With seven starters returning, the Grove City High School girls soccer team is looking to get more from its attack.
The Greyhounds return their top scorer in senior forward Ashley Artrip (17 goals) after finishing 9-5-4 overall with a 2-0 loss to Dublin Jerome in a Division I district semifinal. They were runners-up (5-1-1) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind Pickerington North (7-0).
"We have to do a better job of getting the ball from the middle third to the top third of the field," said coach Josh Keller, who is in his fifth season. "We were down 1.5 goals per game last year from 2011 and we had four ties, which is way too many. We have to do a better job of finishing."
Artrip was first-team all-district and all-league. She is joined as a returning starter by senior forward Maddy Kruki (4 goals, 3 assists; special mention all-league), senior defender Marie Mayers, senior forward Kendra White (2 goals, 2 assists; second-team all-league), junior defender Megan Farr (honorable mention all-league) and sophomore defenders Lindsay Jones and Andrea Luchini.
Gabby Rodriguez, a 2013 graduate, was third-team all-district and first-team all-league at goalkeeper after making 150 saves. Competing to replace her are senior Taylor Metheny, senior Abby Swearingen and sophomore Xochitl Cajigal.
"We have a three-way competition in goal and there's no clear-cut No. 1," said Keller, whose team opened Aug. 20 against Marysville and begins league play Tuesday, Aug. 27, at home against Reynoldsburg. "It could be an ongoing competition all year. We'll go with who has the hot hand."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Cierra Coonrod (forward; 2 assists last season), Jen Draper (midfielder) and Grace Monhemius (midfielder), juniors Makenna Allmon (midfielder; 4 goals, 6 assists), Amanda Baker (midfielder) and Hannah Davis (midfielder; 3 assists) and sophomores Riley Bowyer (forward; 6 goals, 3 assists), Natalie Cooper (forward), Tyler Ryan (midfielder) and Jenna Taylor (defender).
"I like the fact that most of the girls have a lot of good varsity experience, especially this year's sophomores who have played a lot of defense," Keller said. "Hopefully, our speed up top is good, and it will have to be if we are going to be able to finish better than last year."
Comets return seven starters
Central Crossing returns seven starters from a team that finished 3-13-1 overall after losing to Dublin Coffman 10-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
The Comets tied Westland for seventh (0-6-1) in the OCC-Central behind champion Coffman (6-0-1).
Senior midfielder Stephanie Karnes, who was honorable mention all-league, leads the returning starters. Seniors Alexis Bachstetter (defender), Natalie Bolanos-Cruz (midfielder), Adalina Brandon (midfielder), Olivia Downing (defender) and Alexis Som (midfielder) also started, as did sophomore midfielder Shannon Krumm.
The Comets would have had an eighth returning starter in senior forward Haleigh Cook, their top offensive threat the past two seasons, but the second-team all-league performer suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
Central Crossing opened Aug. 19 against Lancaster.
"We had three wins last year, but the girls have worked hard in the offseason," said coach Amy Williams, who is in her third season. "It was a tough break losing Haleigh and we'll have to find other scoring outlets. We're still trying to figure out who to put where on the field."
Rounding out the roster are senior Samantha Collins, junior Karla Martinez, sophomore Roza Momot, sophomore Laura Rodriguez and freshmen Julianna Carr, Caity Kidd, Courtney Larkin, Kortney McGinnis and Olivia Terrell.
"We have some really good senior leadership," said Williams, whose team opens its league schedule Tuesday, Aug. 27, at home against Olentangy Liberty. "They expect to win more than last year.
"Also, we have a really good freshman class. They are talented but need to get varsity experience."