Part of the Ready High School girls soccer team's path to what it hopes is another championship season could include taking some lumps early on.
In addition to having to replace one of central Ohio's top players in 2013 graduate Donavan Capehart, the Silver Knights added Zanesville West Muskingum (opener Sept. 2), Granville (Sept. 7) and Johnstown (Sept. 21) to a schedule that already includes Worthington Christian (Sept. 14) and the CCL.
Ready went 1-2-1 in the league last year, fourth behind champion Watterson (4-0).
West Muskingum and Granville were district runners-up last season in Divisions III and II, respectively, and Johnstown was the fourth seed for the Division III district tournament.
Ready went 15-3-2 overall and won its first Division III district championship.
"(The tougher schedule) is going to test our character, but I'm excited," second-year coach Jason Montgomery said. "With the personnel we have, there's really no reason not to think we'll do well. It's tough to replace a Donavan Capehart, but I think we've got the skills."
Capehart, who was the district Player of the Year and is playing for Ohio State, battled all season with forward Caroline Riewe for the team's scoring lead.
Capehart finished with 21 goals and 12 assists, while Riewe had 23 goals and 14 assists.
Riewe is one of six seniors. The others are Jordan Bair (defender), Allie Schroeder (defender/midfielder), Sydney Neff (midfielder), Marina Sweet (defender/forward) and Madison Whitehead (forward). Neff is a transfer from Teays Valley who sat out last season.
Juniors Ashlyn Szabo was a forward and midfielder the last two seasons but is taking over at goalkeeper after Kim Lloyd graduated.
Other juniors are Taylor Foresta (midfielder), Angelique Bowman (midfielder/forward) and Lauren Ruth (defender).
Montgomery thinks highly of a sophomore class led by Delaney Cutteridge, a captain along with Riewe and Bair who scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Grandview in last fall's district final. Cutteridge could see time at a variety of positions, including midfielder.
Other sophomores are Annie Mesewicz (defender), Rachel Neff (defender) and Kathleen Colvin (midfielder/forward). Freshmen looking to contribute are Maria Menke (defender), Haley Meyer (goalkeeper), Allison O'Brien (midfielder) and Caterina Scott (forward).
Ready lost to Middletown Fenwick 2-0 in a regional semifinal last season.
Brooke Ringel, who is playing for Ohio Dominican, was another key senior a year ago.
Boys soccer team to be led by seniors
The boys soccer team is hoping a six-member senior class can help it overcome the fact that it had just 14 players entering its opener Aug. 17 at Tree of Life.
Two of the seniors, Payne VanTilburg (midfielder) and Chris Wiser (forward), were among the top players a year ago when Ready went 6-10-2 overall.
"We're doing OK," coach Sam Sunseri said. "We're changing defenses into a flat-back four and our work ethic has been (good). Our defense is really young, so they've got no choice but to step up."
Sunseri stepped down after last season to take a coaching position at Thomas Worthington but later decided to return to Ready.
The other seniors are Patrick Feldkamp (midfielder), Shane Lee (defender), Devin Martinez (midfielder) and Jarrod Young (forward).
Also on the roster are juniors James Ley (midfielder) and Brenden Kirby (defender), sophomores Andres Walliser (defender), Isaac Bowles (defender), Nate Berner (defender) and Sean Atchison (midfielder) and freshmen Harrison VanTilburg (goalkeeper) and Connor Carrera (defender).
Among a 12-member senior class last season were Daniel Perry, who made first-team all-CCL, and Nick Berner, who was second-team all-league. Jimmy Hanley, who was a junior and made second-team all-district and first-team all-league, is not back with the program.
Payne VanTilburg was second-team all-league as Ready went 0-4 in the CCL to finish last behind champion St. Charles (4-0).
Boys golf team gets infusion of youth
Of the players who competed in the boys golf team's first two tournaments, two are freshmen and two are seniors.
Junior Jason Horn played No. 1 on Aug. 6 in the North Union Invitational at Glenross as Ready placed fifth (365) of 11 teams in Group B behind champion Heath (325). The next day, he had surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to be out until at least the end of the month.
Senior Graham Green sat out last season after transferring but is expected to be a key contributor.
Senior Nick Seipel and junior Ryan McFarland are returnees.
Freshman Ryan Smith shot an 83 to lead Ready in the North Union Invitational. Classmate Joey Centers was in the Knights' lineup at North Union and Aug. 9 in the CCL preseason tournament at Granville Golf Course. That tournament was not competed because of bad weather.
Also in the program are junior Logan Fravel and freshmen Ian Binns and Ben Dawson.
In addition, there are six girls who are playing for the junior varsity.
First-year coach Dave Whitt has several matches for the girls, including two rounds of the Mid-Ohio Girls Golf League tournament.
Sophomore Alicia Lundy is the top returning girl. Other girls in the program include sophomores Kate Ferguson, Lee Richter and Ryann Scarberry.
Whitt took over in the offseason after Don Worstell resigned after his second season as coach.
"We've got some really promising young players," Whitt said.