The Worthington Christian High School boys soccer team believes it might have enough returning talent to remain among the top teams in Division III and contend for a league title during its first season in the MSL-Ohio Division.
Outhustling their opponents also should occur on a regular basis for the Warriors, if sixth-year coach Dan Roads' assessment is correct.
The Warriors, who lost to Cincinnati Summit Country Day 3-0 in a state semifinal last season after winning state titles in 2009 and 2011, lost 1-0 to Marysville in their opener Aug. 17.
"We're up there with past teams in terms of talent and athleticism," said Roads, who began this season with an 84-20-11 record. "It's also a highly energetic team. We're just hoping some other pieces come together. I think we've got the potential to be really good."
The Warriors return their leading scorer in Sam Condon, who is one of seven seniors and 13 returning letterwinners.
Condon, who had 22 goals and six assists a year ago as the Warriors went 13-6-3, is joined at forward by junior J.J. Phillips and freshman Shay Smith.
On defense are seniors Isaac Sayre, Mark Parsell and Jay Trainer and juniors Ben Davison, Ryan Dickinson, Kameron Early and Reed Klass.
Back at midfielder are seniors Sam Trautman, Jake Harrison and Mason Highman, junior Trent Strick and sophomore Joe Long. Juniors Graham Montgomery and Zac Herbst also are at the position.
Junior Jake Kress returns at goalkeeper.
The Warriors lost a 2013 senior class that included Quinn Miller and twins Albert Miller and George Miller. Quinn Miller made the ThisWeek Super 12 and is playing for Denison University. Albert Miller was Super 12 honorable mention.
After competing as an independent the last three seasons, Worthington Christian will compete in the MSL-Ohio with Grandview, London, Columbus Academy, West Jefferson, Whitehall, Grove City Christian and Bexley.
Girls soccer team has strong junior class
There are nine returning starters for the girls soccer team, including last year's leading scorer in junior forward Devon Jones, who had 34 goals and five assists.
The only seniors are goalkeeper Sami Jones and defender Taylor Klass.
"We played in a preseason tournament and played some Division I schools and did well," coach Shari Welsh said. "Things have been going well."
The Warriors, who went 10-7-1 and lost to Ready 3-1 in a Division III district semifinal last season, also return six other juniors who started last year in Natalee Cole (midfielder), Paxton Hood (defender), Hadley Jones (center back), Shirley Rettstatt (midfielder/goalkeeper), Kasey Richards (defender) and Lauren Weygandt (midfielder). Freshman Bridget Rettstatt will be at outside midfielder and classmate Kirsten Frazier will play forward. Sophomore Courtney Parsell also is looking to contribute.
The Warriors are competing in the MSL-Ohio with Columbus Academy, Grandview, Madison Plains, London, West Jefferson and Bexley.
"We're going into the conference for the first time (in my tenure) and we're hoping to win it," Welsh said.
Girls volleyball team boosted by youth
The girls volleyball team is looking forward to competing in an MSL-Ohio that also includes Columbus Academy, London, Grandview, West Jefferson, Madison Plains, Whitehall and Bexley.
"We think with last year's team we may have won that league," coach Matt Liston said. "With this team coming up, we're going to give it a heck of a run."
The Warriors features six seniors, one junior and four freshmen.
Senior Ali Spayde will be the setter, seniors Molly McIntosh and Emily Griffith are in the back row and senior Janelle Wilcox is a right-side hitter. Seniors Maggie Cunningham and Audrey Lewis and junior Lauren Osborn are outside hitters.
Freshmen Hannah Cook (middle hitter), Sarah Foor (outside hitter), Grace Fraker (libero/back row) and Emma Rider (middle hitter) also are looking to contribute.
Camila Quinones, a 2013 graduate who started at middle hitter the last two seasons, is playing for Wittenberg University.
The Warriors went 16-6 a year ago, losing in a Division IV district semifinal to Harvest Prep 25-18, 24-26, 19-25, 25-18, 25-12.
"The nice thing is that the girls have really jelled and have a lot of fun together," Liston said.
Golf team returns veteran cast
The boys golf team again is led by senior Robert Maloney, who helped the Warriors reach the state tournament as a sophomore and was the team's No. 1 player last season.
On Aug. 13 in the MSL preseason tournament at Darby Creek, Worthington Christian finished third (329) of seven teams behind Columbus Academy (315) and Bexley (317) as Maloney was medalist with a 68.
Last season, Maloney shot 77 in a Division III sectional at Pine Hill as the Warriors were fourth (345) but only the top two teams advanced to district.
Also back after competing at the sectional last year are seniors Tyler Hood and Graham Montgomery and sophomore Jared Montgomery.
Junior Kyle Mattson and sophomore Nathan Kim are others in the program.
The Warriors finished eighth (342) in the 11-team Division III Warrior-Jaguar Invitational on Aug. 15 at NorthStar behind champion Academy (308).
"We hope to get them all ready for the sectional and district," coach Tom Burns said. "The Central District is so good at the sectional that you've got to play your best golf at the right time."