Senior midfielder Gebby Keny is not wasting time feeling sorry for himself or his team even though the Columbus Academy boys soccer team lost 14 players to graduation, including nine starters.

Senior midfielder Gebby Keny is not wasting time feeling sorry for himself or his team even though the Columbus Academy boys soccer team lost 14 players to graduation, including nine starters.

Instead, the Vikings' co-captain is visualizing an even better future.

"We can't sell ourselves short," Keny said. "We are really going to have to keep a positive mental attitude. I look forward to this season and I have faith in the new guys."

Keny is one of three returning starters along with senior center back Clay Hoster and senior midfielder Andrew Martin.

"The younger players are stepping up and seizing some opportunities," coach Ron Leach said. "They're playing well and making up for a lot of the maturity and skill level of last year's senior class."

Among those 14 players were midfielder David Gantos and striker Peter Paras. Both were first-team all-league and first-team all-district selections. Paras led the team with 17 goals and nine assists and Gantos had four goals and a team-high 11 assists.

Academy finished 14-3-2 overall and won the MSL-Ohio Division at 4-0-1 ahead of Bexley at 3-0-2, Granville at 3-1-1, Whitehall at 2-3 and Heath and Lakewood at 0-4-1.

For the second consecutive season, the Vikings' season ended at the hands of Worthington Christian in a Division III regional semifinal. The Warriors beat Academy 1-0. The Vikings have lost four consecutive meetings to Worthington Christian. The last Academy win over the Warriors came in 2004.

Keny scored five goals and had seven assists last season. That's obviously not enough to replace the offensive output left by Gantos and Paras. So, he'll get some help.

"He'll have a dual role," Leach said. "As we develop and find out the strengths of the team and how the players are adjusting, Gebby wouldn't automatically assume an offensive role."

Newcomers to the varsity lineup include seniors John Edgar and Nathaniel Sutton and sophomore Tim Eldridge who are expected to see time at striker. In the midfield, Leach likes junior John Sutton and sophomore Roshun Sankaran and in the backfield will be juniors Sam Burk and John Hendrix and freshman John Michael Long.

"We've been surprised by a lot of players," Keny said. "A couple of guys coming in we knew who were coming in embraced the sport. They've all shown an enthusiasm we haven't seen in recent years. The enthusiasm alone is promising."

•The girls soccer team is coming off its first winning season in the program's five-year history. After a loss to Amanda-Clearcreek 2-1 in the first round of the Division II district tournament, the Vikings finished 8-7 overall.

In the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio, Academy finished fifth at 3-4 behind champion Bexley at 7-0.

"We're a fairly young team this year, but it's experienced," coach Kyle Tong said. "The vast majority of our players this year have at least a year of varsity under their belts. Hopefully, they can carry that maturity and experience with them."

Senior captains Rachel Ellman and Michelle Knopp lead the group of returning players. Both started the last three seasons for the Vikings. Also, sophomores Logan Berlet and Erin Simmons are back to anchor the center of the Vikings' attack. Simmons was named first-team all-conference and honorable-mention all-district and Berlet was second-team all-league.

"Erin and Logan can be dangerous goal scorers and distributors of the ball," Tong said. "We have good team speed. We have some who are quick to the ball, but can also create space for themselves."

In the preseason, Tong has made sure to harness that speed and instead focus on playing a possession game. Last season's team featured eight freshmen and five sophomores.

"For a lot of these players, their first year of playing varsity was learning the pace," Tong said. "Having done that last year it will certainly benefit them as they continue to gain experience again this year."


Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 25 -- vs. Johnstown Aug. 29 -- vs. Tree of Life Sept. 1 -- vs. Wellington Sept. 5 -- at Hartley Sept. 8 -- vs. Grandview Sept. 12 -- at Cincinnati Mariemont Sept. 15 -- at Canal Winchester Sept. 17 -- vs. Heath Sept. 24 -- at Whitehall Sept. 26 -- vs. Worthington Chris-tian Oct. 1 -- at Granville Oct. 6 -- vs. Jonathan Alder Oct. 8 -- vs. Lakewood Oct. 10 -- at Big Walnut Oct. 15 -- vs. Bexley Oct. 17 -- at West Muskingum

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 25 -- vs. Centennial Aug. 27 -- vs. Amanda-Clearcreek Sept. 3 -- vs. Fisher Catholic Sept. 8 -- at Wellington Sept. 10 -- at Lakewood Sept. 15 -- vs. Bexley Sept. 17 -- at Columbus School for Girls Sept. 22 -- vs. Jonathan Alder Sept. 24 -- at Heath Sept. 26 -- at Tree of Life Sept. 29 -- vs. Whetstone Oct. 1 -- vs. Granville Oct. 6 -- vs. West Jefferson Oct. 8 -- vs. Worthington Christian Oct. 13 -- vs. Liberty Union Oct. 15 -- at Grandview

At a glance

Below are recent results and coming schedules for the Academy boys golf, boys soccer, cross country, field hockey, football, girls soccer, girls tennis and volleyball teams:

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 18 -- Finished second (310) in MSL-Ohio Preseason tournament behind Granville (309). Ben Nicola tied for third with a 76. Aug. 20 -- Finished fourth (325) in Fairfield Federal Invitational won by Pickerington North (307) Last Friday -- Lost to Wellington 324-329 Last Saturday -- Finished 15th (341) in Cincinnati Sycamore Invitational behind champion St. Charles (298) Last Monday -- Competed at Columbus Academy Shootout Last Tuesday -- Competed at Dublin Invitational Saturday -- At Stonewater Golf Club at University School Invitational

BOYS SOCCER

Last Tuesday -- Played Johnstown in opener Saturday -- Home vs. Tree of Life Tuesday -- Home vs. Wellington

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Wednesday -- Competed in New Albany Classic in opener Saturday -- At Pickerington Classic Wednesday -- At Canal Winchester Invitational

FIELD HOCKEY

Wednesday -- At Olentangy in opener

FOOTBALL

Friday -- Home vs. Northridge in opener

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Tuesday -- Played Centennial in opener Today -- Home vs. Amanda-Clearcreek

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 17 -- Def. Ottawa Hills 4-1 in opener Aug. 18 -- Def. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 3-2; Lost to Rocky River Magnificat 4-1 Last Friday -- Def. Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 5-0 Last Saturday -- Def. Dayton Chaminade-Julienne 5-0; Def. Cincinnati Sycamore 4-1 Last Tuesday -- Played Wellington Today -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange Wednesday -- At New Albany

VOLLEYBALL

Saturday -- At home Kickoff Classic vs. Gahanna Christian, Tree of Life and Village Academy *Wednesday -- At Newark Catholic

*MSL-Ohio contest