With seven starters back, 12th-year Grandview Heights High School boys soccer coach Brian Neidenthal is excited about his team's athleticism.
The Bobcats finished 15-2-2 overall last season, reaching a Division III district final before losing to Columbus Academy 2-1. They won their 13th consecutive league title by going 5-0 in the MSL-Cardinal Division to finish ahead of runner-up Licking Heights (3-1-1).
The returning starters are seniors Zach Brannan (defender/midfielder), Sam Claypool (midfielder; 12 goals) and Pat McHugh (defender; 3 goals) and juniors Ike Dunaway (midfielder; 5 goals), Alex Haase (midfielder), Avery Hanscel (defender) and Ryan McHugh (forward; 7 goals).
"We are more athletic and balanced than a year ago," said Neidenthal, whose team opened with a 5-1 victory over Gahanna Christian on Aug. 17. "We are building on the things we were doing last year."
Also back are senior goalkeeper Josh Keller, senior defender Alex York, junior defender Alec Gastesi, junior forward Colin Jourdan and sophomore midfielder Callum McNamara.
Other seniors are Jake Bottorf (defender) and Adam Hale (forward).
Rounding out the roster are juniors Willis Day (midfielder), Spencer Hawk (midfielder), Dom Milano (forward), Daniel Picazo (midfielder), Tristen Rose (defender) and Jack Sterneker (defender), sophomores Ross Carter (defender), Colin Elliott (midfielder) and Jannick Hiltrop (goalie) and freshmen Breon Backus (forward), Peter Beals (midfielder), Ben Bussey (defender), Alan Field (defen-der), Kaleb Orr (forward), Atom Slaughter (midfielder), Zyg Stafa (midfielder) and Everett Stamm (goalie).
"We need to improve on creating a consistent ability to apply pressure on the opponent's back line and goal," Neidenthal said.
The Bobcats play home games against Hartley on Thursday, Aug. 22, and Watterson on Tuesday, Aug. 27, before beginning league play Aug. 29 at Worthington Christian.
Grandview has moved to the MSL-Ohio, where it will compete against Academy, Bexley, Grove City Christian, London, West Jefferson, Whitehall and Worthington Christian.
Girls soccer team wins opener
The girls soccer team, which had 16 shutouts last season, recorded its first of 2013 in the opener, defeating Logan Elm 6-0 on Aug. 17.
Junior midfielder Emily Burns, junior forward Morgan Ettrich, sophomore forward Kira Thomas, freshman defender Riley Henningsen, freshman midfielder Molly Smith and freshman defender Lizzy Van Deusen all scored.
Sophomore goalie Izzy Esber had four saves. She has replaced 2013 graduate Abby Riggs, a four-year letterwinner who was second-team all-district a year ago.
Grandview returns five starters from last year's team, which finished 15-3-2 overall after losing to Ready 1-0 in a Division III district final. The Bobcats finished third (6-1-2) in the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio behind Granville (8-0-1) and Bexley (7-0-2).
Senior Laura Satterthwaite (6 goals, 1 assist) returns as a starting defender. The other returning starters are Burns (6 goals, 4 assists), Ettrich (11 goals, 3 assists), junior midfielder Megan McCauley and junior defender Grace Palmer (second-team all-league).
Thomas had seven goals and six assists last season, and sophomore midfielder Haley Rees had seven goals and two assists.
"There are a lot of unknowns with so many new players," said coach Mark Merna, who is in his 10th season. "We lost eight (to graduation) and all contributed a lot over their careers, including defender Cristina Pinney, who was first-team all-state and all-district, and that's difficult to replace."
Also on the team are seniors Tenley Aufdencamp (defender) and Gabby Romero-Rose (defender), juniors Lily Amurgis (defender), Katie Flanagan (midfielder), Alexis Lower (defender) and Jessica Umbarger (forward), sophomore Maria Murphy (midfielder) and freshmen Maria Claypool (midfielder) and Paige Crabill (defender).
"Our lack of experience is the biggest concern," Merna said. "I guess we'll find out soon how we'll play down the stretch in tight games. This team might be really good. It could be an interesting season if we stay healthy."
The Bobcats have moved to the MSL-Ohio, where they will compete against Academy, Bexley, London, Madison Plains, West Jefferson and Worthington Christian. Their league opener is Aug. 29 at home against Worthington Christian.
Golf team finishes fifth in league event
The boys golf team finished fifth (370) in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 13 at Darby Creek, behind Academy (315), Bexley (317), Worthington Christian (329) and London (344) and ahead of Madison Plains (416) and West Jefferson (423).
Senior Ben McCullough led Grandview with an 84, followed by senior A.J. Pinyerd (90) and sophomore Tom Damschroder (95).
Grandview opens MSL-Ohio match play Thursday, Aug. 22, against Madison Plains at Locust Hills.
Tennis team drops first two matches
The girls tennis team lost its opener Aug. 14 to Hartley 3-2 before losing 4-1 to Grove City on Aug. 15.
Against Hartley, junior Ellie MacLeod won at second singles, and the doubles team of seniors Sierra Dobbs-Brown and Cathleen Gleason won at first doubles. Senior first-singles player Kiley Kinnard won against Grove City.