The Westerville South High School girls soccer team featured one of the strongest defenses in the Central District last season. It just struggled manufacturing any offense.

The Westerville South High School girls soccer team featured one of the strongest defenses in the Central District last season. It just struggled manufacturing any offense.

The result was a team that finished 6-8-3 overall despite holding opponents to a goal or less 10 times.

Eight starters graduated and the Wildcats are faced with a restructuring process that includes a new coach in Brandi Tanler. She was an assistant for nine seasons under former coach Bobby Weimer.

Three-year letterwinners Abby Misch and Brooke Robbins are the focal point of the offense. They were the Wildcats' leading scorers last season. Misch is expected to anchor the midfield and Robbins will look to do the same for the defense.

"We lost (players) from a variety of positions," Tanler said. "It's just getting the younger girls to fill in and accept their roles."

In addition to Robbins, the defense returns senior Hanna Neagle. Junior Carly Marburger is back after missing last season with an injury and senior Alex Beard returns as the goalkeeper.

Beard is competing with junior Lizzie Gauen for the starting spot. Also expected to play a significant role on the defense is freshman Stephanie Redd.

"Our back is looking pretty strong," Robbins said. "We're having a lot of younger people step up. Everybody knows what they're supposed to do."

Junior Jamie Fletcher is back and helps lead an offensive unit that includes Jenny McManis and Emily Noskowiak. Misch and sophomore Morgan Neighbors will return to the midfield. Junior Lindzey Watson also returns to the team.

Also part of the roster this year are seniors Tracy Haizel Cobbina, Mariah Swank, Gina Torelli and juniors Camela Bailey, Kate Beachler and Tori Fitzmartin.

Sophomores Megan Henderson and Abby McDonald and freshman Colleen Byrne will also play varsity.

"Our offense might even look better than it did last year," Misch said. "We have a lot of attackers. Some of the new girls that are stepping up like to push forward, and we have players that are fast on the outside that are pushing on the outside."

Last season ended with a 1-0 loss to Worthington Kilbourne in the second round of the Division I district tournament. The Wildcats defeated Franklin Heights 11-1 in the first round.

In the OCC-Cardinal Division, South finished behind Dublin Jerome (6-1), Westerville Central (4-3) and Westerville North (3-1-3) and ahead of Dublin Scioto (2-2-3), Marysville (2-3-2), Olentangy Liberty (1-4-2) and Olentangy (0-5-2).

•The boys team was 5-11-2 overall last year and 2-5 in the OCC-Cardinal.

The Wildcats lost six seniors from last year, but coach Derek Hone is excited about the influx of young players. On a 20-man varsity roster, there are five sophomores and three freshman.

"The last couple of years we've been down in numbers," Hone said. "It's good that people are recognizing there's an opportunity here."

Most of South's experience is concentrated in the midfield where seniors Milos Govedarica, Brenden Howard and Andy Mansour return along with junior Patrick Johnson. They'll lead a group there that includes junior Tyler Connor and sophomores Alex Diaz and Jamie Roth.

"We expect to play through the midfield," Hone said. "We're going to be young in the back and you want to be strong in the back first, but the playmaking will come from the midfield."

The young defense will rely on junior Conor Bachus, who is expected to solidify the sweeper spot. Junior Patrick Ladue returns at goalkeeper, and he is competing with sophomore Andrew Bonnell for the starting spot. Also manning a young defense are junior Matt Hay, a first-year player, and freshman Henry Kuntze.

The defense also includes seniors Ever Rodriguez and Nkongehou Fomenky, as well as juniors Logan Michel and freshman Patrick Szymczak.

Several players are expect to contribute at forward including Diaz, senior Beh Kader, junior Sam Schumann and sophomore Brandon Foster. Freshman Joel Davis is also in the mix.

Last season ended with a 5-0 loss to Gahanna in the second round of the district tournament. South defeated Whetstone 3-2 in the first round.

In the OCC-Cardinal, the Wildcats tied Marysville for last in the league behind Jerome (7-0), Liberty (4-2-1), Olentangy (3-3-1), North (3-3-1), Central (3-4) and Scioto (2-4-1).

Schedules

BOYS

Aug. 27 -- vs. Pickerington North

Aug. 29 -- vs. Clayton Northmont

*Sept. 1 -- at Westerville Central

Sept. 3 -- at Reynoldsburg

Sept. 5 -- vs. Teays Valley

*Sept. 8 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

Sept. 12 -- vs. DeSales

*Sept. 15 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

Sept. 17 -- at Lexington

*Sept. 22 -- at Marysville

Sept. 24 -- vs. Worthington Christian

*Sept. 29 -- vs. Westerville North

*Oct. 6 -- vs. Olentangy

Oct. 8 -- vs. Delaware

*Oct. 13 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Oct. 15 -- at Westland

Oct. 17 -- at Hilliard Davidson

GIRLS

Aug. 25 -- vs. Gahanna

Aug. 27 -- at Pickerington North

*Aug. 31 -- vs. Westerville Central

Sept. 3 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 8 -- at Dublin Scioto

Sept. 12 -- vs. New Albany

*Sept. 15 -- at Dublin Jerome

Sept. 17 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*Sept. 22 -- vs. Marysville

Sept. 26 -- at Mansfield Madison

*Sept. 29 -- at Westerville North

Oct. 1 -- vs. Big Walnut

*Oct. 6 -- at Olentangy

*Oct. 13 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*OCC-Cardinal game