With 10 returning players, including seven starters, Grove City Christian School boys soccer coach David Morrison believes his team can make big strides this season.

With 10 returning players, including seven starters, Grove City Christian School boys soccer coach David Morrison believes his team can make big strides this season.

Last season, the Eagles finished 5-11-2 overall after losing to top-seeded Worthington Christian 10-0 in the second round of the Division III district tournament. Grove City Christian defeated Northside Christian 4-2 in the first round.

"Our numbers are down a little, but it's a deep roster because I'm returning a ton of starters," said Morrison, who is in his fourth season. "That could be a really good thing for our team this year with how many starters and how much experience we have."

The Eagles, who opened against Madison Plains on Aug. 20, begin MOCAL play Sept. 11 at Gahanna Christian.

The returning starters include senior midfielders Gabe Ryan and Kirsten Folzenlogen, who are captains. They are the only seniors on the team.

Ryan was honorable mention all-league last season.

Sophomore forward/midfielder Jason Stauffer, another returning starter, led the team with 10 goals last season.

Other returning starters are juniors Nathan Jablonski (forward), Tyler Haughn (forward), Chandler Perry (defender) and Tyler Bowen (defender).

Sophomore Nick Ryan returns and will be the goalkeeper in place of 2012 graduate Justin Drier, who had 110 saves last season. Also back are sophomores Michael Bibyk (forward/midfielder) and Josh Dick (defender).

Other players are sophomore Jake Owens (defender) and freshmen Olivia Carter (defender), Jessica Jablonski (defender) and Ryan Lantzy (defender).

Last season in the MOCAL, the Eagles (1-4) finished fifth behind Tree of Life (5-0), Granville Christian (3-1-1), Delaware Christian (2-1-2) and Gahanna Christian (2-2-1) and ahead of Madison Christian (0-5).

Girls volleyball team returns key players

The girls volleyball team returns four players, including junior middle hitter/setter Sarah Myhand, who missed nearly half of last season after breaking a bone in her left foot.

Also back are seniors Victoria Polentz (outside hitter/defensive specialist), Brittany Sims (middle hitter/outside hitter) and Alyssa Smith (middle hitter).

Other players are sophomore Kasey Hogan (outside hitter) and freshmen Marianna Gallion (defensive specialist), Allison Griggs (outside hitter) and Stephanie Sowards (middle hitter).

"It's been a good group to work with so far," fourth-year coach Joe Bradford said. "We're very young. Three of the girls are freshmen and four of them are first-time varsity players, so it's going to be challenging."

The Eagles open at Northside Christian on Saturday, Aug. 25, and begin league play at home against Tree of Life on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Last season, Grove City Christian finished 10-12 overall after losing to Fairfield Christian 25-14, 25-7, 27-25 in the second round of the Division IV district tournament. Grove City Christian had a first-round bye.

The Eagles were sixth (4-8) in the MOCAL behind Delaware Christian (12-0), Gahanna Christian (9-3), Tree of Life (6-6), Fairfield Christian (6-6) and Madison Christian (5-7) and ahead of Granville Christian (0-12).

Boys golf team has new coach

Del Varney, who was an assistant coach for the boys golf team the past two seasons, has replaced his son, Eric, as head coach.

Eric will remain as an assistant and is resuming his education.

"Eric agreed to stay as an assistant and has been a big help," Varney said. "I was a little apprehensive at first, and it was a lot more work before the season started than I anticipated, but the other school coaches have been great to work with as well as the pro at our home course Oakhurst, Andy Sutter, with scheduling matches and practices. I also got a lot of help from Matt Smith, the head teaching pro at Pinnacle. Pinnacle has also helped me with practice time."

Back are juniors Tyler Elgin and Cameron Michalak.

Senior Eva Hornung and sophomores Christian Fuellgraf and Mick Moore played some matches last season.

Juniors Matt Fritz and Emma Baker are first-year players.

The Eagles opened by finishing seventh (376) in the eight-team Grandview Invitational on Aug. 10 at Oakhurst behind champion Bexley (318). Michalak (77) was co-medalist with Bexley's Shane Wiseman.

Grove City Christian finished 11th (381) in the 14-team Marysville Invitational on Aug. 13 at Marysville Golf Club behind champion Marysville (322). Elgin was medalist with a 76.

The Eagles were 22nd (390) in the 22-team New Albany Classic on Aug. 14 at New Albany Links behind champion New Albany (288).

Grove City Christian was seventh (376) in the eight-team Worthington Christian Invitational on Aug. 16 at NorthStar behind champion Wellington (301).

"We have a very young team with first-year players and players that played a very limited match schedule last year," Varney said. "Fortunately, we have two very strong players in Cameron and Tyler. I'm looking to them as co-captains to provide the peer leadership that we will need."

Last season, Grove City Christian finished eighth (368) in the Division III sectional at Pine Hill behind champion Newark Catholic (329). Michalak led the Eagles with an 81.

Four to lead boys cross country team

The cross country teams open in the South-Western Warm-up Meet on Friday, Aug. 24, at Grove City.

Coach Brad Seaburn expects sophomore Josh Jones to emerge as the top runner on the boys team, with a three-way battle for the second spot between seniors Josh Ayers and Seth Rouch and freshman Paul Rouch.

Other runners on the boys team are sophomores John Hand and Eli Womack and freshman Brett Crabtree.

Runners on the girls team are junior Frankie Diederich and sophomores Logan Brunney, Katie Flowers and Jenny Jones.

"With most of my team first-time runners and being young, I am trying to really build the program," Seaburn said. "My goal for this season is to have fun and build a starting point for my newer runners so we have something to build on for the next couple years."

Grove City Christian is looking to replace 2012 graduate Sam Miller, who was a three-time Division III regional qualifier.

Last season at regional, Miller finished 37th in 18 minutes, 45.46 seconds.

Football team opens against Berne Union

The football team opens at home against Berne Union on Friday, Aug. 24, in the first meeting between the programs.

"We're getting better," coach Kerry Owens said. "We've had three scrimmages and we've seen improvement in all three scrimmages."

Last season, the Eagles got off to a 2-0 start by beating Bellaire St. John 61-12 and Troy Christian 49-15.

Owens, whose team finished 5-5, is hoping for a similar start.

"Everybody wants to win that first game and half of us won't," he said. "Everybody is after that first game. It means a lot to the psyche of the kids and the coaching staff as well."

Berne Union, a Division V program, finished 2-8 last season. The Rockets tied Fisher Catholic and Harvest Prep for fifth (2-5) in the MSL-Cardinal behind champion Grandview (7-0).

"They play a tough schedule," Owens said. "They run a lot of option. We expect to have our hands full with these guys."