First-year Gahanna Christian Academy boys soccer coach Scott Ramsey is optimistic that his team can contend for a MOCAL title this season.

First-year Gahanna Christian Academy boys soccer coach Scott Ramsey is optimistic that his team can contend for a MOCAL title this season.

Ramsey replaces Brandon McCoy, who resigned after seven seasons with the program, after serving as an assistant coach last fall.

"I'm very excited about what I see," Ramsey said. "I have good hopes. It should be a competitive league and we should end up at the top of the leader board from what I've seen in the preseason and in scrimmages."

Last season, the Eagles finished 9-7-3 overall and went 2-2-1 in the MOCAL to place fourth, behind Tree of Life (5-0), Granville Christian (3-1-1) and Delaware Christian (2-1-2) and ahead of Grove City Christian (1-4) and Madison Christian (0-5).

Tree of Life has won back-to-back MOCAL championships and six of the last eight league titles.

Gahanna Christian lost to Worthington Christian 7-0 in a Division III district semifinal last year after defeating Johnstown 1-0 in the first round and Liberty Union 2-1 in the second round.

Worthington Christian went on to win the state championship, defeating Gates Mills Hawken 2-0 in the final.

Gahanna Christian, which opened Aug. 27 against Harvest Prep and begins MOCAL play Sept. 11 at home against Grove City Christian, returns nine players, including junior midfielder Connor Maclellan and junior midfielder/forward Connor Dyckes. Both players were second-team all-league last season.

Maclellan led the Eagles with 16 goals last season and Dyckes scored seven.

Also back are junior defender Joseph Schoen, who was named honorable mention all-league last year, and sophomore goalkeeper Alec Schlesselman, who emerged as a starter last season.

"Alec got a large amount of experience last year," Ramsey said.

The other returnees are senior Patrick Thomas (forward) and juniors Jared Downing (defender), Josh Ohm (forward), Dakoda Ramsey (defender) and Micah Sauder (midfielder).

Downing, Dyckes, Ramsey, Schoen and Thomas are captains.

Also expected to be key contributors are senior defender Rachel Cochran and freshman forward Emmanuel Dapaa, who has been successful at the club level, according to coach Ramsey.

Rounding out the team are senior Felix Jefferson (defender), junior Zach Buckles (forward), sophomore Jared Haugen (defender) and freshmen Luke Fout (defender), Emma Keseg (midfielder), Makhija Minneyfield (defender), Rachel Ohm (midfielder) and Christopher Schoen (midfielder).

"We have a lot of good leadership and a lot of good youth that comes in with talent that will step out on the field already," coach Ramsey said.