David Morrison is returning to a familiar surrounding.
David Morrison is returning to a familiar surrounding.
Morrison, a 2005 graduate of Grove City Christian School, has taken over as coach of the soccer team.
Morrison, who replaces Ken Peters, was a captain on the team as a senior.
"I have a love for the game, and I love helping out the kids," Morrison said. "It's awesome because it provides us an opportunity to give back and show the kids that we support the school."
Last season, the Eagles finished 5-9 overall and earned the program's first tournament win. They beat first-year Heath 1-0 in the first round of the Division III district tournament before falling to top-seeded Worthington Christian 9-0.
Grove City Christian was 1-4 in the MOCAL behind champion Tree of Life (5-0), Madison Christian (4-1), Delaware Christian (3-2) and Gahanna Christian (2-3) and ahead of Northside Christian (0-5).
The Eagles lost just one player to graduation, fullback Jimmy Williams.
Senior midfielder Gabe Gutierrez is back after missing most of last season with a knee injury. Also back are senior defender Brady Stephens and junior goalie Sam Hatfield, who recorded shutouts in all five of his team's wins.
Morrison expects juniors Jonathan Clark and Amanda Folzenlogen, and sophomore Katelyn McFarlane to play key roles on defense.
Other seniors are Meridith Brackman (midfielder), Joey Ryan (forward), Josh Slone (midfielder) and Daniel Spears (forward).
Others on the roster include junior Derek Vacha (defender/forward), sophomores Brittany Barton (forward), Maddie Groves (defender), Kathryn Juarez (defender), Gabby Norris (midfielder), Aubri Paugh (forward) and Andrew White (midfielder), as well as freshmen Kirsten Folzenlogen (midfielder) and Gabe Ryan (midfielder).
"The team is working their butts off," Morrison said. "They're talking, they're communicating and they're playing well together."
•The volleyball team also will be under new leadership, as Joe Bradford replaces Lisa Horsley, who will remain as the school's assistant athletic director.
The Eagles finished 2-19 overall after falling to top-seeded Newark Catholic 25-6, 25-3, 25-7 in the second round of the Division IV district tournament. Both teams had first-round byes.
Grove City Christian was 0-12 in the MOCAL to finish behind Madison Christian (11-1), Delaware Christian (7-5), Gahanna Christian (7-5), Northside Christian (7-5), Fairfield Christian (5-7) and Tree of Life (5-7).
Key returnees include seniors Kymber Bocook (outside hitter), Aricka Clark (middle hitter) and Katy Koenig (defensive specialist).
Also back are juniors Megan Keating (setter) and Caitlyn Kennedy (outside hitter/defensive specialist), and sophomore Mariah Koenig (setter).
Rounding out the team are juniors Lindsey Eickel (outside hitter) and Natalie Howard (outside hitter), sophomore Britt Bowen (middle hitter) and freshman Becca Reynolds (setter/outside hitter).
Howard is a transfer from Westland.
"The girls have done a great job," Bradford said. "They're buying what we're selling. They've been very adaptable to a lot of the changes that we've made and they're really progressing from that."
•The cross country teams will open Saturday in the Pickerington Classic.
Last season, the boys team took 11th in the Division III district 1 race with 269 points behind champion Grandview (37).
Junior Sam Miller, who finished 32nd (18:14.53) at district, returns. Also back are junior Alex Caperton, and sophomores Nathan Little, Tabor McLaughlin and David Mitchell. The team does not have a senior on the roster.
"We're going to have junior varsity and varsity teams for the first time ever," coach Doug Boggs said. "We're trying to get our team average (time) in the 18s. I think we can easily get in the 18s this year. That's our big goal."
Others on the roster are juniors Andy Bennett, Andrew Paquin and Kyle Pashovich and freshmen Josh Ayres, Mack Brunney, Seth Rouch and Adam Wilson. Paquin is a transfer from Westland.
The girls team placed sixth in district 1 with 181 points behind first-place Newark Catholic (49).
Senior Katie Miller led the Eagles (25th, 22:11.68), followed by senior Jessie Jones (22:42.73) and sophomore Emily Harper (24:08,78).
With only three girls on the squad, the Eagles will field an incomplete team at least early in the season.
"We're still looking to pick some people up," Boggs said. "I'm hoping that we can get a couple to fill in and compete as a team. We have a good core of girls."
•The golf team should be led by senior Trenton Laws, who finished third in the MOCAL Tournament and had a team-best 41.4 average last season.
An incomplete Eagles team opened last Saturday in the Fairfield Christian Invitational and Laws finished fourth with an 82. Junior Dylan Liptak, who sat out last season, has emerged as the team's No. 2 golfer.
Seniors Alyssa Parrish and Joey Ryan, sophomore Sarah Varney, freshman Zach Latorre and senior Josh Slone round out top seven.
"I'd be happier if were getting more kids," coach Eric Varney said. "We're still having trouble sparking interest in the program. I would like to have more kids who are a little more committed.
"I'd like to be about .500. It's something we've kind of struggled with the last few years. It's going to be difficult this year."
To read the season previews for all area prep football teams, pick up a copy of the Friday Night Live '09 Central Ohio High School Football Preview, presented by Grange Insurance. The 112-page guide is now available at the following sites:
Nearby Grange Insurance offices:
•Mitchell Insurance, 2204 Stringtown Rd., Grove City
Nearby Buffalo Wings & Rings restaurants:
•1574 Stringtown Rd., Grove City