The Westerville South High School boys soccer team attended a team camp at Marshall University in July. Fifth-year coach Derek Hone hopes the trip is a catalyst to start the season off on the right foot.

The Westerville South High School boys soccer team attended a team camp at Marshall University in July. Fifth-year coach Derek Hone hopes the trip is a catalyst to start the season off on the right foot.

Frustration from mounting losses and chemistry issues were at the heart of South's struggles last season. However, with the bonding that occurred at Marshall, the Wildcats are hoping it can help spur growth in a positive direction.

"The kids are really excited for the season," said Hone, whose team was 2-13-3 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal Division last season. "Our team chemistry is ahead of where it's been in the past. I think (the Marshall team camp) really helped create some relationships. We learned the last couple of years that when we're facing adversity, we have to stay together."

South won once during the regular season last year, but then beat 11th-seeded Watkins Memorial on the road in the first round of the Division I district tournament. The season ended with a 3-1 loss to Westerville Central in the second round.

The Wildcats return an experienced core that also should benefit from a slight jump in the program's numbers.

Leading the group of returnees are seniors Patrick Johnson, Tyler Connor and Patrick Ladue, who was honorable mention all-OCC at goalkeeper last season. This year he's going to split time in goal with junior Ryan McLaughlin, who is new to the school, but has earned enough respect to be named a team captain.

When he's not in goal, Ladue could see action in the midfield. South is going to play with the more traditional four-man back line this season with senior Connor Bachus playing sweeper.

Bachus, Connor and Johnson are part of a midfield that also includes senior Isaac Ofosu and juniors Sean Carpenter, Adnan Mohamed, Kofi Bonsu. Sophomore Mohamed Banow also is a midfielder.

Making up the defense are seniors Kwami Kyei, Sam Schumann and Adam Tomlin and juniors Jamie Roth and Dan Gruber. Sophomore Henry Hunze and Scott Richard are also on the defense. South has sophomore Joel Davis and freshman Josh McErlean at forward.

Last season, the Wildcats were last in the OCC-Cardinal, behind Dublin Jerome (6-0-1), Olentangy Liberty (6-1), Dublin Scioto (4-1-2), North (3-2-2), Central (3-3-1), Marysville (2-5) and Olentangy (1-6).

•The girls team hopes this is the season it can manufacture more offense.

South primarily has been a defensive team the last few seasons, and second-year coach Brandi Tanler hopes it can start scoring goals without sacrificing defense.

"We're still looking to score goals," said Tanler, whose team was 4-11-1 last season and 1-6 in the OCC-Cardinal. "That's where the focus has been. Defensively, we've been pretty solid. It's just putting the ball in the back of the net."

To help get the offense going, Tanler is looking to possess the ball better in the midfield.

Helping the cause is the return of all but three starters from last year's team. At attack are seniors Camilla Bailey, Emily Noskowiak and Jamie Fletcher.

Seniors Lizzie Gauen and Carly Marburger and junior Abby McDonald return to the defense. Gauen played goalkeeper last season but has moved to make room for freshman Cara Calland.

After beating Canal Winchester 5-1 in the first round of the district tournament last year, South lost to Dublin Coffman 5-0 in the second round.

South was eighth in the OCC-Cardinal behind Olentangy Liberty (6-0-1), North (5-1-1), Central (4-2-1), Dublin Jerome (3-2-2), Dublin Scioto (1-3-3), Marysville (1-4-2) and Olentangy (1-4-2).

Schedules

BOYS

Aug. 28 - at Clayton Northmont

*Aug. 31 - vs. Central

Sept. 2 - vs. Reynoldsburg

*Sept. 7 - at Dublin Scioto

*Sept. 14 - Dublin Jerome

Sept. 16 - vs. Lexington

Sept. 18 - vs. Delaware

*Sept. 21 - vs. Marysville

Sept. 23 - at Worthington Christian

Sept. 25 - vs. Beechcroft

*Sept. 28 - at Westerville North

*Oct. 5 - at Olentangy

Oct. 7 - vs. Bexley

*Oct. 12 - vs. Olentangy Liberty

Oct. 14 - vs. Westland

GIRLS

Aug. 24 - at Gahanna

*Aug. 30 - at Central

Sept. 2 - at Big Walnut

Sept. 4 - at Grove City

*Sept. 7 - vs. Dublin Scioto

Sept. 9 - at New Albany

*Sept. 14 - vs. Dublin Jerome

Sept. 16 - at Upper Arlington

*Sept. 21 - at Marysville

Sept. 25 - vs. Mansfield Madison

*Sept. 28 -vs. North

Oct. 2 - Canfield

*Oct. 5 - vs. Olentangy

*Oct. 12 - vs. Olentangy Liberty

Oct. 14 - at Dublin Coffman

Oct. 16 - at Centennial

*OCC-Cardinal game