It was no surprise that the Licking Heights High School girls soccer team won only two games.
"You know the cards are stacked against you when you start a program and compete in Division I against big schools with established programs and traditions," coach Michelle Lisy said. "What you hope to do is one day be on the other side of things, be one of those teams. It'll take time, work and perseverance, but you have to keep building a little at a time."
The team's first varsity season ended Oct. 15 when it lost at fifth-seeded Westerville Central 13-1 in its Division I district tournament opener.
"It was 3-0 midway through the first half, but then the onslaught began and they scored a bunch late in the half," Lisy said. "I told the girls maybe we could surprise them a little and I think we did early. The other thing I told the girls was to just play hard and have as much fun as you can, to enjoy the opportunity to play."
The Hornets finished 2-15 overall. They were 1-5 in the LCL to finish behind co-champions Granville and Watkins Memorial (5-0-1). Their league win was 1-0 over Heath on Sept. 26 when midfielder/forward Madison Dixon scored and Ellie Pastor made five saves in goal.
Licking Heights' other win was 3-2 over Teays Valley on Sept. 3.
The Hornets lose one senior in exchange student Alex Stojkovic (forward).
Among the expected returnees are juniors Rachel Bernthold (goalkeeper), Jessica Brungs (defender), Dixon and Amber Dunkle (midfielder), sophomores Jenna Tishenkel (defender) and Pastor (midfielder/goalie) and freshman Makaylynn Wilcox-Gates (defender).
Tishenkel was first-team all-LCL, while Dixon was on the second team and Wilcox-Gates was honorable mention.
"I think we made tremendous strides on team defense, although we gave up more goals in the tournament game than we had all season," Lisy said. "We need to get a lot better with touches and our offensive shape. We have a handful of girls who play club and most of the girls have talked about playing indoor with the boys, too.
"I hope they do because they showed lots of improvement. I've had teachers and our athletic trainer tell me what a difference they saw from start to finish. I don't know if the girls saw it, but we did."
Season ends for girls volleyball team
The girls volleyball team lost its Division I district tournament opener 25-15, 25-9, 25-9 at sixth-seeded Westerville Central on Oct. 16 to finish 5-17.
"We struggled with their size," coach Amanda Mosely said. "We came out and played pretty well for the first part of the first game, but then we just had trouble with their size and one of our usually reliable hitters started spraying the ball wide and long. We had another hitter, a freshman, who was hitting into their big 6-foot blockers. We lost our focus and the wheels just fell off."
Runners compete in LCL meet
The boys and girls cross country teams competed in the Division I, district 2 meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to the regional Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North. At regional, the top four teams and top 16 individuals advance to the state meet Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
The boys team finished sixth (149 points) in the LCL meet Oct. 12, behind Granville (36), host Watkins Memorial (45), Newark Catholic (86), Lakewood (113) and Licking Valley (144) and ahead of Johns-town (163) and Heath (239).
Anthony Haist (16th, 17:51.91) led the Hornets, followed by Tysson Olverson (27th, 18:47.57), Vince Masoni (30th, 18:53.07) Alex Wilcox (36th, 19:32.2) and Brandon Haist (42nd, 20:01.71).
The girls team was seventh (182) behind Granville (29), Watkins Memorial (45), Newark Catholic (89), Licking Valley (130), Johnstown (143) and Heath (144) and ahead of Lakewood (194).
Paige Hartley was 10th (20:39.38) to lead the Hornets, followed by Tessa Kenney (41st, 24:02.23), MacKenzie Myers (42nd, 24:04.88), Kirsten Reed (44th, 24:14.41) and Rachel Shemenski (49th, 25:09.81).
Boys soccer team begins tourney play
The boys soccer team played at fifth-seeded New Albany in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 19. The winner advanced to a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 23.
If the Hornets advanced, they would play at sixth-seeded Hilliard Davidson or at 34th-seeded Briggs.
The district final is Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville South.
Licking Heights was 3-13 entering the postseason. The Hornets were seeded 42nd and had a first-round bye.