After guiding the Grove City Christian Academy soccer team to an 11-5-2 overall record in his first season a year ago, coach David Morrison is hoping for an even bigger improvement this fall.

After guiding the Grove City Christian Academy soccer team to an 11-5-2 overall record in his first season a year ago, coach David Morrison is hoping for an even bigger improvement this fall.

"I'm really looking forward to at least the potential my team has," he said.

The Eagles, who defeated Delaware Christian 2-0 in the first round of the Division III district tournament before losing to Fisher Catholic 2-1 in overtime in the second round, return several players with varsity experience, including seniors Jonathan Clark (midfielder), Amanda Folzenlogen (midfielder), Sam Hatfield (goalkeeper) and Derek Vacha (forward).

Clark and Folzenlogen are the team captains.

"We had a good year last season," Clark said. "We lost some starters, but we have some good returning juniors coming up this year. This is the hardest-working team we've ever had. We play hard. I've never worked this hard for a season. We're going to have to work hard in order to win, because we don't have as much skill as we've had in past years."

Morrison expects Hatfield to have a solid season.

"Sam is a phenomenal goalie," Morrison said. "He will definitely be playing in college somewhere. If he plays his cards right and does well like we know he can and plays up to his potential, I think he could be Player of the Year in the MOCAL."

The other returnees are juniors Maddie Groves (defender), Katelyn McFarlane (defender), Aubri Paugh (forward) and Andrew White (defender) and sophomores Kirsten Folzenlogen (midfielder) and Gabe Ryan (midfielder).

Also on the team are senior Clint Fleshman (midfielder), sophomore Amanda Boggs (defender) and freshmen Tyler Bowen (defender), Justin Drier (defender), Tyler Haughn (forward), Nathan Jablonski (midfielder), Chandler Perry (defender/midfielder) and Shiloh Romans (defender).

"The seniors are all tremendous leaders," Morrison said. "The team follows them very well. They're probably the hardest-working group of seniors I have had the privilege to be a part of.

"We have a fantastic class of incoming freshmen that are really going to contribute well and we're going to have a very good program for years."

Morrison expects his team to compete with Madison Christian and Tree of Life for the MOCAL championship. Last season, Grove City Christian finished second in the league at 3-1-1, behind Madison Christian (5-0) and ahead of Tree of Life (2-1-2), Delaware Christian (1-2-2), Gahanna Christian (1-3-1) and Northside Christian (0-5).

"The teams that are always legitimately good are Tree of Life and Madison Christian," Morrison said. "We have a motto that we have this year and we've borrowed it from the Pittsburgh Steelers. 'In order to win, you have to do the small things better than anyone else.' If we're going to win, we have to do the small things better than anyone else. I believe we can do that. The kids are in great shape and they're very hard-working."

Clark is looking forward to a challenging schedule.

"We know there are a lot of tough teams in the MOCAL," he said. "We have a lot of public schools on the schedule also, which hopefully will make us better. I think it will make us a lot tougher. We're looking for the best."


Schedule

SOCCER

Aug. 24 - vs. Mifflin Aug. 30 - at West Jefferson Aug. 31 - vs. Walnut Ridge Sept. 7 - vs. Marion Pleasant Sept. 9 - at Emmanuel Christian *Sept. 14 - vs. Madison Christian Sept. 18 - vs. Liberty Christian Sept. 21 - vs. West Jefferson Sept. 23 - at Northside Christian Sept. 27 - vs. Granville Christian *Sept. 28 - at Delaware Christian *Sept. 24 - at Fairfield Christian Oct. 4 - vs. Brookhaven *Oct. 5 - vs. Tree of Life Oct. 7 - at Reynoldsburg Oct. 12 - vs. Harvest Prep *Oct. 14 - at Gahanna Christian

*MOCAL game