Bryan Mulvany is looking to a pair of all-league seniors to lead the Grove City High School boys soccer team in his first season as coach.
Midfielder Kevin Hull and defender Garrett Wise are aiming to help the Greyhounds build on last year's 10-7-1 finish, which included placing second (5-1-1) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind Gahanna (7-0).
Hull (second-team all-league) is the team's top returning scorer after having eight goals and three assists last season. Wise was first-team all-league as a center back.
"The strength of our team will be our central midfield," said Mulvany, who was an assistant under six-year coach Jamie Dato. "We have a number of players very comfortable controlling the middle of the pitch."
Junior Jonah Monhemius had four goals at center midfielder last season, and senior Luke Yosick had two goals and four assists as a forward. Senior Orion Davis is back as a defender, as is junior Trace White.
"We don't have a lot of varsity experience," said Mulvany, whose team opened Aug. 19 against Marysville and begins league play Tuesday, Aug. 26, against visiting Reynoldsburg. "This team has no lack of talent, simply a bit of a lack of experience. Once they adjust to the speed (needed to) play at this level, the sky is the limit."
Senior Matt Markham and junior Timmy Duffy were competing in the preseason to start at goalkeeper.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Tyler Crossen (defender), Alex Winkler (defender) and Chris Zerhusen (midfielder), juniors Cameron Badger (defender), Lukas Gebel (forward), Kenton Hall (midfielder) and Chad Pennington (midfielder), sophomores Michael Rosta (midfielder), Zach Sammeth (defender) and Demree Zinn (forward) and freshman Bryce Hull (midfielder).
"We have a phenomenal group of young men this season," Mulvany said. "We might not be the most decorated team, but no one will play harder or give better effort than we will."
Comets return eight starters
Central Crossing has eight starters back from a team that finished 2-14 overall and eighth (0-7) in the OCC-Central behind champion Dublin Coffman (6-1).
The returning starters are senior Jacob Philebaum (midfielder), juniors Jacob McLaughlin (defender), Jacob Moore (defender), Abu Munye (midfielder) and Abdi Noor (defender) and sophomores Abdi Abdullahi (midfielder), Sidi Abukar (forward) and Brandon Karnes (defender).
"Jacob Philebaum was our leading scorer last year with six goals," said coach Tyler Gleason, who is in his second season. "He is our captain and a very skilled outside midfielder who will also play some outside back on the left side. He has good knowledge of our system and has tremendous ability to strike the ball."
The Comets also have several players who are new to the school district -- and to the country. Senior forward Guled Ahmed is from Kenya and junior midfielder Daril Aranada is from Honduras. Junior midfielder Yakoo Muse moved in from Utah. Junior Ridwan Abdi (Briggs) and sophomore Garrett Lehman (St. Charles) also are new to the program.
Seniors Cody Campbell (defender), Rami Milhem (defender) and Austin Terrell (goalie), junior Andres Poveda (midfielder), sophomore Billy Wurzauf (goalie) and freshmen Ryan Fahy (goalie) and Noah Ross (midfielder) round out the roster.
"Our back line is a concern for our team right now," Gleason said. "We have a lot of injuries there, and a lot of inexperience. I believe our midfield will alleviate that by being able to hold onto the ball and, with time and experience, this concern can become a strength."
The Comets opened Aug. 19 against Hilliard Darby and begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 26, against visiting Olentangy Liberty.
Aug. 19 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
Aug. 21 -- vs. Liberty Union
*Aug. 26 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
Aug. 28 -- at Grove City
*Sept. 2 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 4 -- vs. Groveport
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Sept. 11 -- at Lancaster
Sept. 13 -- at Licking Heights
*Sept. 16 -- vs. Dublin Coffman
Sept. 18 -- vs. Ready
*Sept. 23 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 25 -- at Reynoldsburg
*Sept. 30 -- vs. Marysville
Oct. 2 -- vs. Westerville Central
*Oct. 7 -- at Westland
Aug. 19 -- vs. Marysville
Aug. 21 -- vs. Westland
Aug. 23 -- at Canal Winchester
*Aug. 26 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
Aug. 28 -- vs. Central Crossing
*Sept. 2 -- at Groveport
Sept. 4 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Newark
Sept. 11 -- at New Albany
*Sept. 16 -- at Pickerington Central
*Sept. 23 -- vs. Gahanna
Sept. 25 -- at Centennial
Sept. 27 -- vs. Lexington (Ky.) Lafayette
*Sept. 30 -- at Lancaster
Oct. 2 -- at Watkins Memorial
*Oct. 7 -- vs. Pickerington North