Talented girls team has high expectations
Third-year New Albany High School girls soccer coach Chad Schuler already can tell the difference between this season's team and last year's.
"We're a lot more dangerous," he said. "The girls have realized that through our scrimmages. The stuff we worked through over two years is starting to show. We've got some really good young girls coming in that complement our older girls nicely. The chemistry is fantastic."
The Eagles lost 2012 graduates Jill Singer, Delany Barrett, Morgan Moroi, Megan Tolnar and Melissa Rice, and while Schuler might miss those players, he's found replacements for the holes they left in the lineup.
"Top to bottom, this is the most talent that has been on the girls roster in a few years," he said. "That's nice."
Seniors Emily Makowski (midfielder), Chrissy Harris (defender) and Meghan Jayes (goalkeeper), junior Danielle Dixson (midfielder) and sophomore Megan Glass (forward) are returnees.
"Those are the core girls that are left over from last year," Schuler said. "So far, they haven't disappointed at all."
Glass had 13 goals and six assists last season while making first-team all-league and third-team all-district. Harris was first-team all-league and Jayes was special mention all-league. Makowski had eight goals and Dixson had seven.
Rounding out the squad are seniors Erica Blankmeyer, Kristen Lee and Madison Siktya, juniors Jessica Brand, Kelci Winters, Jesse Gammill, Vanessa Eastwood and Kaylynn Cline, sophomores Sam Damante and Kyra Zuiderweg and freshmen Jordan Burdick, Kiki Kawari and Kiana Khorammi.
New Albany finished last year with a 9-6-3 overall record. The Eagles beat Westerville South 1-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament before falling to Olentangy Orange 1-0 in a semifinal.
In the OCC-Capital Division, the Eagles went 4-1-1 to place second behind Hilliard Bradley (5-0-1) and ahead of Orange (4-2), Watkins Memorial (4-2), Big Walnut (2-4), Delaware (1-5) and Mount Vernon (0-6). Franklin Heights did not field a team.
This year, the OCC-Capital has a bit of a new look, with Olentangy moving in and Bradley taking the Braves' spot in the OCC-Cardinal.
"We've become familiar with Bradley, so we've kept them (as a) non-conference (game)," Schuler said. "That's always a good match. We'll have to find some things out about Olentangy before we play them (Sept. 20)."
The Eagles opened Aug. 18 by tying visiting Bradley at 1. They begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 28, against Orange at home.
Juniors to lead
way for boys team
The boys team lost several key players from last season to graduation, but third-year coach Ben Arthurs isn't without a plan.
"We lost some guys that were crucial to the team," he said. "That forced my coaching staff and I to re-evaluate, take a look at some things we could do to add some strength."
With the graduation of starters Alek Buck, Chad Guy, Chad Coomes, Derek Moon and Tyler Washington, the Eagles are looking to their juniors to lead the way.
"The depth of the junior class is really what we're looking for," Arthurs said. "They're going to be important to the depth of our bench."
Loren Albritton (midfielder), Frankie Boscarillo (defender), Anthony Flowers (goalkeeper), Garrett Greco (midfielder), Yuval Greenshtein (midfielder), Zag Kawari (midfielder), Tristan Lyles (defender), Zach Mowery (midfielder), Jorge Rosas (forward/midfielder), Eric Siegusmund (midfield-er/defender), Joey Washington (midfielder/defender) and Alex Zbinovec (forward/midfielder) are the contingent of juniors Arthurs has to work with this season.
Albritton will miss a handful of games in the beginning of the season because of complications from offseason knee surgery. Flowers is in his third season starting in goal, and Greenshtein also should be a key contributor.
The Eagles were 5-7-5 overall last year and finished second (5-1-1) in the OCC-Capital, behind Big Walnut (6-0-1) and ahead of Bradley (4-1-2), Orange (4-1-2), Delaware (2-5), Mount Vernon (2-5) and Watkins Memorial (2-5) and Franklin Heights (0-7).
"It was a learning year," Arthurs said. "We learned a lot about formation and what it takes to win."
New league opponent Olentangy defeated the Eagles 2-1 (5-4 on penalty kicks) in the first round of last year's Division I district tournament.
"Olentangy is a highly respected program," Arthurs said. "We love playing them. I can't say enough about the program. They're doing good things."
The Eagles opened Aug. 18 by beating host Bradley 3-0. They begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Orange.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Kareem Amr (forward/midfielder), Khalid Gurhan (forward), Trey Hicks (midfielder/defender) and Nathan Loos (midfielder), sophomore Shaan Diwaanji (midfielder/defender) and freshmen Austin Bray (forward/midfielder), Jared Gerlacher (midfielder) and Will Somers (goalkeeper).
"We're going to have to learn our new system," Arthurs said. "We'll have to figure it out and know that we're all interchangeable parts. Once we can sort that out we'll be great."