Injuries have hindered the Watkins Memorial High School girls soccer team since the start of the season, forcing coach Alex Stout to juggle his lineup.
Despite the injuries, the Warriors have remained competitive. They were 3-2 overall and 3-0 in the LCL after beating Lakewood 5-0 on Sept. 5. They played Zanesville on Sept. 7.
"We've really struggled with injuries, but we've had some young girls step in, get the job done and gain experience, which is a plus in the long run," Stout said. "They're filling the void and showing us that we have depth."
Among those dealing with injuries are defenders Maddie Berry and Rachel Lawwell, midfielder Sam Newman and forward Amber White.
"We have two freshmen, Theresa Langreca and Dana Berry, who have done a great job stepping up and playing well in the back," Stout said. "With Brittnee Stapleton's experience and Madi (Moore) in goal, we've done a good job in the back."
Stout also has been pleased with the play of freshman forward Sam Lyon.
"She has really done a nice job and we've also had strong play from Amberly Knox in the central midfield and Natalie Buscemi at outside midfielder," Stout said. "Knox is playing very well and controlling things in the middle.
"I have no doubt that when we get healthy and the younger girls all get acclimated and even more comfortable that we're going to be very competitive."
Watkins Memorial opened LCL play Aug. 22 with an 11-0 win over Heath and defeated Licking Heights 10-0 on Aug. 27 in a league contest. The Warriors lost to Bexley 2-1 on Aug. 20 and fell to New Albany 1-0 on Aug. 29.
Watkins Memorial, which plays host to Hartley on Tuesday, Sept. 10, before facing Licking Valley in a LCL game Thursday, Sept. 12, at home, has five OCC teams on its schedule, including New Albany.
"We would've liked to have kept more OCC rivals and played some of the better teams in that league, but they play their league games on Thursdays and we play LCL games on Tuesday," Stout said. "We were able to get games against New Albany, Thomas Worthington (Sept. 23), Upper Arlington (Sept. 28), Worthington Kilbourne (Oct. 3) and Big Walnut (Oct. 7). We also improved our non-league schedule with Bexley, Zanesville (Sept. 7), Hartley and Ready (Oct.1). In the LCL, Granville is a strong program."
The Warriors travel to Granville on Sept. 19.
Football team seeks momentum for LCL
The football team would like to build momentum heading into the start of LCL play by closing the non-league portion of its schedule Friday, Sept. 13, at Mifflin.
Watkins Memorial, which opens LCL play Sept. 20 at home against Utica, opened Aug. 30 with a 62-0 win over Briggs and played Athens on Sept. 6. Mifflin lost its opener to Licking Heights 40-6 on Aug. 30 and played Westland on Sept. 6.
"This is the last time we're under contract to play (Mifflin) and they've beaten us the past two years after we won the first meeting," coach Jeff Severino said. "I know they have a good coach in Gregg Miller and that they lost a lot of skill-position players, but they're supposed to be big again and they'll find some folks to plug into those skill positions.
"They struggled against Licking Heights, but they'll have had two games to iron things out by then. Plus, we're playing at their place."
The Warriors defeated Mifflin 42-18 in 2010, but the Punchers won 18-7 in 2011 and 25-20 last season.
"This is a good test for us because they love to run the ball and that will prepare us for what we're going to see in the LCL, primarily," Severino said. "Athens is going to spread out our defense and they throw a lot. Only one team, Granville, plays like that in the LCL."
Licking Heights held Mifflin to 12 yards rushing and no first downs in the first half en route to taking a 27-6 lead. The Punchers' score came on a 63-yard pass from quarterback Marsaan Banks to wide receiver Stanley Jackson.
Against Briggs, Watkins Memorial opened a 28-0 lead in the first quarter as Isaac Morrison scored on a 59-yard punt return, slotback Mike Ford scored on a 2-yard run, defensive back Justin Fown scored on a 52-yard interception return and defensive back Zach Lescalleet scored on a 23-yard interception return.
Ford rushed for 106 yards on 11 carries and quarterback Ben Shroyer completed three of six passes for 12 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown to wide receiver Hunter Holton.
"Fown and Lescalleet both had two interceptions and (defensive lineman) Nathan Miller had another," Severino said.
"I thought our inside linebackers (Isaac O'Brien and Corbin Lindabury) also played extremely well. I was very happy with our defense."
The Warriors held Briggs to 83 total yards and, according to Severino, his offensive starters played 27 snaps.
Tennis team's lineup undergoes changes
The play of sophomore Kendall Whisman and freshman Kelli Wright has prompted girls tennis coach Shawn Walter to make some changes to his lineup.
"We moved Kendall up a spot to second singles, moved Kelli into the lineup at third singles and moved Brandi Reed to first doubles where she meshes well with Jenny Dillon," Walter said. "That solidified our singles lineup with Bre Lampron at No. 1, and Brandi is making our doubles lineup more competitive."
Watkins Memorial was 4-4 overall after defeating Village Academy 4-1 on Sept. 5 and playing in the Raiders Doubles Tournament on Sept. 7 at Reynoldsburg.
Four of its first six matches resulted in a 3-2 score, with the Warriors defeating Dresden Tri-Valley on Aug. 14, Hamilton Township on Aug. 19 and Newark on Aug. 21 and losing to Whetstone on Aug. 29.
Watkins Memorial lost by a 5-0 score to Westerville South on Aug. 13, Reynoldsburg on Aug. 15 and Granville on Sept. 3.
With juniors Sam Marosis and Libby Hatton starting at second doubles, Lampron is the lone senior in the lineup.
"(Whisman and Wright) are young girls who move their feet well," said Walter. "They're quick and athletic and have that never-give-up attitude. They're still working on developing more of an offensive game and, when they do, they'll be very good."