The St. Charles Preparatory School soccer team wants to build on its accomplishments from its first season under coach Chris Vonau without looking into the past.
The Cardinals reached the Division I state championship game last year, falling to Cleveland St. Ignatius 2-1 at Mapfre Stadium to finish 21-1-1 overall.
"The players realize that last year is the past and that it has nothing to do with this year," said Vonau, whose team tied DeSales for the CCL title at 3-0-1.
"We are going in with the same mentality that we had last year, and that's to stay positive, energetic and stick together as a team."
St. Charles lost nine players to graduation, including first-team all-state forward Kristo Strickler, who now plays at Virginia Tech. He was district Player of the Year after leading the Cardinals with 19 goals and 14 assists.
Several key performers return to fill the void, including seniors Gabe Bordron (forward), Paul Hensley (forward), Jake Kiger (forward), Matt Martin (defender), Ian Smith (defender) and Peter Weislogel (defender) and juniors Christian Buendia (midfielder), Andrew Donley (forward), Ethan Marshall (defender) and Owen Sullivan (midfielder).
Donley had 12 goals last season, and Kiger scored eight. Smith had five goals and one assist, and Hensley had three goals and three assists.
"We're ready to go and finish the job," Smith said. "We want to take the next step and win it. The whole team was working hard in the weight room and over the summer. We want to take it game to game and week to week and get ready for the postseason."
Also lost to graduation was goalkeeper Chase Sanders, who had 92 saves and 15 shutouts. Junior Joseph Marchionda and freshman Jake Koehler are vying to play in goal.
"We lost a lot of good, talented guys, but we still have a very strong group back," said Vonau, whose team was 4-0 after defeating Canal Winchester 1-0 on Aug. 31. "We have some juniors who were heavy in the rotation last year and I feel we'll do well this year."
The Cardinals have shown balance early, with six players scoring in the first three games. Junior forward Austin Schmitt scored in a 1-0 win over Upper Arlington on Aug. 18, and Hensley, Sullivan and junior midfielder Kevin Macias scored in a 3-1 win over Watkins Memorial on Aug. 24.
St. Charles defeated Springboro 2-0 on Aug. 26 as Donley and Smith scored and Marchionda had five saves.
Football team reunites
The football team will play host to Independence on Friday, Sept. 8, in their first meeting since 1998.
The teams last played in a two-game, home-and-home series with the 76ers winning both contests. Independence won 24-14 at St. Charles in 1997 and 12-0 at home a year later.
The 76ers are 2-0 after defeating Johnstown 34-6 on Sept. 1. They defeated Reigning Sports Academy 44-0 on Aug. 25, rushing for 363 of their 383 total yards.
Demontae Taylor ran for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Kionte Blow was 3-for-6 passing for 18 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown to Devon Thompson.
Zion Johnson added 67 yards rushing and one score on six carries, and he also had a 41-yard fumble return for a touchdown at linebacker. Defensive back Daleron McCarrell had a 44-yard interception return for a score.
The Cardinals lost to Reynoldsburg 34-0 on Sept. 1.
"The kids were demoralized after that loss, and we as coaches have to make sure that it doesn't become a permanent mindset," coach Bob Jacoby said.
Aug. 18 -- at Upper Arlington
Aug. 24 -- at Watkins Memorial
Aug. 26 -- vs. Springboro
Aug. 31 -- at Canal Winchester
Sept. 2 -- vs. Whitehouse Anthony Wayne
*Sept. 5 -- at Hartley
Sept. 7 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 9 -- at Beavercreek
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Ready
Sept. 21 -- at Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 26 -- vs. Watterson
Sept. 28 -- vs. Westerville South
*Oct. 3 -- at DeSales
Oct. 5 -- vs. New Albany
Oct. 12 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Oct. 14 -- vs. Bexley
Below are the coming schedules for the St. Charles cross country, golf and water polo teams:
Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 9 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 9-10 -- Ohio Cup at Thomas Worthington