe (midfielder), juniors Angela Jernigan (defender), Morgan Monaghan (defender) and Rachel Rhodes (midfielder), sophomores Erica Evans (attacker), Cameron Finnegan (attacker), Rylee Henley (attacker) and Olivia Marina (defender) and freshman Allison Smith (midfielder).
"This team, although young, has the potential to be become difference-makers in games if we can stay consistent and strong in each game," Bender said.
"We need to communicate on the field from start to finish and make smart decisions with every possession."
Shamrocks return four starters
Coffman has returned four starters from last season, when it finished 11-6 overall and went 5-2 in the COFHL-West to place third behind Thomas and Olentangy Liberty (5-1-1).
Those returnees are senior goalie Emily Goliver, senior midfielder Abbey Willette, junior midfielder Dana Pajk and sophomore midfielder Shannon Aumiller.
The Shamrocks beat Olentangy 1-0 on Aug. 18 in their season and league opener behind a goal by Willette. They improved to 2-0 overall with a 2-1 overtime win over Worthington Kilbourne on Aug. 25.
"Our league continues to be led by the same or similar teams year after year and we schedule summer and preseason scrimmages with the top teams to prepare ourselves for the best teams," fifth-year coach Caren Leslie said.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Sarah DeSalvio (attacker), Emily Miller (defender), Claire Mills (goalie), Megan Paolini (defender) and Brooke Zavesky (attacker), juniors Daniela Dluzynski (midfielder), Sarah Groce (midfielder), Mackenzie King (attacker), Samantha Knepple (midfielder), Brooke Morman (defender), Gillian Pace (attacker) and Lucie Paradis (defender) and sophomore Annie Gerhart (defender).
"The 2014 roster brings a wide range of playing experience," Leslie said. "There are girls on the team that have played seven-plus years and ones that are only in their third year. All of the girls work hard and want to win and beat the teams we haven't been able to beat in years past. They aren't looking for excuses. They just want to work hard each day and get stronger every practice and game.
"We are working hard to be more successful in the offense circle.
"Our attack players worked hard during the summer and at camp to gain and keep possession of the ball and score more goals."
*Aug. 18 -- vs. Olentangy
Aug. 25 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 3 -- at Scioto
Sept. 8 -- at Columbus Academy
*Sept. 10 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 15 -- vs. Upper Arlington
*Sept. 17 -- vs. Jerome
Sept. 20 -- at Dayton Oakwood
Sept. 22 -- vs. CSG
*Sept. 25 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 29 -- vs. Lancaster
*Sept. 30 -- at Olentangy Liberty
Oct. 2 -- vs. Hartley
Oct. 6 -- vs. New Albany
Oct. 8 -- at Bexley
*Aug. 25 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*Aug. 27 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 3 -- at Olentangy
Sept. 4 -- at Columbus Academy
*Sept. 8 -- vs. Scioto
Sept. 10 -- vs. Hilliard club
Sept. 15 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 17 -- at Coffman
*Sept. 22 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 24 -- vs. Lancaster
Sept. 25 -- at Granville
Sept. 27 -- at Bexley
Oct. 1 -- vs. CSG
*Oct. 6 -- at Upper Arlington
Oct. 8 -- at Hartley
Oct. 9 -- vs. New Albany
Aug. 18 -- at CSG
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 3 -- vs. Coffman
*Sept. 8 -- at Jerome
*Sept. 11 -- at Olentangy
*Sept. 15 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 17 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 18 -- at Upper Arlington
*Sept. 22 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 27 -- vs. Cincinnati Ursuline Academy
Oct. 1 -- at Hartley
Oct. 6 -- vs. Lancaster