Gahanna girls ousted in opener
Much like its season, things didn't go as planned for the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls soccer team in its Division I district tournament opener.
Playing at 11th-seeded New Albany on Oct. 18 in a second-round game, the Lions trailed by a goal at halftime and failed on their best opportunity in the second half of a 2-0 loss.
Gahanna, which was seeded 16th in the tournament after winning its first district championship a year ago, finished 6-9-1.
"We started out our season decent, but three of us got hurt in the span of one week and that really hurt us," senior Kari Weinland said. "We struggled to generate any offense and get into a rhythm."
Weinland and classmates Maddie Marquez and Taylor Kulow were the players who suffered midseason injuries.
Weinland, who has verbally committed to play for Louisville, had a shot on goal with 29 minutes, 55 seconds to go against New Albany. The Lions also had opportunities during the final 15 minutes but couldn't turn any into scores.
"In the second half we put a lot of pressure on them," coach Jason Hardin said. "We're graduating 10 seniors, so it's going to be a young team next year."
Gahanna was shut out eight times this season, including in seven of its final 10 games.
Senior Maggie Mayo, who has verbally committed to Duquesne and missed action at the beginning of the season, was the leading scorer with 12 goals and two assists.
Weinland finished with seven goals and eight assists and Megan Barrick, who has verbally committed to Cleveland State, had three goals and four assists.
Other key seniors included Kathleen Carley, Abby Hersey, Rachael Justice and Sarah Sculley.
Juniors Mary Kate Munz and Sara Richards and freshman Remi Eades should be among the top returnees next season. Eades had four goals and six assists and Munz added three goals and one assist.
In addition to losing a 10-member senior class, Hardin will be stepping down after leading the program for five seasons.
The Lions won their first outright league championship a year ago but settled for third in the OCC-Ohio Division this season at 5-2 behind Pickerington North (7-0) and Grove City (5-1-1) and ahead of Pickerington Central (4-3), Reynoldsburg (3-3-1), Lancaster (1-5-1), Groveport (1-6) and Newark (0-6-1).
"Mary Kate Munz is going to be the leader on the team and there were some girls that played in the back, so there will be a lot of kids back for whoever is the coach," said Hardin, whose wife is pregnant with their third child.