As Steve Lesmes begins his first season as coach of the Westerville North High School girls soccer team, he realizes he has a rich tradition to maintain.

As Steve Lesmes begins his first season as coach of the Westerville North High School girls soccer team, he realizes he has a rich tradition to maintain.

Lesmes replaces Tim Lawrence, who resigned as coach because of family commitments. Lawrence was an assistant coach with the Warriors for three seasons before taking over the program in 1989. He compiled a 317-86-57 record in 23 seasons.

Last season, Lesmes was the junior varsity boys coach at North.

"Coming into (the girls program at) Westerville North is a great treat just because you're not coming in and creating a program, you're just building on top of something that's already been done," Lesmes said. "It's a tradition of success and I just hope to try and continue that success."

North opened Aug. 21 at Dublin Coffman and begins OCC-Cardinal Division play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Hilliard Darby.

Last season, the Warriors finished 8-6-3 overall and reached a Division I district final, where they lost to Gahanna 2-0. Seeded 10th in the district, North defeated Zanesville 4-1 in the second round and fifth-seeded Hilliard Davidson 1-0 in a district semifinal before falling to fourth-seeded Gahanna.

The Warriors went 3-2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal last year to place third, behind Dublin Jerome (7-0) and Dublin Scioto (4-2-1) and ahead of Westerville Central (3-3-1), Olentangy (2-4-1), Olentangy Liberty (2-4-1), Marysville (2-5) and Westerville South (1-4-2).

Jerome was the Division I state runner-up last season, losing to Strongsville 1-0 in the state final.

"We want to beat all the Westerville schools and we want to go far in the tournament and achieve what we plan to do, which is obviously win district and then regional," senior forward Aryn Shields said.

In addition to Shields, returnees for the Warriors are seniors Jonnie Castro (defender), Haylie Garman (forward), Natasha Georgantis (forward), Abbey Miltko (forward), Kaitlin Moore (midfielder), Cassaddie Roach (defender) and Missy Ward (midfielder), juniors Maureen Kelly (goalkeeper) and Kelsey Walker (midfielder) and sophomores Hayley Hotchkiss (midfielder), Sydney Learn (midfielder), Caitlin Pierson (forward) and Peri Wiley (defender).

Also on the team are junior Hannah Ferimer (defender) and sophomores Morgan Pearce (defender), Emily Siemer (defender) and Asia Williams (defender).

The Warriors lost six players from a year ago to graduation, including forward Allie Sieradzki and defender Rachael Davis.
Sieradzki was named first-team all-league, all-district and all-state last season and is playing at Cleveland State. Davis was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.

Last season, North defeated South 3-0 and tied Central at 1.

As part of OCC realignment this summer, Darby, Hilliard Bradley and Worthington Kilbourne have joined the OCC-Cardinal. Liberty and Marysville moved to the OCC-Central and Olentangy moved to the OCC-Capital.

Central coach sees 'a lot of potential'

Central, which finished 7-10-1 overall last season, opened its first season under coach Devon Cannon with a 3-2 loss to Davidson on Aug. 20.
Cannon, 29, takes over the program from Adham Schirg, who resigned in June after two seasons. A 2001 graduate of DeSales and 2006 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he played at the high school and college levels as well as in a semi-professional league in Germany.

Cannon was an assistant under Schirg last season after serving as an assistant at Reynoldsburg in 2010. His coaching résumé also includes a stint as an assistant at Cincinnati Withrow.

"I like what I see so far," said Cannon, whose team begins OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Scioto. "There's a lot of potential. Whenever the leadership changes, sometimes the cultures aren't the same. Expectations are always going to be different when you change. I'm looking for that potential to show come October and not at the beginning of August."

Central, which opened the Division I district tournament last season with a 3-0 win over Marysville in the second round before losing to seventh-seeded Bradley 1-0 in a district semifinal, returns 11 players.

Among the returnees is senior midfielder Morgan Johnson, who was second-team all-league last season.

Also back are seniors Megan Gray (goalie), Shae Feenstra (defender), Caroline Fruhling (midfielder), Athena Nehez (midfielder), Regan Pollard (defender/forward), Kristen Post (forward) and Abby Rothney (midfielder) and juniors Danielle Kessling (defender), Alex MacLeod (forward/midfielder) and Allison Ruman (defender).

"There are a lot of sophomores who (also) will probably be big contributors," Cannon said.

Central lost eight players from a year ago to graduation, including midfielder Taylor Wells and defender Carly Morris.

Wells led the team in scoring with 14 goals and six assists and was first-team all-district and all-league. Morris was third-team all-district and first-team all-league.

South looking to build on 2011

South showed marked improvement last season, finishing 6-8-3 overall after going 1-16 in 2010.

Fourth-year coach Brandi Tanler is looking for more improvement this fall. The Wildcats opened Aug. 21 against Reynoldsburg and begin OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Kilbourne.

"We have a lot more experience this year," said Tanler, whose team opened the Division I district tournament last season with a 1-0 overtime loss to New Albany. "We're a little bit older. I definitely like what I've seen."

Among South's returnees are junior forward Mikaela Couch, who had a team-high nine goals last season and was second-team all-league, and junior goalie Cara Calland, who had 89 saves and was honorable mention all-league.

Also on the team are seniors Jenna Applegett (midfielder) and Stephanie Redd (defender), juniors Sami Davis (forward), Dominique Dosky (defender), Casey Kusan (forward), Sam Roth (midfielder) and Sara Stiles (midfielder), sophomores Lauren Frank (forward), Charley Goodwin (midfielder) and Tricia Roederer (defender) and freshman Chloe Marburger (defender).

South posted its only OCC-Cardinal victory last year against Scioto, which was seeded sixth in the Division I district tournament. The Wildcats beat the Irish 1-0.

"It's really the same competition as last year," Tanler said of the newly-aligned OCC-Cardinal. "There are strong teams throughout central Ohio. That's never going to change. It doesn't matter what teams you play. You're still going to have competitive games."