Defense progressing for Grove City boys
After a rough start, the Grove City High School boys soccer team has come together on defense.
The Greyhounds beat visiting Central Crossing 3-0 on Aug. 30 for their second consecutive shutout heading into an OCC-Ohio Division contest Sept. 4 against Groveport.
Grove City tied Marysville at 2 on Aug. 21 to open the season before losing to Bexley 4-2 on Aug. 23. The Greyhounds then defeated Reynoldsburg 4-0 on Aug. 28 in their OCC-Ohio opener.
"In the first two games, we gave up a couple of early goals and never recovered. We made it a priority not to give up early goals," coach Jamie Dato said. "We also moved Scott Luchini from center midfielder to sweeper, and he kind of helped shore up our defense."
Kevin Hull, Nick Criss and Brendan Mountain scored against Central Crossing, and goalkeeper Taisto Laine had 11 saves.
"We have to worry about the little things like connecting better on short passes and working on communication," Dato said. "We have a string of games coming up where the guys can work into their roles and get us confidence as the season goes along."
Goalkeeper Austin Potts had 12 saves for the Comets against Grove City.
"We have been moving the ball around on the ground, and I wish we would have done that better (against Grove City)," coach Chas McCutcheon said. "In the first three games, we did a great job with that. Also, Austin Potts has been playing well and really saving us in the back."
The Central Crossing j.v. team beat Grove City for the Comets' first soccer win at any level over the Greyhounds, according to McCutcheon.
"Our lack of depth has been hurting us. Our numbers are low and it shows," he said. "We just don't have the legs right now. Low numbers can devastate you.
"We're getting stronger and we're still trying to recruit kids out for the team. We're hoping to get a couple more bodies out and we can work toward playing a whole 80 minutes."
Greyhounds girls defeat Comets
The Grove City girls team defeated host Central Crossing 11-1 on Aug. 30 by using a balanced attack.
Seven Greyhounds players scored including Riley Bowyer, who had her first two varsity goals. Also scoring their first varsity goals were Cierra Coonrod and Tyler Ryan.
Makenna Allmon, Ashley Artrip and Madison Kruki also scored twice, and Grace Monhemius had one goal.
It was the first victory for the Greyhounds, who then defeated Westerville South 5-2 on Sept. 1.
Against South, Artrip had two goals and Allmon, Kruki and Monhemius each had one. Gabby Rodriguez had 12 saves.
"It's definitely a confidence-builder (getting the first win), but we have to make sure we stay focused," coach Josh Keller said. "We have to stay focused on the next game, not the next league game, but the game immediately ahead of us. (OCC-Ohio powers) Pickerington North and Gahanna are down the road and we have a lot of teams we have to worry about before them."
Haleigh Cook scored for the Comets against Grove City. Laura Rodriguez had 11 saves and backup Leyshka Soto added five.
"We don't base our success totally on the score because we're trying to learn a new (defensive) formation and we also have a freshman goalkeeper (in Laura Rodriguez)," coach Amy Williams said. "Half of the team has played before and the other half has not, but the girls are working hard and learning every day.
"The girls are still learning our system. We have a brand new system, a brand new lineup and a brand new goalie, so it will take some time."