Jamie Dato liked what he saw from his Grove City High School boys soccer team this season, but the fifth-year coach likes the Greyhounds' potential for next fall even more.
Grove City finished 6-7-5 overall, losing to 12th-seeded Westerville South 2-0 on Oct. 20 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. The Greyhounds defeated Westland 1-0 in the first round Oct. 17.
"I enjoyed coaching this year's team because the players seemed to work hard and they had good attitudes throughout the season," Dato said. "They made coaching enjoyable for our staff.
"But we will have most of the team back next year and they will know what to expect as far as speed and physicality of the varsity game. They will all have a lot of experience, and experience is a major key to success in high school soccer."
Grove City finished fifth (3-3-1) in the OCC-Ohio Division, behind Gahanna (7-0), Pickerington Central (4-1-2), Pickerington North (4-2-1) and Lancaster (3-1-3) and ahead of Groveport (2-5), Reynoldsburg (1-5-1) and Newark (0-7).
Junior midfielder Brendan Mountain was first-team all-league and senior defender Bryton Wise was second-team all-league. Senior defender Zach Crossen was special mention all-league and senior midfielder Nick Criss was honorable mention all-league.
Mountain was the team's leading scorer with five goals and one assist, and Wise had four goals and one assist. Junior forward Chandler Heery had three goals and two assists, and junior forward Brendan Sullivan had three goals and two assists. Sophomore forward Kevin Hull had four goals.
Senior goalkeeper Taisto Laine went 4-4-3 and junior goalie Alex Farkas was 2-3-2.
The other seniors were defender Joey Scarberry and midfielder Jared Stephenson.
"All of the seniors have been hard-working, respectful players and just good all-around student-athletes," Dato said. "Some groups of players leave and there is no second thought, but it will be tough to replace this group from a skill and leadership standpoint. They all contributed a lot to the program and to this season. We have players coming up who will be able to fill in, but these guys worked hard and played hard, and we will miss that example."
Other juniors expected back include defender Ben Colburn, midfielder Tyler Dunn, midfielder Scottie Luchini, midfielder Matt Myers, forward Cody Nicholson, defender Phil Stonerock, defender Tryston Tanner and midfielder Josh Townley.
"Having (Farkas) back as the starting goalie will be huge, as he has a lot of experience from this year," Dato said. "We also expect to have several returning defensive players who played big roles for the team, and that's big, too. I do not see the overall defense dropping.
"We should have 12 guys returning, all of whom have started a few games in their varsity career, so we should be strong next year."
Comets finish with two wins
Central Crossing finished 2-13-2 overall, losing to fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman 8-0 on Oct. 20 in the second round of the Division I district tournament after a first-round bye.
The Comets finished eighth (0-7) in the OCC-Central, behind Olentangy Liberty (6-1), Coffman (5-2), Thomas Worthington (4-1-2), Hilliard Davidson (3-2-2), Marysville (3-2-2), Upper Arlington (2-4-1) and Westland (1-5-1).
Senior goalie Austin Potts was second-team all-league and senior midfielder Guill-ermo Vazquez was honorable mention all-league.
Central Crossing was coached by Chas McCutch-eon, who completed his fourth season.
The other seniors were Luke Anderson (midfielder), Evan Fogle (midfielder), A.B. Lopez-Ramirez (midfielder), Rogelio Ortiz (forward), Alex Potts (forward), Drew Siders (midfielder) and Oscar Velasco-Ramirez (midfielder/forward).
Expected back next season are juniors Roland Barre (midfielder), Hunter Blevins (defen-der), Brendan Eal (defender), Roman Flaute (midfielder), Hamze Hussein (defender), Kiel Newton (goalie), Antonio Ortiz (forward) and David Son (midfielder).