Despite having a roster dominated by underclassmen, Grove City Christian School boys soccer coach Dan Milam believes his team has potential.
The Eagles got out to a good start, as they were 3-0-1 before playing Tree of Life on Sept. 5. They opened MSL-Cardinal Division play with a 2-1 win over Fisher Catholic on Aug. 31.
Grove City Christian defeated New Hope Christian 5-4 on Aug. 26 and bounced back from a 1-all tie against Amanda-Clearcreek on Aug. 26 to defeat West Jefferson 11-4 on Aug. 29.
"I'm happy with where we're at," said Milam, who is in his second season. "We have a lot to learn about ourselves. We're a young team, a sophomore-heavy team. Our potential talent on this team is far greater than what we've seen in quite a while."
The Eagles are seeking their fourth consecutive winning season. They lost seven players to graduation, but Milam believes the returning nucleus should help the team reach its goals.
Senior midfielder Zach Lantzy led the Eagles in scoring last season with 18 goals and nine assists and was first-team all-MSL-Ohio Division and second-team all-district.
Lantzy scored three goals against West Jefferson and both goals against Fisher Catholic.
Junior goalkeeper A.J. Gillespie had 117 saves last season and was honorable mention all-league.
"We have a very good team this year," Gillespie said. "Last year we had a very talented team with a lot of very good seniors and when they graduated I feel like a lot of people outside of our team felt with them being gone we weren't going to have much of a team, but a lot of the younger guys have really stepped up in practice and started putting in work."
Also back are seniors Isaac Harmeyer (defender), Riley Peters (forward) and James Rieser (midfielder), juniors Gavin Robbins (defender) and Samuel Woods (defender) and sophomores David Claffey (midfielder), Zachary Lauron (midfielder) and Carter Stedtefeld (defender).
Other players are sophomores Juliana Hunt (midfielder), Griffin Milam (defender), Seth Ortega (midfielder) and Cristian Quiroz (defender/midfielder).
The Eagles have moved to the MSL-Cardinal. Along with Fisher Catholic, they will compete against Harvest Prep, Wellington and Zanesville Rosecrans.
"Wellington will be one of the top teams in central Ohio and Rosecrans is pretty strong," Milam said. "Our goal is to win the division, but we have some tough challenges."
Volleyball coach likes
team's work ethic
Girls volleyball coach Joe Bradford has been pleased with his team's effort.
The Eagles improved to 5-2 after going 2-1 in the Worthington Christian Invitational on Sept. 2 to finish third.
They opened MSL-Cardinal play by defeating Harvest Prep 25-11, 25-18, 25-21 on Aug. 31.
"We're off to a decent start," said Bradford, who is in his ninth season. "We're very young, so every day is kind of a new adventure and so far the kids are up to the task."
Junior outside hitter Calista Manns was second-team all-district and all-league last season, and junior middle hitter Katie Jacobs was honorable mention all-district and all-league.
Also back are juniors Gidgyt Hartman (outside hitter), Taylor Oda (setter) and Brooke Poling (outside hitter).
Sophomores Brooke Benson (defensive specialist/outside hitter), Odette Espinosa (defensive specialist), Sophia Hoyt (middle hitter), Madeline Lewis (middle hitter) and Ashley Stoll (defensive special-ist/setter) have been promoted from the junior varsity.
Seniors Savannah Carter (outside hitter) and Jessalyn Hoyt (middle hitter/outside hitter) are new to the sport.
"The seniors have come out and given us a little bit of depth," Bradford said. "They're still inexperienced. They're getting a little better every day."
Golf team under
Senior returnee Jason Baker is the No. 1 player for the boys golf team, and junior returnee Gabe Baugess is playing in the No. 2 spot.
Junior Gavin Robbins and senior Caleb Sullivan are new to the team and have been the No. 3 and No. 4 golfers, respectively.
"Caleb is doing quite well," first-year coach Josh Braniff said. "I have him as my (No. 4 player) and he's pretty impressive for never playing the sport before. I'm also impressed with Gavin Robbins."
Rounding out the team are senior Kendrick Beard, juniors Jacob Brunney and Mark Reiser, sophomore Tim Sullivan and freshman Ethan Koch.
Grove City Christian finished third (390) in the MSL-Cardinal midseason tournament Aug. 26 at Turnberry behind Wellington (307) and Fisher Catholic (359) and ahead of Rosecrans (489).
"A couple tournaments we shot quite well, and there (were) a couple tournaments that we went downhill a little bit," Braniff said "They're still progressing quite well. Especially the few that have not played the sport before, it's impressive to see how athletic they are and how well they've been playing."
Cross country coach
Fourth-year cross country coach Mindy Bankey has been pleased with her program's improvement.
The girls team has seven sophomores and one freshman on the roster, led by sophomore Rachel Mitchell.
Other runners are sophomores Hannah Allen, Natalie Bankey, Maddy Bliss, Olivia Ellis, Maggie Isner and Sydney King and freshman Olivia Carson.
"I'm excited to see the other girls on the team work hard in an effort to push Rachel while improving their times too in the process," Bankey said. "I'm blessed with a great group and look forward to seeing them gain success in the meets ahead."
Junior Will Mayhew and sophomores Kyle Martin and Colton Sisler have been competing for the boys team.
"The boys are close to one another with times so far, so they're pushing each other hard," Bankey said.
seeks first win
The football team will look for its first win when it plays host to Dayton Jefferson Township on Friday, Sept. 8.
The Eagles fell to visiting Crestline 7-0 on Sept. 1, allowing the game's only score about midway through the fourth quarter.
"We made a major improvement," said coach Hank Patterson, whose team lost to Springfield Catholic Central 41-7 in its opener Aug. 25. "It's a day-to-day journey. We have to keep fighting and they're putting up a great fight."
Ian Sinclair rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries, and Christian Lautenschleger added 42 yards on five carries.
Jefferson Township fell to 0-2 with a 34-20 loss to Fayetteville-Perry on Sept. 1.
"It should be another tough contest for us," Patterson said. "I'm proud of the guys keeping (Crestline) at bay. That game could have gone to overtime."
Aug. 21 -- New Albany Classic
Aug. 26 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Sept. 2 -- Circleville Kiwanis Invitational
Sept. 9 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 16 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Sept. 23 -- Williamsport Westfall Invitational
Sept. 30 -- Eagle Invitational at home
Oct. 7 -- MSL-Cardinal meet at Millersport
Aug. 7 -- Columbus Academy at Columbus Country Club
Aug. 8 -- MSL-Cardinal preseason tournament at Cumberland Trail
Aug. 10 -- Licking Heights at High Lands
Aug. 14 -- London at London Country Club
Aug. 21 -- Shekinah Christian at Marysville Golf Club
Aug. 22 -- Tree of Life at Champions
Aug. 26 -- MSL-Cardinal midseason tournament at Turnberry
Aug. 31 -- Grandview at Hickory Hills
Sept. 11 -- Shekinah Christian at Marysville Golf Club
Sept. 12 -- Tree of Life at Oakhurst
Sept. 14 -- Grandview at Oakhurst
Sept. 18 -- MSL-Cardinal postseason tournament at Westchester
Sept. 19 -- Watkins Memorial at Highlands
Aug. 18 -- vs. New Hope Christian
Aug. 26 -- at Amanda-Clearcreek
Aug. 29 -- vs. West Jefferson
*Aug. 31- vs. Fisher Catholic
Sept. 5 -- at Tree of Life
*Sept. 9 -- vs. Harvest Prep
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Wellington
Sept. 14 -- vs. Delaware Christian
Sept. 16 -- at Ready
*Sept. 20 -- at Fisher Catholic
*Sept. 22 -- at Wellington
*Sept. 27 -- at Harvest Prep
*Sept. 30 -- vs. Zanesville Rosecrans
*Oct. 7 -- at Zanesville Rosecrans
Oct. 10 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Aug. 19 -- vs. Whetstone
Aug. 22 -- at Delaware Christian
Aug. 28 -- vs. New Hope Christian
*Aug. 31 -- vs. Harvest Prep
Sept. 2 -- Worthington Christian Invitational
*Sept. 7 -- at Fairfield Christian
*Sept. 9 -- at Zanesville Rosecrans
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Berne Union
*Sept. 14 -- at Harvest Prep
*Sept. 19 -- at Fisher Catholic
*Sept. 21 -- vs. Millersport
*Sept. 23 -- vs. Zanesville Rosecrans
Sept. 26 -- at Columbus Academy
Sept. 30 -- Bruin Invitational at Briggs
*Oct. 3 -- vs. Fairfield Christian
*Oct. 5 -- at Berne Union
Oct. 9 -- vs. Madison Christian
*Oct. 10 -- vs. Fisher Catholic
*Oct. 12 -- at Millersport