Central Crossing girls look to take next step
The Central Crossing High School girls soccer team expects to continue making strides in its second season under coach Amy Williams.
The Comets return seven starters from last season and have added an all-district performer in Lexi Paas, a senior forward who played at Grove City last fall.
"The kids work hard, they are motivated and have a year of experience playing together and with me (as coach)," said Williams, whose team finished 5-10-2 overall last season after losing to Grove City 6-1 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. "They know the expectations, and that should help us be a stronger team this year than we did last year."
Central Crossing finished seventh (1-6) in the OCC-Central Division, behind Dublin Coffman (6-0-1), Hilliard Davidson (5-0-2), Thomas Worthington (4-1-2), Upper Arlington (3-2-2), Hilliard Darby (2-3-2) and Worthington Kilbourne (2-4-1) and ahead of Westland (0-7).
Marysville and Olentangy Liberty have moved into the league, and Darby and Kilbourne took their places in the OCC-Cardinal.
Last season, Paas had 10 goals and 13 assists and was named third-team all-district and first-team all-OCC-Ohio. She will join junior forward Haleigh Cook to give the Comets a formidable scoring tandem.
Seniors Kathy Chatfield (outside midfielder) and Megan Johnson (defender) return as starters, as do juniors Natalie Bolanos-Cruz (center midfielder), Alexis Bachstetter (defender) and Olivia Downing (defender) and sophomore Dana White (midfielder).
Juniors Anna Brandon (midfielder/defender) and Alexis Som (midfielder) and sophomores Shannon Krum (defender/midfielder) and Leyshka Soto (defender) were letterwinners last season. Junior midfielder Stephanie Karnes is new to the team.
Also on the squad are freshman goalkeeper Laura Rodri-guez and freshman forward Breana Smith.
"We have to work on our foot skills and ball skills," Williams said. "We need to improve on the tactical part of the game.
"We're trying to perfect the flatback-4 defense that we started to work on last year. We also have to work to get the ball on the feet of Lexi and Haleigh."
The Comets opened Aug. 21 against Canal Winchester and begin OCC-Central play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Liberty.
Boys looking for right mix
The boys team is moving around personnel, trying to find the right flow and fit for the season.
Central Crossing used its scrimmages "to find out where people fit the best for us," said coach Chas McCutcheon, who is in his fourth season leading the program. "We're working to make those adjustments."
The Comets finished 3-12-2 overall last season, losing to Davidson 4-0 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament.
Central Crossing was 0-7 in the OCC-Central to finish behind UA (6-0-1), Coffman (5-1-1), Kilbourne (3-0-4), Davidson (3-2-2), Darby (2-3-2), Thomas (2-3-2) and Westland (1-6). Returnees include seniors Luke Anderson (midfielder), Evan Fogle (midfielder), A.B. Lopez-Ramirez (midfielder), Rogelio Ortiz (forward), Alex Potts (forward), Austin Potts (goalie), Drew Siders (midfielder) and Guillermo Vasquez (midfielder), as well as juniors Roman Flaute (midfielder) and David Son (midfielder).
New to varsity are senior Oscar Velasco-Ramirez (midfielder/forward), junior Antonio Ortiz (forward) and Roland Barre, a junior midfielder who transferred from Columbus West. Splitting time between varsity and j.v. will be juniors Hunter Blevins (defender), Brendan Eal (defender), Hamze Hussein (defender) and Kiel Newton (midfielder/goalie).
"Our midfield should be strong with Oscar, A.B. and Guillermo, and they can feed it to Rogelio and Alex Potts up front," McCutcheon said. "But overall, the kids don't have much experience of playing with each other. They have to get a feel for one another on the field and find that compatibility."
Central Crossing opened Aug. 21 against Ready. The Comets begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at home against Liberty.