When Scott Dempsey took over as Hartley High School girls soccer coach a year ago, he inherited a program that had a much different resume than his own in terms of success.

When Scott Dempsey took over as Hartley High School girls soccer coach a year ago, he inherited a program that had a much different resume than his own in terms of success.

During a 13-year tenure at Bexley in which his teams went 224-36-24, Dempsey led the Lions to the 2009 Division II state championship and six other appearances in the state tournament.

The Hawks, meanwhile, never have won titles in the CCL or at the district level.

"We got 10 wins and (won a district tournament game last season), so obviously we're hoping to build on those numbers," said Dempsey, whose team opened Aug. 21 at Centennial and begins league play Sept. 6 at home against Watterson. "Hartley's never won a CCL title and we'd like to do better at the district level. These are things we've talked about as a team. Their best finish (in the postseason) was a district runner-up. We're going to do what we can to improve on those experiences."

Hartley, which last made it past the second round of the district tournament in 2007 when it was a district runner-up, has a senior-laden lineup.

Seniors Samantha Burgess and Molly Mackessy are back at midfielder, with classmate Kaitlyn Weikert returning at goalkeeper. Other key seniors are Dory Cassidy (forward), Kacy Kern (midfielder), Rachel Krebs (midfielder), Mallory Rhodes (forward) and Jessica Skelly (defender).

Burgess and Skelly each were second-team all-district and Mackessy made third-team all-district last fall.

Sophomore McKenna Welsh, who was the Hawks' leading scorer with 18 goals and made first-team all-district and second-team all-state, should be another key player at forward.

Juniors Nala Key (midfielder) and Nicole Weldon (midfielder) also return.

Last season, Hartley went 10-6-2 overall and tied Ready for third (1-2-1) in the CCL behind DeSales (4-0) and Watterson (3-0) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (0-4).

The Hawks opened the district tournament with a 9-0 win over London but lost to Granville 2-0 in the second round to snap a five-game winning streak.

Courtney Williamson led a six-member senior class.

Boys soccer team has a new look

With only four returning starters, the boys soccer team entered its opener Aug. 21 against Watkins Memorial knowing it might be a bit of a mystery this season.

That's fine with coach Chris Kowalski, who used the word "fantastic" to describe what he saw from his new lineup during the preseason.

"I'm very happy with our progress," said Kowalski, who is in his fifth season. "The one thing we lack is experience. I don't think we're as big as we've been in previous years, but I'd describe us as a blue-collar team that's really coachable."

The Hawks, who begin CCL play Sept. 6 at Watterson, went 9-7-2 a year ago.

Back to lead the team are seniors Stuart Burkett (midfielder), Miles Cervi (midfielder), Nick Evers (defender) and Jacob Smith (forward). Senior Cisco Ahumada (defender) and juniors Colin Barringer (midfielder) and Jason Endress (defender) are other returnees.

Juniors Max Corum (defender), Jacob Croswell (defender), Stephen Lackey (defender) and Cheikh Tandiang (forward) and sophomore Demba Sene (forward) also are looking to contribute.

Last season, Hartley went 1-6-2 to open the season but won its next eight before falling to top-seeded Big Walnut 2-1 in a Division II district semifinal.

The Hawks finished 1-1-2 in the CCL to place behind St. Charles (3-1), DeSales (2-1-1) and Watterson (2-1-1) and ahead of Ready (0-4). They began the postseason with a 6-1 win over Beechcroft in the second round of the tournament.

Hartley lost 13 players to graduation, including three who had been starters since they were freshmen in Justin Alexander, Steven Sunday and Brent Wahle. Alexander and Wahle both are playing for Ohio Dominican.

Football team set to open with Aces

The football team plays host Friday, Aug. 24, to Amanda-Clearcreek, marking the third consecutive season it opens against the Fairfield County school.

The Aces made the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs and were 8-3 a year ago.

Junior Austin Smith is back at quarterback to lead Amanda-Clearcreek after he made second-team all-district and passed for 1,186 yards with 13 touchdowns last season.

Also back for the Aces are junior kicker Grant Brown (second-team all-district) and junior punter Nick Brumfield (second-team all-district).

Last season, Hartley went 11-1 and was the Division IV, Region 14 runner-up. The Hawks beat Amanda-Clearcreek 30-22 as 2012 graduate Jarrod Zang scored on a 10-yard run and returned an interception 31 yards for another score.

Hartley is led by seniors Ja'Wuan Woodley (RB/LB), Marcellus Calhoun (RB/LB), Jacob Matuska (TE/LB) and Tyler Schaffer (OL/DL) and junior Kalil Morris (DL).

Two seasons ago, the Hawks spoiled the debut of coach Dale Olney when they beat the Aces 48-10 in the opener. In the first round of the Region 15 playoffs that season, Hartley defeated Amanda-Clearcreek 40-21 on the way to winning the state title.

Morales back to lead girls tennis team

Rachael Morales returns for her senior season after making her third appearance in the Division II state tournament last season.

Morales is playing first singles for the Hawks, who feature senior Kim Osborn at second singles and senior Reece Walaszek at third singles. Seniors Rachel Croswell, Clare Kossler, Abigail Rees, Sophie Roesch, Melissa Serrano and Sara Sweeney and freshman Madeleine McDonald are others looking to contribute.

"We've got nine seniors this year, so we've got a lot of leadership," 15th-year coach Lynn Winters said. "It's been going really smoothly because they all know the drill. Rachael has been playing continually, and she'll make it to state again."

On Aug. 22, Hartley played DeSales in its CCL opener, and the match also represented its Division II OTCA state team tournament opener.

Last season, Morales was runner-up in the district tournament but lost 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 to eventual state runner-up Courtney Earnest, a 2012 graduate from Lexington, in the first round at state. The doubles team of Croswell and 2012 graduate Saba Asefa also advanced to district, where they lost to Bexley's Becca Landon and Lindsey Staub 6-2, 6-0 in their opener.