Team-first approach key for boys soccer team
One of the primary questions that Ready High School boys soccer coach Sam Sunseri needed to answer during the preseason was who replace 2012 graduate Matt Feldkamp at goalkeeper.
After scanning through his options, Sunseri asked senior Nick Ackison if he'd like to use his 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame to take over the role.
A former football player who is new to the program, Ackison agreed to give the key position a shot this fall. His willingness to do what was necessary to help the team is an example of why Sunseri believes the Silver Knights can improve on last season, when they finished 6-10-2 overall.
"This group is going to actually listen," said Sunseri, who is in his third season leading the program. "I have a bunch of guys wanting to listen, and that's a big thing. We're still young and the seniors we do have don't have that experience, but our junior class is really good. If they stay together, we should be all right."
Ready opened with a 1-all tie against Central Crossing on Aug. 21 as Ackison had four saves and junior midfielder Payne VanTilburg scored. The Silver Knights lost to Hamilton Township 7-0 on Aug. 28 but bounced back to defeat Liberty Union 1-0 on Aug. 30 as Ackison had five saves and senior forward Tyler Eggers scored.
Other key players are seniors Nick Berner (midfielder), Jimmy Hanley (midfielder), Eric Knapke (defender), Scott Knapke (defender), Daniel Perry (defender), Jose Polanco (midfielder) and Isaiah Sylvia (midfielder) and juniors Dalton Scott (defender) and Chris Wiser (midfielder).
Ready opens the CCL on Thursday, Sept. 6, at home against DeSales. Last season, the Silver Knights went 0-4 in the CCL to finish behind St. Charles (3-1), DeSales (2-1-1), Watterson (2-1-1) and Hartley (1-1-2).
Ready lost to eighth-seeded Granville Christian 3-2 in the first round of the Division III district tournament last fall.
Football coach happy with start to season
Having an unselfish attitude has been helping the football team, according to first-year coach Joel Cutler.
During an opening 34-20 victory over Newark Catholic on Aug. 25, running back Akili Taylor rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns, Doug Strickler had a 10-yard touchdown run and Kelly Culbertson scored on a 31-yard pass from quarterback Matt Yoho.
Offensive linemen Brady Taylor and Luke Hackney were among the other standouts, Cutler said.
Ready, which improved to 2-0 with a 49-14 win over Fredericktown on Aug. 31 at Franklin Heights, travels Friday, Sept. 7, to Briggs.
"The linemen do not get a lot of love or press, but Brady Taylor went both ways (in the opener), made some big tackles on defense and had some key blocks," Cutler said. "Luke Hackney is a senior and had some key blocks to spring Akili Taylor.
"Akili can take it the distance. He's the strongest kid in our program and he can block. He asked me (during a recent practice), 'How was my blocking?' He wants to know what he can do better."
Briggs has a new coach in Butler B'ynote', a former Ohio State player who is heading a program for the first time.
The Bruins, who opened with a 48-15 loss to Bellville Clear Fork on Aug. 24 and lost to Franklin Heights 26-7 on Aug. 31, last played Ready in 2002. That season, the Silver Knights won 30-14 on the way to the Division V playoff berth and the Bruins finished 2-8.
Cross country teams are 'real enthusiastic'
The girls cross country team returned just two of its top seven runners from a year ago when it won its second consecutive CCL title and advanced to the Division II regional meet.
Sophomore Courtney Bair, who was 79th in 22 minutes, 25.87 seconds at the regional last season as Ready finished 12th (274) of 16 teams behind champion Chillicothe Zane Trace (69), is the top returnee. Also back is junior Maddy Bowen, who finished 87th (22:36.91) at regional.
Other key runners for the girls team are junior Allie Schroeder and freshmen Kathleen Colvin and Emily Genders.
"It's a fun group, real enthusiastic," said coach Dean Tower, who is in his 30th season leading the program. "I think it's going to be a good year."
The boys team is led by senior Billy Platter and sophomores Cody Platter, Andrew Duncan, Mark Gnatowski and Mark Vatter.
Last season, the girls team scored 42 points to win the CCL, beating runner-up Columbus School for Girls (42) on the sixth-runner tiebreaker. Watterson (74) was third, followed by Hartley (93) and DeSales (102). The Silver Knights were led by 2012 graduate Nicole Brown, who placed fourth (21:48.13).
Ready finished fourth (143) at district behind champion Granville (61).
The boys team finished last (135) in the CCL meet last year behind St. Charles (25), DeSales (49), Watterson (57) and Hartley (128). Billy Platter led the Silver Knights, finishing 19th (20:05.6).
In the Division III, district 1 meet, Ready did not score as Billy Platter placed 34th (19:42.79).
The boys and girls teams will compete in the McGowan Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Watkins Memorial.
Girls tennis team looking to improve
The girls tennis team opened CCL play Aug. 28 with a 5-0 loss to CSG.
The top returnees are seniors Michelle Vatter and Ashley Ritter, who are playing first and second singles, respectively.
Also expected to contribute are seniors Haylee Cuccio, Brigid Cullivan and Becca Mann, sophomore Mallory Green and freshmen Dawn Ritter and Leah Ruth.
Ready was 0-6 overall before playing a league match Sept. 4 against Watterson. The Silver Knights opened Aug. 17 with a 5-0 loss to Worthington Christian and also lost to Jonathan Alder (3-2 on Aug. 20), Canal Winchester (4-1 on Aug. 21), Grandview (5-0 on Aug. 22) and Grove City (5-0 on Aug. 30).
"I just want them to try their best and build up their confidence," sixth-year coach Jen Donaldson said. "They're showing improvement from game to game."