The Grove City High School boys soccer team had around 50 players show up for open-field practices during the summer, a sign the program could bounce back after a one-year hiatus.

The Grove City High School boys soccer team had around 50 players show up for open-field practices during the summer, a sign the program could bounce back after a one-year hiatus.

"I was surprised with the amount of kids who came to open fields or tried out," third-year coach Jamie Dato said. "We ended up keeping 38 total players this year. The team is very young."

Even with all the bodies from which to choose, the Greyhounds return just two players with varsity experience in senior forward Byron Davis and senior midfielder Eli Monhemius. Those two are expected to fill the leadership role as well as be the Greyhounds' primary scorers.

Before the failed South-Western City Schools levy canceled sports last fall, the Greyhounds could count on seasoned goalkeepers. This year, senior Colin Hopkins, who hasn't played soccer before, starts in goal. Junior Harve Crabtree backs him up.

Also playing forward are juniors Sam Coachman, Michael Duffy and Garrett Salyer. The other midfielders are senior David Gordon, senior Andrew Noltemeyer, junior Alec Hutchison, junior Joey Swavely and freshman Josh Townley.

Manning the defense are juniors Zach Brenner, Kyle Coffey and Ricky Heery, as well as sophomores Zach Crossen, Nick Criss, Joey Scarberry and Brighton Wise. Freshman Josh Townley also plays defense.

In 2008, Grove City was 10-4-3 overall and 4-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division. Gahanna won the league a 5-0-2, followed by Pickerington North (5-1-1), Grove City and Pickerington Central (4-2), Reynoldsburg (1-1-5), Lancaster (2-4-1), Groveport (0-5-2) and Newark (0-6-1).

The season ended in the second round of the Division I district tournament with a 3-2 overtime loss to Westerville Central.

"I think we're going to keep our goals more general this year, not setting any wins totals or goals-against totals," Dato said. "I am looking more for improvement from game to game, my guys winning the 50/50 balls and time of possession battles, and making sure we play hard for 80 minutes every game."

•The girls team kept 37 players in its program.

"We did get pretty good numbers coming out this year," first-year coach Josh Keller said. "The biggest problem right now is getting them to mesh as a unit."

The Greyhounds don't have much varsity experience, but they do have a defense loaded with seniors. Leading the defense is senior sweeper Alyssa Sammeth and junior goalkeeper Nicole Sprow, who were both on the team in 2008. The defense also includes seniors Brittany Presley, Kayleigh Sullivan and Allison Timmons.

"The defense is senior dominated," Keller said. "Alyssa Sammeth at sweeper kind of anchors the defense, which we're going to rely on a lot at this point of the year."

Junior forward Stacia Green starts the season as the Greyhounds' main feature offensively with senior Katie Saha also in the mix. Saha returned to Grove City from Teays Valley.

Also on the team are seniors Lailah Barwari, Makenzie Best, Catie Cahill, Katelyn Hampp, and juniors Allison Miller and Danielle Terry. Sophomores Taylor Bayes, Breleigh Bias, Paige Linville, Lexi Paas are also on the team as well as freshman Madison Kruki.

In 2008, Grove City was 9-6-2 overall and tied for second with Gahanna in the OCC-Ohio at 5-1-1. The Greyhounds finished behind North (6-1) and ahead of Reynoldsburg (4-2), Central (3-3), Lancaster (2-5), Newark (1-6) and Groveport (0-7).

The season ended with a 3-0 loss to DeSales in the second round of the district tournament.


Schedules

BOYS

Aug. 24 - at Watkins Memorial Aug. 26 - vs. Westland *Aug. 31 - at Reynoldsburg *Sept. 7 - vs. Groveport Sept. 9 - vs. Central Crossing *Sept. 14 - at Lancaster Sept. 16 - at St. Charles *Sept. 21 - vs. Newark Sept. 23 - at Buckeye Valley *Sept. 28 - vs. Gahanna Sept. 30 - at New Albany *Oct. 5 - at Pickerington Central Oct. 7 - vs. Westerville North *Oct. 12 - vs. Pickerington North Oct. 14 - at Dublin Scioto Oct. 19 - vs. Watterson

GIRLS

Aug. 24 - vs. Big Walnut Aug. 26 - at Olentangy Orange *Aug. 31 - vs. Reynoldsburg Sept. 4 - vs. Westerville South *Sept. 7 - at Groveport Sept. 9 - at Central Crossing *Sept. 14 - vs. Lancaster Sept. 16 - vs. Worthington Kilbourne Sept. 21 - at Newark Sept. 23 - vs. Northland *Sept. 28 - at Gahanna Sept. 30 - vs. New Albany *Oct. 5 - vs. Pickerington Central Oct. 7 - at Ready Oct. 9 - vs. Dresden Tri-Valley *Oct. 12 - at Pickerington North

*OCC-Ohio game