Grandview Heights Roundup
Girls team counting on defense
Defense is said to win championships, and that bodes well for the Grandview Heights High School girls soccer team.
The Bobcats return a wealth of talent on defense, as well as in the midfield.
"We should be a strong defensive team and return a lot of experienced players back there with six of our seniors being in their third or fourth season on varsity," coach Mike Merna said. "(Our forwards) have a combined one career varsity goal. I think there is a lot of talent in the group, but it's the one spot we are short on experience."
The Bobcats finished 11-6-2 overall last season, losing to sixth-seeded and host Ready 2-0 in a Division III district semifinal. Seeded third for the district tournament, they defeated Madison Plains 6-0 in the first round and Fairbanks 2-0 in the second round.
The Bobcats return eight starters, including seniors Lauren Jones (midfielder), Julie Menke (midfielder), Cristina Pinney (defender), Abby Riggs (goalkeeper) and Lindsey Smith (defender). Senior Anna Davis started in the back last season, but has moved to forward. Junior Laura Satterthwaite begins her third season starting in the midfield and sophomore Emily Burns also started in the midfield.
Senior Mia Bell (midfielder) and sophomores Morgan Ettrich (forward), Megan McCauley (midfielder) and Grace Palmer (defender) are returning letterwinners. Freshmen Izzy Esber (goalie), Haley Rees (midfielder) and Kira Thomas (forward) also are expected to contribute.
"With only 14 field players, depth could be an issue," said Merna, who is in his ninth season leading the program. "We're concerned about injuries because of that. But we have a pretty good group of kids to work with. I'm hopeful that things can come together this season."
Last year, the Bobcats finished fourth (4-3-1) in the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio Division behind champions Bexley, Columbus Academy and Granville (all 7-1).
Grandview opened Aug. 21 against Columbus School for Girls. The Bobcats begin league play Sept. 4 at Heath.
Boys soccer team pulls switch
Many players on the boys soccer team have a different vantage point, as coach Brian Neidenthal has adjusted his lineup to replace those lost from a team that finished 11-6-3 overall last season with a 1-0 loss to Mansfield Christian in a Division III regional semifinal.
The Bobcats won their first district title since 2000 by beating third-seeded Academy 1-0. Grandview, which was the sixth seed for the district tournament, also defeated second-seeded Tree of Life 3-2 in overtime in a semifinal and Horizon Science Academy 1-0 in the second round.
"We think that if we stay healthy we will have the opportunity to do as well as last year," said Neidenthal, who is in his 11th season leading the program. "We have a good chance to be in that situation."
Seniors Zach Clemens (midfielder) and Ben Farynowski (goalkeeper) and juniors Pat McHugh (defender) and Alex York (midfielder) have stayed in the same positions.
Senior Ben Brannan has moved from forward to midfielder and senior Joe Treasure, junior Zach Brannan and junior Sam Claypool were moved from the midfield to the defense.
Others who changed positions are sophomores Ike Dunaway (defender/goalkeeper to midfielder), Alex Haase (forward to midfielder), Avery Hanscel (midfielder to defender), Colin Jourdan (midfielder to forward) and Ryan McHugh (midfielder to forward).
"I think our team concept will be different," Neidenthal said. "We will look to spread the field more and control the ball in the midfield more. We have lot of good midfield-type of players who can pass the ball accurately and create opportunities with that passing ability."
New to the team are senior defender Jacob Wolfe, junior defender Jake Bottorf, sophomore defender Alec Gastesi and midfielder Josef Palenius, an exchange student from Sweden.
Grandview went 5-0 in the MSL-Cardinal last season to win its 12th consecutive league title, finishing ahead of Licking Heights (3-1-1), Fisher Catholic (2-2-1), Liberty Union (1-2-2) and Harvest Prep (1-4) and West Jefferson (1-4).
Football team getting set for Stars
The football team opens Friday, Aug. 24, at Centennial.
Last season, the Bobcats beat the Stars 46-19 in the opener to set the tone for the program's first unbeaten regular season since 1955 and a postseason berth.
The Stars are under the guidance of first-year coach Mark Shaffer, who had been an assistant for 22 seasons, including several at Centennial. He replaces Pat Sergio, who led the program to a 54-196 record in 25 seasons.
"They have a new head coach in about the first time in 25 years, so we have to look at their scrimmages to learn a little about them," said coach Jason Peters, whose team went 10-1 last season, losing to Ashland Crestview 45-29 in a Division V first-round playoff game. "We just need to try to get ourselves ready and avoid making the little mistakes that can hurt you, and also make sure to do the things we need to do in order to be successful."
Senior running back Payton Jones is the top returning offensive threat for Grandview after rushing for 606 yards and five touchdowns last season. He also had 12 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
"Everything stops with us (as seniors), so we have to be leaders and help out the younger kids," Jones said. "We have to push them because the better the first team is, the better that makes the second team and the team as a whole."