Even though the Hartley High School boys soccer team had nine seniors a year ago, a group of underclassmen served as key players.
The experience that they gained is providing a positive outlook for the Hawks, who opened Aug. 19 at Hamilton Township.
Hartley went 7-9-2 last season.
"We took our lumps last year with some guys that were younger even though we had nine seniors," coach Chris Kowalski said.
"First and foremost, this is one of the closest groups I've had, so we're very excited about that."
The top returnees are seniors Demba Sene (forward), Michael Anthony-Wood (defender) and Galen Kaple (defender) and sophomore Mitchell Bergman (forward, first-team all-district).
Junior Bruce Kotlinski is taking over at goalkeeper.
Also expected to be key players on defense are juniors Ben Hawk and Martin Gillies and sophomore Cameron Mertz.
Sophomore Justin Galant is another returnee who should lead the midfielders. Also at that position are senior Augie Collins and juniors Corey Stevens and Cole Wieging.
Other seniors are defenders Charlie Collins and Nick Workman and forward Kevin Krieger.
Junior Joe Andress, who was a key player a year ago, has been battling an injury, according to Kowalski.
Among the 2014 graduating class, Josh Routte (goalie) is playing for Tiffin, Cheikh Tandiang (midfielder) is playing for Capital and John Thiel (defender) is at Thiel College in Greenville, Pa.
Hartley opens league play Sept. 16 at home against Watterson.
Girls volleyball team has experienced core
The girls volleyball team has made it to the state tournament four times since 2007, including in 2011 when it won the title in Division II.
The Hawks believe they could have enough experience to contend for another state berth this fall.
There are eight seniors among Hartley's expected key players, including senior Maddie Brandewie, a 6-foot middle hitter who has committed to Bowling Green.
"We're loaded with hitters this year," said coach Mike Rahe, whose team opened Aug. 16 with a 25-13, 25-8, 25-20 victory over Pickerington North. "The challenge will be getting our defense to be as good as it was last year."
In addition to Brandewie, Hartley has two other 6-footers in senior Shelby Chesko (middle hitter) and junior Bethany Matuska (middle hitter/right-side hitter).
Senior Emily Rahe is back at setter and sophomore Kristen Chatman returns at outside hitter.
Rounding out the senior class are Mickey Bischoff (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Monica Briggs (defensive specialist/libero), Abby Dawes (setter/defensive specialist), Lauren Elliott (outside hitter/right-side hitter) and Caroline Young (middle hitter/right-side hitter).
Hartley, which went 20-7 and was the CCL runner-up a year ago, had a seven-year run of district titles snapped in 2012 but earned a regional runner-up finish last season.
Girls soccer team expects better year
Coming off a year in which it went just 2-8-7 but reached a Division II district semifinal, the girls soccer team hopes the end of last season is more the norm of what to expect this fall.
One reason to believe that could be true is the return of senior forward McKenna Welsh. She entered the season with 55 career goals, including 18 last year, and is the program's first first-team all-state player, according to coach Scott Dempsey.
She also was district Player of the Year.
"We've got a lot of players back from last year," Dempsey said. "It's been much different than last year because we only graduated three players, so we've got the vast majority of the kids back."
The Hawks opened Aug. 19 at home against Reynoldsburg. They play their league opener Sept. 10 at home against Watterson.
Also back after being key players last year are juniors Ally Dempsey (forward), Kate Duffy (midfielder), Rachel McFadden (defender) and Alex Orkis (defender).
Joining Duffy at midfielder are seniors Kiersten Boyd and Kaileen Mitchell and juniors Hannah Feltz and Maggie Smith.
Also at defender are junior Rachel McFadden and sophomores Katie Elliott and Kate Hennessey.
Sophomore Katie Page is playing in goal.
Also looking to contribute are senior Jenna Anderson (forward) and juniors Carolyn Little (forward) and Sammy Skelly (midfielder).
Strong nucleus back for boys golf squad
First-year boys golf coach David Liskowiak is excited about the prospects of his team.
"I think that if we play well, we have a chance to be competitive in the CCL," said Liskowiak, who played golf at Urbana High School and replaced Dan DeCrane. "It's a great group of kids who practice a lot in their spare time."
Hartley opened Aug. 8 by placing second (322) in the six-team Grandview Invitational at Oakhurst behind London (320) as junior Chris Williard was medalist with a 71.
The CCL preseason tournament was Aug. 18 at Clover Valley. In last year's CCL postseason tournament, Hartley was third (328) behind St. Charles (304) and DeSales (318).
Also competing are senior Jack Casebolt, junior Salmika Waregi, sophomores Bryce Twente and Jared Ozarzak and freshman Andrew Berger.
The Hawks finished fourth (336) in last year's 11-team Division II sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire as the top three teams advanced to district.
Cameron Ball, a 2014 graduate, and Williard shot 83 and 81, respectively, to advance to district, but neither advanced to state.
Aug. 8 -- Grandview Invitational at Oakhurst
Aug. 11 -- Newark Catholic Invitational at Moundbuilders
Aug. 12 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Aug. 13 -- Marysville Invitational at Darby Creek
Aug. 14 -- Bexley at Westchester
Aug. 18 -- CCL preseason tournament at Clover Valley
Aug. 23 -- Kent Miller Colonial Fall Classic at Hiawatha
Aug. 30 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle
Sept. 6 -- Bexley Invitational at Westchester
Sept. 8 -- Ready at Oakhurst
Sept. 9 -- Ready at The Links at Groveport
Sept. 10 -- Madison Christian at The Links at Groveport
Sept. 11 -- Danville at Apple Valley
Sept. 14 -- DeSales at Jefferson
Sept. 18 -- DeSales at Jefferson
Sept. 20 -- CCL postseason tournament at The Players Club at Foxfire
Aug. 19 -- at Hamilton Township
Aug. 23 -- vs. Grandview
Aug. 26 -- at Worthington Christian
Aug. 30 -- vs. Tree of Life
Sept. 2 -- vs. Gahanna Christian
Sept. 4 -- at Westerville North
Sept. 6 -- at Bloom-Carroll
Sept. 9 -- vs. Columbus Academy
*Sept. 16 -- vs. Watterson
Sept. 18 -- at Granville
Sept. 22 -- vs. Centennial
*Sept. 23 -- at Ready
Sept. 27 -- at Bexley
*Sept. 30 -- vs. DeSales
Oct. 4 -- vs. Zanesville West Muskingum
*Oct. 7 -- at St. Charles
Oct. 9 -- vs. Big Walnut
Aug. 19 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
Aug. 21 -- at Bexley
Aug. 23 -- at Olentangy Orange
Aug. 26 -- at Bloom-Carroll
Aug. 28 -- vs. Granville
Sept. 2 -- at Grandview
Sept. 4 -- vs. Central Crossing
Sept. 6 -- at Chillicothe Unioto
*Sept. 10 -- vs. Watterson
Sept. 13 -- at Delaware
*Sept. 18 -- at Ready
Sept. 20 -- vs. Fairbanks
Sept. 23 -- at Wellington
*Sept. 25 -- vs. DeSales
*Oct. 2 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Oct. 7 -- vs. Jonathan Alder
Oct. 9 -- at Big Walnut
Aug. 16 -- vs. Pickerington North
Aug. 21 -- vs. Fairfield Union
Aug. 23 -- vs. Beechcroft
*Aug. 25 -- vs. Watterson
Aug. 30 -- vs. Huron
*Sept. 4 -- vs. DeSales
Sept. 6 -- vs. Mansfield Madison
*Sept. 9 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Sept. 10 -- at Westerville Central
Sept. 13 -- vs. Casstown Miami East
*Sept. 16 -- at Ready
Sept. 17 -- at Granville
Sept. 20 -- Cincinnati Mother of Mercy Invitational
*Sept. 23 -- at DeSales
*Sept. 30 -- at Watterson
*Oct. 1 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Ready
Oct. 6 -- at Marengo Highland
Oct. 8 -- at Bloom-Carroll