Defense has been a surprising ingredient in the success of the Grandview Heights High School girls soccer team.
After graduating most of its back line, the Bobcats have excelled at limiting opponents' chances, surrendering only two goals through the first 11 games. Sophomore Izzy Esber entered the week with nine shutouts in her first season as the starting goalkeeper.
"That's really been a surprise for us because we graduated so much on defense," said coach Mike Merna, whose team was 9-1-1 overall before playing Fairbanks on Sept. 24. "We've been able to keep the ball more on the offensive side and we've been good when the ball does reach the back."
The Bobcats lost to Worthington Christian 1-0 on Aug. 29 in their MSL-Ohio Division opener, and they also gave up a goal Sept. 5 in an 8-1 league win over Madison Plains.
Grandview played Whetstone to a scoreless tie Sept. 14.
"We have been struggling offensively since one of our forwards, junior Morgan Ettrich, suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the (8-1) win over (Columbus School for Girls on Sept. 7)," Merna said. "That's had a big impact because she (had four goals in five games and) created so much energy for us, and we did a lot around her. But we (just) had a week off (from games) to practice and work on a couple of new things."
The Bobcats defeated Circleville 1-0 on Sept. 17 as sophomore forward Kira Thomas scored and Esber had two saves.
Grandview is 2-1 in the MSL-Ohio entering a league game Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Columbus Academy. The Bobcats have not defeated Academy since 2009 when they won 1-0.
Last season, the teams played to a scoreless tie. The Vikings won 6-1 in 2011 and 6-2 in 2010.
"(The Vikings) are going be really good," Merna said. "They are always tough to play at their place, which is on a small grass field instead of a bigger turf field. We'll have to be good that day.
"They have good players and their midfield is really strong. They always have good technical skills."
Golf team finishes fifth in MSL-Ohio
The boys golf team placed fifth in the MSL-Ohio tournament Sept. 17 at Darby Creek.
The Bobcats shot 370 to finish behind Academy (316), Worthington Christian (339), London (340) and Bexley (345) and ahead of Madison Plains (400) and West Jefferson (409).
"I thought we ended up about where I thought we would, though I would have liked to have shot better," coach Kevin Richards said. "I would have liked to have seen us around 360."
Junior Ben McCullough shot an 87 to lead Grandview, followed by senior A.J. Pinyerd (94), sophomore Jake Bush (94), senior Jacob Hamilton (95), senior Keenan Burson (96) and sophomore Tommy Damschroder (107).
McCullough was second-team all-league and Bush was honorable mention.
Grandview played Sept. 24 in a Division III sectional at Darby Creek. The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Wednesday, Oct. 2, at River Greens.
Football team renews rivalry with Academy
The football team is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the MSL-Ohio entering its game Friday, Sept. 27, at Academy.
The Vikings improved to 2-2 overall by defeating London 30-18 on Sept. 20 in their MSL-Ohio opener. Senior Lee Solomon (RB/LB) ran for two touchdowns and returned an interception 30 yards for a score, and senior running back Bryce Bailey rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Grandview has not played Academy since 2002, when Academy won 49-7, but the teams played regularly as far back as 1915. The Vikings hold a 25-23 advantage in the series.
From 1976-90, the teams played every season. The last win for the Bobcats was 18-16 in 1988.
The teams also played from 1933-47, but did not play for 29 years after Grandview won 66-0 in 1947. They also played twice in 1915 (24-3 and 39-0 Grandview wins), 1916 (6-0 and 21-3 Grandview wins), 1919 (13-0 and 7-0 Academy wins) and 1920 (7-6 and 21-0 Grandview wins).
They didn't play in 1918 after the season was canceled because of a nationwide Spanish flu pandemic.
On Sept. 20, the Bobcats opened MSL-Ohio play by losing to Bexley 48-12 as the Lions improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2006.
Freshman running back Jordan Beight ran for 40 yards on 22 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown. Senior running back Phil Readey scored on a 4-yard run.
MSL-Ohio girls tennis tourney rescheduled
The girls tennis team will play in the MSL-Ohio tournament Saturday, Sept. 28, at Academy.
The event was postponed Sept. 21 because of bad weather.
Grandview also will participate in a Division II sectional Oct. 3 and 5 at CSG. Senior first-singles player Kiley Kinnard is seeded third behind top-seeded Aashika Katapadi of Wellington and Charlotte Purnode of Granville.
The Bobcats finished their MSL-Ohio dual schedule at 2-3 (11 points) after defeating Whitehall 5-0 on Sept. 17. Kinnard, senior Ellie MacLeod and junior Emily Lolli won singles matches. Seniors Sierra Dobbs-Brown and Cathleen Gleason won at first doubles and seniors Brooke Berning and Hannah Jones won at second doubles.
Boys soccer team defeats Tree of Life
The boys soccer team is 9-1 overall and 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio entering a home game Thursday, Sept. 26, against Grove City Christian.
Junior forward Ryan McHugh scored twice as the Bobcats defeated Tree of Life 5-0 on Sept. 19. Senior defender Pat McHugh, junior midfielder Spencer Hawk and junior forward Colin Jourdan all scored one goal and senior goalie Josh Keller had five saves.
Volleyball team defeats Whitehall
The girls volleyball team was 2-7 overall and 2-5 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Madison Plains on Sept. 18.
The Bobcats lost to Bexley 25-23, 9-25, 25-23, 21-25, 16-14 on Sept. 17 in league play, but rebounded a day later to defeat league-foe Whitehall 25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20.
"Our setters (junior) Morgan Taylor and (sophomore) Libby Jump did a great job for us against Whitehall," coach Ed Hine said "And (junior libero) Emma Bulla was a defensive standout for us."