Jesse Rose remembers when the Westerville North High School boys soccer team was a powerhouse. A 1999 graduate, he played for the championship North teams of years past.

Jesse Rose remembers when the Westerville North High School boys soccer team was a powerhouse. A 1999 graduate, he played for the championship North teams of years past.

Now in his third season as North's coach, Rose believes this is the year his team can return to its old form. The roster is armed with 14 seniors, some of whom played on the 2005 district champion team.

"From day one, the chemistry and team attitude has been different," Rose said. "Anytime you have a coaching transition it can be difficult, but I think we have a good connection this year. Our senior class has been instrumental in establishing a common goal of getting back to where we once were."

Five starters return to a team that posted a 5-10-2 record in 2008, an improvement from 3-9-4 in Rose's first season. The Warriors have 10 players with varsity experience, and Rose says the team is solid at nearly every position.

That strength is reflected on attack with senior forwards Ibrahim Abdikadir, Brit Donahue, Wes Kramer, Keith Moore and Ben Taylor. Junior Leonel Garcia and sophomore Joe Wilkin are the only underclassmen on the front line. Abdikadir and Donahue were two of North's leading scorers last season.

Seniors Matt Dodrill and Daniel Dybdahl will start at midfielder, with juniors Conner Bradley, Joe Bilardello, Jarred Pulliam vying for playing time.

Captain Richard Desmond leads a group of defenders with fellow seniors Logan Coyle, a returning starter, and Ryan Moore. Junior Dylan Thompson will start in goal for a second consecutive season.

"It's been a different vibe on the field and we've had a lot more confidence," Donahue said. "We know we haven't performed as well as we could have the past few years, and we know the program's history. We have a grasp now of what it should be like and we need to restore that this season."

ĽAfter losing its leading scorer and top goalkeeper, the girls team is relying on a core of experienced defenders and young, quick forwards to lead it to a fourth consecutive appearance in the district final.

The three senior captains, Amanda Case, Emily Wilkin and Abby Wood, all start in the back with junior Renee Perry and sophomore Rachel Davis. All five defenders were instrumental in limiting scoring in 2008, keeping opponents to just over one goal per game.

No one was looking forward to the opener last Tuesday against Hilliard Bradley more than Wood, who has recovered from a torn ACL suffered in North's 2-1 loss to Hilliard Davidson in the district final.

"We want to be as good as we have been over the past years, and that's been our main goal," Wood said. "We're young, but I think our forwards will be strong this season and our seniors will try to keep teams out of the net."

The defense has the task of protecting incoming goalkeeper Kendal Hostinpiller, a junior who replaces Joie Cosby. A three-year starter, Cosby posted 22 career shutouts and a 0.81 goals-against-average, earning a Division I scholarship to Ohio University.

Junior Genelle Castro and sophomore Allie Sieradzki are the two strikers, hoping to provide the Warriors with a scoring boost. They fill the vacancy left by Ashton Campbell, North's leading scorer in 2008. Junior midfielder Spencer Foust will start at left wing with sophomore Hope Wood at right wing.

The Warriors possess depth at midfielder with juniors Molly Hash, sophomores Kayla Angermeier, Maggie Gibson and Hope Miller coming off the bench.

"Half of our team are comprised of freshmen and sophomores so it will take some time to develop," said coach Tim Lawrence, who enters his 21st season at North. "We have a lot of experience on that back line, which is always good. From a coaching standpoint, I always like to build from the back and we have that advantage this season."

Attack midfielder Ashley Miltko, a two-year starter, has been battling a stomach illness and is expected to rejoin the team in 2-3 weeks.

Three freshmen, Caitlin Moore, Aryn Shields and Missy Ward are on varsity. Lawrence expects them to see playing time at a variety of positions.

Schedules

BOYS

Aug. 25 -- vs. DeSales

Aug. 29 -- at Centerville

*Sept. 1 -- at Dublin Jerome

Sept. 3 -- at Delaware

*Sept. 8 -- vs. Westerville Central

Sept. 10 -- at New Albany

Sept. 12 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

*Sept. 15 -- at Dublin Scioto

*Sept. 22 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

Sept. 24 -- vs. St. Charles

Sept. 26 -- at Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 29 -- at Westerville South

Oct. 1 -- vs. Gahanna

*Oct. 6 -- vs. Marysville

Oct. 8 -- vs. Newark

*Oct. 13 -- at Olentangy

GIRLS

Aug. 25 -- at Hilliard Bradley

Aug. 27 -- vs. Big Walnut

*Sept. 1 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

Sept. 3 -- vs. Pickerington Central

Sept. 5 -- at Teays Valley

*Sept. 8 -- at Westerville Central

Sept. 10 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*Sept. 15 --╩vs. Dublin Scioto

Sept. 19 -- vs. Medina

*Sept. 22 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Sept. 24 -- at Thomas Worthington

*Sept. 29 -- vs. Westerville South

Oct. 3 -- at Watterson

*Oct. 6 -- at Marysville

*Oct. 13 -- vs. Olentangy

Oct. 15 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*OCC-Cardinal