The Central Crossing High School boys soccer team made it clear last summer that it wanted Mack Bostard back in goal.

The Central Crossing High School boys soccer team made it clear last summer that it wanted Mack Bostard back in goal.

After the South-Western City School's levy passed last year, reinstating sports, the Comets players that had remained at the school during the off year were ready to put together what could be the most competitive team they have fielded.

Nearly the entire roster was made up of players that played two years ago and had spent the year off playing club soccer. But there was a glaring hole.

The Comets didn't have a goalkeeper. Bostard, the one they had been grooming for that position, left for Gahanna Christian Academy after the levy failed in August 2009.

"We were looking to teach a freshman," coach Chas McCutcheon said. "In the future that would have worked out great, but it would have been tough sticking a brand-new freshman back there with this team."

When the Comets reformed, the recruiting pitches started. Bostard had waited as long as possible before choosing to leave Central Crossing to attend the school where his grandfather once served as superintendent. Leaving was a tough choice, but so was returning. Bostard didn't commit to coming back until August.

"Leaving (Central Crossing) I weighed it out," Bostard said. "And coming back I had to weigh that out, too. It was a hard decision. I was already (at Gahanna Christian) for a year and made friends there."

His sister, Madison, also had the same opportunity, but Madison, who plays for the girls team, chose to stay at Central Crossing.

Madison, now a senior, said being a year older than Mack made her decision to stay an easier one than Mack faced.

"I knew my roots were here," Madison said. "Mack's more of a risk-taker than I am. When he wants to do something, he just does it."

While her brother helped Gahanna Christian finish 3-9 overall after losing in the second round of the Division III district tournament, Madison spent most of her afternoons studying and working. Mack, who moved in with his grandparents in Reynoldsburg, was only around on the weekends.

Life at Gahanna Christian took some getting used to. According to the OHSAA, Gahanna Christian has 80 students. Had Madison also chosen to switch schools, she would have had to play on the same soccer team as the boys.

"We have like 50-60 people out here (at Central Crossing) during tryouts," Mack said. "(At Gahanna Chrisitian) there were like 50-60 people in the school."

Gahanna Christian started out with 13 players last year on its soccer team. That number was down to 11 by season's end. They actually had a goalkeeper before Mack joined the team, so after a few games in goal, Mack moved to the field.

Despite the change in position, drop in the level of play and the smaller numbers at the school and on the team, it wasn't a forgone conclusion that Mack would return to the Comets. It took some coaxing. Comets players like Mike Bauman, Luke Carmichael and Mario Alvarado were among those that made pleas through text messages and on Facebook for Mack to come back. McCutcheon also made an appeal.

Mack came out for a couple of offseason practices to "help out" with the team. That was when the Comets dug in their claws. They showed Mack a potential lineup where he would be the starting goalkeeper. It was important for Mack to see that the Comets had talent and were on the way up.

For nearly all its seven years, the program has struggled. The reason he started the last six games as a sophomore was because the team wasn't competitive. If he was going to be giving up double-digit goals in a game at Central Crossing, that would be a reason for staying at Gahanna Christian.

"I wanted to make sure they weren't just spreading sunshine to get me back," Mack said.

They weren't.

With Mack in goal, the Comets have improved significantly this season. Their record doesn't reflect in the win total the Comets started 1-5-1 but what were once lopsided losses now are closer games.

The Comets lost to Upper Arlington 2-0 on Sept. 21. They lost to UA 11-0 in 2008. A 2-0 loss to Dublin Coffman on Aug. 31 was a 5-0 loss two years ago. The Coffman game was a scoreless tie with five minutes remaining.

"There's been quite a bit of growth and experience on the team with our seniors and juniors," Mack said. "We couldn't hang with the Dublins before."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Central Crossing and Grove City boys and girls soccer teams:

CENTRAL CROSSING BOYS

*Sept. 21 Lost to Upper Arlington 2-1

Sept. 23 Lost to Big Walnut 3-1

*Last Tuesday Played Worthington Kilbourne

Today Home vs. Pickerington North

*Tuesday Home vs. Thomas Worthington

Of note: The Comets were 1-6-1 overall and 0-4 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

CENTRAL CROSSING GIRLS

*Sept 21 Lost to Upper Arlington 11-0

Sept. 23 Lost to Big Walnut 5-0

*Last Tuesday Played Worthington Kilbourne

Today At Newark

Saturday Home vs. Teays Valley

*Tuesday At Thomas Worthington

Of note: The Comets were 0-9 overall and 0-4 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central game

GROVE CITY BOYS

*Sept. 21 Def. Newark 4-1. Zach Brenner scored two goals and Eli Monhemius and Sam Coachman each scored one.

Sept. 23 Def. Buckeye Valley 6-0

*Last Tuesday Played Gahanna

Today At New Albany

*Tuesday At Pickerington Central

Of note: The Greyhounds were 5-3-1 overall and 2-2 in OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

GROVE CITY GIRLS

*Sept. 21 Def. Newark 5-1

Sept. 23 Def. Northland 11-0

*Last Tuesday Played Gahanna

*Saturday Home vs. Groveport in makeup from Sept. 7

*Tuesday At Pickerington Central

Of note: The Greyhounds were 7-1 overall and 3-0 in OCC-Ohio before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Ohio game