The Columbus Academy boys soccer team has reached a Division III regional semifinal for three consecutive seasons. Is that becoming an expected rule, not an exception?

The Columbus Academy boys soccer team has reached a Division III regional semifinal for three consecutive seasons. Is that becoming an expected rule, not an exception?

"We hope so," coach Ron Leach said. "Part of making those runs is that it does build some confidence with players on the team. They had a little bit of that experience and I'd like to continue that."

Academy finished 10-6-4 overall last season after losing to Worthington Christian 1-0 in a regional semifinal. It was the third consecutive season Worthington Christian beat Academy in a regional semifinal and the Warriors have gone unbeaten against the Vikings in eight meetings since 2005.

In the MSL-Ohio Division, Academy tied Lakewood for fourth at 2-3, behind Bexley (5-0), Granville (3-2) and Whitehall (3-2).

"We have seven kids returning, so there's a lot of opportunities for boys to get into the starting lineup," Leach said. "They are working hard to do that."

The seven returning letterwinners are seniors Sam Burk (defender), John Stutton (midfielder) and Roshun Sankaran (midfielder), juniors Tim Eldridge (forward), Elbert Foo (defender) and Matt Tamarkin (forward) and sophomore John Michael Long (defender).

Among Academy's six graduates, four were starters on defense. Leach moved Burk and Foo, both strikers last season, to the backfield, and slid Sankaran from midfield to center back. Academy will call on sophomore Thomas Nolan to start at goalkeeper.

"Sam, Elbert and Roshun are at different positions," Leach said. "They have solid experience, they're just in a new role. The two centerbacks we had last year in (Clay) Hoster and (Gebby) Keny were amazing. You have to build out of the back."

Offensively, Eldridge is Academy's top returning leading scorer with five goals and seven assists last season. The Vikings averaged 2.8 goals a game.

"We got some other nice attacking players and they just have to grow into their varsity role," Leach said. "It'll take a little bit of time before this team jells together. So far I'm pleased.

"They've put forth a very good effort and the boys are pretty focused on trying to be successful."

•The girls soccer team is coming off its best season in the program's seven-year history. Academy finished 12-6 overall after losing to Jonathan Alder 5-1 in the third round of the Division II district tournament. In the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio, Academy finished fourth at 3-3, behind Bexley (6-0), Granville (5-1) and Grandview (4-2).

It turned out to be coach Kyle Tong's final season. Tong, who served as the only coach for Academy girls soccer, decided to retire.

Kelly Snead has taken over after coaching Academy's middle school level last season. "It was a combined co-ed team," she said. "It was the first time they had that. When the varsity position opened, I decided to apply."

Snead is from Tulsa, Okla., where she graduated from Tulsa Edison High School in 1996 before attending Texas Tech. After redshirting her first year, Snead started four years and tied for 10th on the team's all-time list for career assists.

"I want to give the girls knowledge of the game," Snead said. "The girls this age don't have that and if they want to play at the next level, I want to be able to prepare them for college. I also want them to love the game, play it forever and get their kids into it."

Academy, which graduated two players, returns key players in junior center midfielders Logan Berlet and Erin Simmons, junior forward Alisha Ho and junior goalkeeper Maggie McGuire.

"Erin and Logan will be our playmakers," Snead said. "They'll control the whole flow of our offense and defense. Then, Alisha is super speedy and it's good to see her up top. The midfielders will play up to Alisha to attack."

From there, Academy will rely on younger players to round out the team. Snead has yet to determine a set lineup.

"We have some freshmen coming off the bench and a few may start," Snead said. "We'll surprise some people because we have some good, solid freshmen coming into the program.

"We have leadership and positive thinking from all the girls. This is a close group and it'll help us in the long run."

Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 26 — vs. Johnstown

Aug. 28 — at Tree of Life

Aug. 31 — at Wellington

Sept. 4 — vs. Hartley

*Sept. 7 — at Grandview

Sept. 11 — vs. Cincinnati Mariemont

Sept. 14 — vs. Canal Winchester

*Sept. 16 — at Heath

*Sept. 21 — vs. Whitehall

Sept. 25 — at Worthington Christian

*Sept. 28 — vs. Licking Valley

*Sept. 30 — vs. Granville

Oct. 5 — at Jonathan Alder

*Oct. 7 — at Lakewood

Oct. 9 — vs. Big Walnut

*Oct. 12 — at Bexley

*MSL-Ohio game

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 25 — at Centennial

Aug. 28 — vs. Tree of Life

Aug. 31 — vs. Bloom-Carroll

*Sept. 2 — at Fisher Catholic

*Sept. 7 — vs. Lakewood

*Sept. 14 — at Bexley

Sept. 16 — vs. Columbus School for Girls

Sept. 21 — vs. Wellington

*Sept. 23 — vs. Heath

Sept. 25 — at Jonathan Alder

*Sept. 30 — at Granville

Oct. 5 — at Worthington Christian

*Oct. 7 — at West Jefferson

Oct. 9 — at Amanda Clearcreek

Oct. 12 — at Liberty Union

*Oct. 14 — vs. Grandview

*MSL-Cardinal/Ohio game

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. 12 — Finished 14th (349) at 14-team Fairfield Federal Invitational behind champion Pickerington North (304)

Aug. 14 — Finished 15th (170) at 18-team Sycamore Invitational behind champion Dublin Jerome (149). Shabaz Kahn (40), Max Berk (41), Eric Eschliman (42) and Benji Hoagland (47) competed.

Aug. 16 — Finished 12th (357) at 14-team Kettering Alter Invitational behind champion Kettering Alter (301)

Aug. 17 — Finished fourth (343) at eight-team MSL-Ohio Preseason Tournament behind champion Granville (322). Eschliman (82), Kahn (82), Berk (86), Neel Koyawala (93) competed.

Last Friday — Finished 22nd (365) at 26-team New Albany Invitational behind champion Dublin Jerome (300)

Last Monday — Competed at Columbus Academy Shootout

Today — Newark Catholic at Columbus Country Club

Tuesday — Heath at Columbus Country Club

BOYS SOCCER

Today — Home vs. Johnstown in opener

Saturday — At Tree of Life

Tuesday — At Wellington

CROSS COUNTRY

Saturday — Newark Catholic Invitational in opener

FIELD HOCKEY

Tuesday — At Dublin Scioto in opener

FOOTBALL

Friday — At Northridge in opener

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Wednesday — Played Centennial in opener

Saturday — Home vs. Tree of Life

Tuesday — Home vs. Bloom-Carroll

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 16 — Lost to Toledo Ottawa Hills 3-2 in opener

Aug. 18 — Lost to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame 3-2; lost to Cincinnati Indian Hill 3-2

Last Friday — Lost to Cincinnati Sycamore 3-2

Last Tuesday — Played Lexington

Last Wednesday — Played DeSales

Tuesday — Home vs. Wellington

VOLLEYBALL

*Tuesday — At Whitehall in opener

*MSL-Ohio contest