Boys soccer squad rolling after loss in opener
After opening the season with a 1-0 loss at DeSales on Aug. 21, the Columbus Academy boys soccer team appears to have gotten on track.
The Vikings were on a five-game winning streak before playing defending Division III state champion Worthington Christian on Sept. 11.
DeSales, which entered the week with a 2-1-3 record, was a good opening test for the Vikings, according to coach Ron Leach.
"DeSales is a really good opponent, so we knew we were starting off with someone that had an excellent tradition in soccer and plays hard," he said. "We battled and we just didn't knock one in."
Four of the Vikings' first five wins were by shutout, and they outscored their opponents 20-2. They defeated Tree of Life (5-0 on Aug. 25), Wellington (5-0 on Aug. 28), Berlin Hiland (2-1 on Sept. 1) and Ready (2-0 on Sept. 4) before beating Licking Valley 6-0 in the MSL-Ohio opener Sept. 6.
Through five games, Jake Tuckerman led the Vikings with eight goals followed by Jack Lint and Gavin Koerner with four apiece.
Leach said the defense has keyed the team's early success.
Senior Thomas Nolan and junior Tyler Kohman have split time in goal.
"We have replaced a lot of defenders," Leach said. "You have to move some people around a little bit, so a big switch is we took one of our center midfielders, John Michael Long, and moved him back to a center back. The organization and leadership through him has greatly enhanced that back four."
Academy's boys and girls soccer teams will play their league games against Granville on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Crew Stadium.
The girls game will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the boys game at 1 p.m.
"It's going to be a great afternoon for our teams being able to get down there on the pitch and have the community support us, so we're looking forward to it," Leach said.
Girls soccer team looks to bounce back
The girls soccer team was hoping to break a three-game losing streak when it played Fairbanks on Sept. 11.
The Vikings lost to Ready 2-1 on Sept. 8 as Annie Meacham scored and freshman goalkeeper Neve Adler had three saves.
The Vikings also lost to Gates Mills Hawken 8-1 on Sept. 3 and dropped an MSL-Ohio game to Bexley 2-0 on Sept. 6.
Academy defeated Wellington 14-3 on Aug. 28 and Heath 7-0 in its league opener on Aug. 30 after losing its opener against Hartley 8-1 on Aug. 25.
"I like this team's fight," coach Kelly Snead said. "(Sophomore midfielder) Kelly Brown has really stepped it up. She's come up really big."
Snead said Katerina Weikert and Julia Rizk also have been key offensive players, but she is hoping to see improvement in all areas.
"We're just not finishing right now," she said. "There's not like a true forward on the team. We're converting outside (midfielders) to forward. If you don't have an Erin Simmons up top who's just naturally going to the goal then it takes a little bit of time to figure out where your runs are going to go. We're getting there."
Simmons, a 2012 graduate, was Player of the Year in the MSL-Ohio and the district in Division III last year after scoring 38 goals with 26 assists. She is a freshman forward at Marshall University.
Snead said the Vikings are looking forward to playing in Crew Stadium.
"The girls have never (played in) Crew Stadium. They've never had the opportunity," Snead said. "The three years that I have been here I have been fighting for it. It was time for the boys to go back again, so we decided to have the girls go as well. It's going to be a big game. It's Granville. It's a league game. (The) league means a lot, but district means a little bit more. If we keep playing like we're doing, we're going to be all right."
Field hockey team having strong start
The field hockey team will continue its pursuit of a return trip to the state tournament when it plays host to Hudson on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The Vikings were 4-0 before playing Upper Arlington on Sept. 10.
"I didn't know what to expect," coach Anne Horton said. "It was a rebuilding year for us. We're very young. You're hopeful things were going to be all right and it's been better than I thought, so I'm very pleased with our start."
Last season, Academy lost to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown 2-1 in overtime in a state semifinal to finish 18-2-1 overall.
Hathaway Brown lost to Thomas Worthington 1-0 in the final.
Academy and Thomas tied for first in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League at 10-0-1.
The teams played to a tie at 2.
The Vikings will play host to Thomas on Oct. 9.
Senior attacker Courtney Deena led the Vikings with three goals and 13 assists through four games. Deena is a Maryland recruit.
"Courtney's game has emerged into another dimension that didn't use to exist," Horton said. "I think she's happy with where she is and where this team is headed."
Junior attacker Hayley Mitchell led the team in goals through four games with six. Freshmen attackers/midfielders Grace Geiger and Hana Sinno each had four.
Junior Sarah Guendert has been starting in goal, with senior Megan Neubig also receiving playing time.
Other players are seniors Anjali Kanwar (defender/midfielder), Casey Lange (defender) and Tori Hoffman (defender), juniors Paige Berliner (attacker), Courtney Gittins (attacker), Grace Petrie (defender), Kat Restrepo (defender), Bri Stahl (midfielder), Rachel Theis (defender) and Charlotte Vaziri (midfielder) and freshmen Alyssa Edwards (defender/midfielder) and Maddie Vaziri (midfielder).
"We have enough kids that have been a part of this process that are wanting to take this team where they feel they belong, so (last year) is definitely a motivational piece and it's quiet reminder always in the back of our minds that it's something they want to get to," Horton said.
Football team earns first win
The football team improved to 1-2 by defeating Whetstone 56-12 on Sept. 7.
The game was stopped after three quarters because of bad weather.
"It was good. We needed it," coach Jim Collis said. "We dropped the first two, so we needed a win and the kids came out and they were ready to play and got it done. It was fun. It was good for them. They've worked hard. They haven't had all the breaks go their way so far, so it was good for them."
The Vikings open MSL-Ohio play at home against Lakewood on Friday, Sept. 14.
Lakewood fell to 1-2 with a 62-7 loss to Johnstown on Sept. 7.
The Lancers' win came against Northridge 25-6 on Aug. 31.
Last season, Academy defeated Lakewood 43-21. The Vikings have won the last seven meetings, with the Lancers' last win coming in 2004, 20-15.
Against Whetstone, Bryce Bailey rushed for 124 yards and had four touchdowns, including returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score.
On defense, the Vikings had a safety along with interception and fumble returns for touchdowns.
Cross country teams running strong
The boys and girls cross country teams again are enjoying success.
The boys team was 13th (443) in the 43-team Tiffin Cross Country Carnival on Sept. 8 behind champion Cortland Mapleview (126).
Junior Alex Ho was 30th in 17 minutes, 1.79 seconds.
Other runners were junior Aron Aziz (70th, 17:50.76), junior Ben Uchimura (84th, 18:02.91), freshman Andrew Heermann (99th, 18:13.95) and sophomores Ricky de Aguair (164th, 19:06.18), Drake Williams (176th, 19:19.04) and Sam Wittmann (192nd, 19:36.65).
Academy must replace 2012 graduate Jon Michael Hilsheimer, who competed in his third consecutive state meet last season, finishing 50th (17:00.02) at National Trail Raceway. Hilsheimer is a freshman runner at Duke.
The girls team is coming off its first Division III state meet berth.
Last season, Academy finished 14th (321) at state behind champion Liberty Center (65).
Sophomore Abby Wilson, who was 38th at state (19:53.96), again is leading the Vikings.
Academy was eighth (318) at Tiffin behind champion Minster (111), and Wilson was 20th (20:29.7).
Junior Susan Peck, who was 88th (20:53.65) at state, was 49th (20:55.22) at Tiffin.
Other runners at Tiffin were freshmen Cobi Warstler (75th, 21:44.32) and Sydney Brault (78th, 21:45.07), senior Sarah Lazarus (93rd, 22:02.38), sophomore Elizabeth Falkenberg (110th, 22:19.85) and sophomore Sydnie Boykins (123rd, 22:34.68).
"We're looking real good on both the boys and the girls side," coach Mike Ramseyer said. "Just about all the girls are back except for one (2012 graduate Chloe Spigos)."