When he watched his team practicing, Wellington School girls soccer coach Billy Thompson saw a sea of question marks rather than a soccer team.
Wellington graduated nine players who compiled a 46-17-9 mark over the last four years.
"I like the challenge of having a new group and seeing what kind of progress they can make by the end of the season," Thompson said. "We could have the players who can make an impact on a game. I just don't know who they are yet."
The Jaguars were 12-4-1 overall, losing to Bexley 4-1 in a district semifinal.
Wellington suffered massive losses on the offensive end. Six players graduated from the forward and midfield positions, including first-team all-district selection Marika Viragh and Nicole Dahl, who was third-team.
Senior Colleen Durfee and juniors Dara Love and Elaine Poon start as forwards and senior Nicole Darragh and sophomores Paige Price and Sophie Knowles should lead the midfield.
"We have a couple of new players that could fit in nicely," Thompson said. "We have three nice forwards returning and as long as we can get the ball to them, we'll be fine. The midfield is where we really lose some players."
Wellington allowed only 1.59 goals a game, shutting out Circleville 3-0, Logan Elm 4-0, Tree of Life 1-0 and Ready 5-0. The Jaguars rely on a tested defense to protect sophomore goalie Anna Leone. Senior Missy Gyurscik and junior Becky Shin return to the defense and Darragh and Page could drop back into the defense.
"The key for our team this year is going to be the leadership of the upper classmen," Thompson said. "We might not be as deep as some of the top teams in the area, so we have to come together and play as a team with the leadership of the upper classmen."
•First-year coach Brian Galvin doesn't want any surprises when the boys soccer team enters the postseason. Wellington scheduled every team that has advanced to a Division III district final in the past three years. Included in that mix is a visit to defending district champions Columbus Academy on Tuesday and a home game with Worthington Christian, the division's state runner-up, on Oct. 1
"We're going to know what we're getting into," Galvin said. Wellington finished 8-8-1 overall after losing to Grandview 1-0 in overtime in the second round of the tournament. "We're going to go into the playoffs already having faced some of these teams before."
The Jaguars will be anchored by its defense. Juniors Alex Anderson, Reid Postle, Nathan Klabunde and Nick Bruno head up the defense. Sophomore Ryan McLaughlin broke his wrist in the preseason but is expected to compete for the goalie job with junior Matt Sorrels.
"We're going to get quite a few goals from the back four this year," Galvin said. "They control and see everything. They're the ones who are going to start the offense."
Offensively, Wellington graduated Alex Yadegari (17 goals, 3 assists). Juniors Leo Pedicelli and Corey Morris will lead the forwards. Seniors Saarik Gupta and Jeremy Gwinn (14 goals, 5 assists), junior Patrick Kim, sophomores Omead Sinai and Jack Jeffrey and freshman Iakovos Anaspasakis lead the midfield.
"Offensively, we're really creative on the ball and we'll make a lot of good runs from the outside," Galvin said. "We're doing a great job transitioning the ball up field."
Juniors David Connell, Chris Coughlan and Taiyo Sconlon-Kimura will play reserve roles.
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Wellington boys golf, boys soccer, girls golf, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:
Aug. 10 -- Placed third (331) behind champion Granville(318) at Jaguar Invitational.
Aug. 11 -- Placed third (300) behind champion St. Charles B and Hilliard Davidson (294) at North Union Invitational
Aug. 17 -- Placed first (321) at 14-team Canal Winchester Invitational
Aug. 18 -- Lost to Hilliard Davidson 334-342
Aug. 20 -- Placed ninth (336,) behind champion St. Charles Red (291) at DeSales Invitational
Last Friday -- Defeated Columbus Academy 324-329
Last Monday -- Participated at Academy Shootout
Last Tuesday -- Participated at Dublin Jerome Invitational
Saturday -- At Mount Gilead (Pine Lakes)
Tuesday -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson (Heritage)
Last Monday -- Played Buckeye Valley
Last Tuesday -- Played Bloom-Carroll
Tuesday -- At Columbus Academy
Aug. 13 -- Defeated Mansfield Christian 223-258
Aug. 17 -- At DeSales Invitational. Postponed and has not been rescheduled
Aug. 18 -- Placed third (197) behind Marysville (173) and Olentangy Liberty (186)
Aug. 20 -- Placed fourth (408) behind Division II champion Bexley (383) in the MOGGL at Echo Springs.
Last Monday -- Participated in the Top 19 tournament (Bent Tree)
Last Tuesday -- Played Watterson and Jonathan Alder (Safari)
Saturday -- At MOGGL (Foxfire)
Monday -- Home vs. Mansfield Christian and Olentangy Liberty (Champions)
Tuesday -- Home vs. New Albany and Columbus School of Girls (Champions)
Wednesday -- At Jonathan Alder (Timberview)
Last Monday -- Played Buckeye Valley
Tuesday -- At Fairbanks
Aug. 17 -- At Mansfield St. Peter's. Postponed and has not been rescheduled
Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Watterson. Postponed and has not been rescheduled
Aug. 20 -- At New Albany. Postponed and has not been rescheduled
Last Tuesday -- Played Columbus Academy
Monday -- At Marion Pleasant
Tuesday -- At Centennial