After her team's 13-0 loss to state-ranked Grandview on Sept. 6, Whitehall-Yearling High School girls soccer coach Deanna Mascia met with Bobcats coach Mike Merna to discuss the game.
Merna complimented Mascia for the Rams' improvement in the program's second year. He particularly focused on the players' hustle despite facing a large deficit for most of the game.
"I know it's a new program and it's a tough game for them since we have a lot of club players and a lot more experience than they have, but I thought their players played hard the whole game," Merna said. "I thought their defenders individually had good technique. They're in a tough league (and) they have some tough games. They're going in the right direction."
Mascia said it was encouraging to receive positive feedback from an opposing coach.
"He complimented our girls that we worked hard for 80 minutes," Mascia said. "I like that this team never gives up. We give it our all for the 80 minutes that we're in there. The defense played well (and) we bodied up to girls. I always like getting compliments like that."
It was the MSL-Ohio Division opener for the Rams, who were 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the league before playing Worthington Christian on Sept. 11.
Whitehall, which finished 0-11 last season, is competing in the league for the first time.
Grandview was ranked third and Worthington Christian was tied for eighth in last week's Division III state poll.
Mascia hopes her program can someday reach the level of Grandview and Worthington Christian.
"We're trying to get the junior high involved. We're trying to start soccer programs over there," Mascia said. "New programs are always hard to start out, but I'm predicting a win this year. We've played a lot better than last year. (Grandview) was a state-ranked team and we knew it was going to be hard, but the girls never quit. I'm continually impressed by them."
Whitehall opened with an 8-1 loss to Groveport on Aug. 18 and followed with a 9-0 loss to Teays Valley on Aug. 23.
Junior goalkeeper Illeen Aguirre had 17 saves against Grandview and 22 against Teays Valley.
"Illeen is very good," Mascia said. "She had miraculous saves (against Teays Valley) and very good saves (against Grandview), too."
The Rams' league game against Bexley was postponed Sept. 5 because of a lack of officials. As of late last week, no makeup date had been determined.
Senior Patricia Paredes sees the improvement in her team's play.
"There's a big difference this year," she said. "We have more speed, more consistent dribbling, more passing, but we're still working on it. We keep on going no matter what the score is. We just keep on giving it all."
Paredes credits Mascia for that progress.
"She helps on everything," Paredes said. "She helps us to practice on our defense, offense, all of the positions that we need to learn."
earns first win
The football team will look to build on its first win of the season when it plays host to Hamilton Township on Friday, Sept. 15.
The Rams improved to 1-2 with a 38-10 win over Whetstone on Sept. 8, while the Rangers improved to 2-1 with a 44-28 win over Bexley on Sept. 8.
Hamilton Township has a new coach in Mike Savino. He replaced Nate Hillerich, who is now coaching Pickerington North.
The Rangers, who play in Division III, Region 11, are seeking their fourth consecutive postseason appearance. They won the MSL-Buckeye title last season at 7-0.
Against Whetstone, Raymell Byrd rushed for 127 yards and four touchdowns and Rasheed Muhammad added 121 yards rushing and a score.
"It means a lot to get this first win," wide receiver and linebacker O.C. Wellman said. "All the hard work and all the coaching that our coaches have been giving us is showing in our offense and defense. Before the game our coach stressed not every play is a touchdown and to trust the process and we did and it led us to a win. The 1-2 record does not define our team."
For Hamilton Township against Bexley, Drysten Crallie rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and caught a 29-yard scoring pass from Eric Bonte.
Girls volleyball team
out to good start
The girls volleyball team is 3-0 in the MSL-Ohio heading into a home match Thursday, Sept. 14, against Worthington Christian.
Last season, Worthington Christian went 10-2 in the league to finish second behind London (12-0).
The Rams were 6-4 overall before playing Millersport on Sept. 11. They defeated Grandview 25-14, 27-25, 25-15 on Sept. 5 and Columbus Academy 25-22, 26-28, 25-15, 25-14 on Sept. 7 in league matches.
"The girls have really started to work on their communication and staying positive," coach Danielle Jackson said. "They are realizing how good of a team they can be, which myself and the whole coaching staff has been telling them since we started the season."
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling cross country, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 16 -- Newark Invitational
Sept. 20 -- Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone
Sept. 16 -- Home vs. Whetstone
Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Columbus International
*Sept. 20 -- Home vs. Wellington
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Bexley
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. London
*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
Sept. 18 -- At Northland
Sept. 20 -- Home vs. Whetstone