Despite losing his top player to graduation, Grove City High School boys golf coach Eric Joreski is confident his team is positioning itself for success.

The Greyhounds are looking to replace Nick Erwin, a four-year letterwinner who capped his prep career by tying for 16th (77) in the Division I district tournament last season. He now is playing baseball at Ohio State.

"We're going to miss Nick, but we'll be all right," said Joreski, who is in his 12th season. "We have a group of very hard-working young golfers. We only have one senior in the program this year. ... The group we have this year has worked their tails off and it showed with some of the scores during tryouts. They've been solid."

Junior Ian Johnston and sophomore Jeremiah Bane were second-team all-league last season. Both competed for the top spot in the preseason.

"This is Ian's third year as a varsity player and both of them had great summers playing in a lot of different tournaments," Joreski said. "They're both relentless workers. They want to be not good golfers, they want to be great golfers and they're constantly working."

Nathan Eberle, the team's only senior, should land a starting spot and is expected to provide leadership.

"I'm ready," said Eberle, who is looking to qualify for his first district tournament. "There's a lot of pressure, but I'm ready to take on the challenge. I don't mind where I play, I'm just ready to get out there and play and try to help my team as much as I can."

Junior Connor Estep also should be in the mix.

A competition for the final starting spot developed in the preseason between sophomore Thatcher Wilson and freshmen Nash Linder, Trent Ruffing and Jackson Ware.

"I'm excited about this group," Joreski said. "They have put in a ton of effort into their games. ... They have high expectations and the one thing we're preaching to our kids is they have to believe in themselves because they have put in the time and they have the ability."

The Greyhounds, who went 13-7 in the four-round OCC-Ohio Division tournament last season to finish third behind champion Gahanna (17-3), opened league play by finishing fourth (326) on Aug. 7 at Darby Creek behind the first-place Lions (300). Bane tied for sixth with a 78.

Grove City finished fourth (326) in the second round Aug. 13 at Apple Valley, behind first-place Gahanna (311).

"The league looks pretty strong," Joreski said. "We had a new champion last year in Gahanna and they have just about everybody back, so they're going to be very strong. Pickerington North is always going to be strong. Pickerington Central has a very good young team, so it's going to be a battle.

"All you can ask for is you put yourself in position in those first three rounds to have a chance in that final round."

Sophomore to lead girls golf team

Sophomore Lizzie Saur is back to lead the girls golf team after emerging as its top player last season.

Saur is looking for a return trip to the Division I district tournament after tying for 33rd (85) last fall. She also was first-team all-OCC-Ohio.

Grove City opened Aug. 6 by finishing 12th (425) in the 15-team Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson behind champion New Albany (295). Saur led the Greyhounds with a 78.

The Greyhounds opened league play Aug. 8 at Cooks Creek, finishing fourth (407) behind first-place Pickerington North (342). Saur led the Greyhounds with an 87.

"A couple of the girls have very strong feelings of going to district this year. That will be our team goal," sixth-year coach Megan Blaney said. "Can we make it there as a team? I know a few girls if they can't get there with their team, they will absolutely make a run for it as an individual."

Junior returnee Abby Jones is expected to be the No. 2 golfer. Freshman Katie Thrun has emerged as the No. 3 golfer, while sophomore returnee Ysabel Gomez is No. 4.

"I can tell that Katie has a real knack for the game and it looks like it comes easy for her," Blaney said. "She seems pretty athletic. She'll be a good third scorer for us and she has great room for improvement."

Junior Alexis Hyder is the No. 5 player. Freshman Samantha Paduchik also is looking to contribute.

"The team is looking really good," Blaney said. "I can tell that my girls have put in some work over the summer. A few of them are really dedicated. They're playing in tournaments, they're practicing and (they're) taking lessons. I can see that their dedication has paid off."

Last season, Grove City went 11-9 in the OCC-Ohio to finish third behind co-champions Pickerington North and Gahanna (both 18-2).

Witteman begins landmark season

Girls tennis coach Dan Witteman is celebrating his 30th season with the program.

The Greyhounds opened Aug. 13 against Teays Valley and begin OCC-Ohio play Aug. 23 at Lancaster.

Grove City lost five of its seven starters to graduation, with senior Becca Bane and junior Olivia Norbut being the only returning players. Both competed for the first-singles spot in the preseason, with Norbut holding a slight edge, according to Witteman.

Juniors Lexi Townsend and Emma Smith competed for the third-singles position.

Seniors Jenna Stroud and Alaynah Burke will play first doubles early in the season, with senior Emma Olander and junior Josie Susi at second doubles.

"We've taken some pretty positive steps forward," Witteman said. "We're starting to come together. Where people are going to play is becoming more clear now."

Last season, the Greyhounds finished 18-4 overall and went 2-3 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Gahanna and Lancaster for third behind champion Pickerington Central (5-0).

"The league is always tough," Witteman said.

Grove City again will play in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I team tournament. It will face Reynoldsburg in the first round Aug. 28, and the match also will serve as a league contest.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 6 -- Teays Valley Invitational at Foxfire

Aug. 7 -- OCC-Ohio at Darby Creek

Aug. 11 -- Fairfield Federal Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 13 -- OCC-Ohio at Apple Valley

Aug. 21 -- Olentangy Berlin at Bent Tree

Aug. 23 -- Pickerington North at Cumberland Trail

Aug. 28 -- OCC-Ohio at Denison Golf Club

Aug. 30 -- Hilliard Davidson at Hickory Hills

Sept. 1 -- Pinnacle Classic at Pinnacle

Sept. 4 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club

Sept. 8 -- Hickory Hills Invitational at Hickory Hills

Sept. 10 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders

Sept. 12 -- OCC-Ohio at Turnberry

Sept. 15 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club

Sept. 18 -- Dublin Scioto and Hilliard Bradley at Pinnacle

Sept. 22 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills

Sept. 25 -- Olentangy Berlin and Pickerington Central at Pinnacle

Sept. 29 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 6 -- Gahanna Invitational at Jefferson

Aug. 8 -- OCC-Ohio at Cooks Creek

Aug. 10 -- Pickerington North Invitational at Turnberry

Aug. 13 -- Hilliard Davidson at Rolling Meadows

Aug. 16 -- OCC-Ohio at Royal American

Aug. 20 -- Ready at Foxfire

Aug. 21 -- Westerville North at Royal American

Aug. 29 -- OCC-Ohio at Westchester

Sept. 4 -- Hilliard Davidson at Oakhurst

Sept. 6 -- Westerville Central at Oakhurst

Sept. 11 -- Westerville South at Pinnacle

Sept. 12 -- OCC-Ohio at Royal American

Sept. 13 -- Hilliard Bradley at Oakhurst

Sept. 15 -- Bloom Carroll Invitational at Pine Hill

Sept. 18 -- Westerville North at Oakhurst

Sept. 20 -- Westerville Central at Royal American

Sept. 24 -- Hilliard Bradley at Thorn Apple

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 13 -- at Teays Valley

Aug. 14 -- vs. Hamilton Township

Aug. 18 -- SWCS tournament at home

Aug. 20 -- vs. Westerville Central

Aug. 21 -- vs. Worthington Christian

*Aug. 23 -- at Lancaster

*Aug. 28 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

*Aug. 30 -- vs. Gahanna

*Sept. 4 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 6 -- vs. Pickerington North

Sept. 10 -- at Hilliard Darby

Sept. 11 -- vs. Ready

Sept. 12 -- vs. Westerville South

Sept. 13 -- vs. Marysville

Sept. 17 -- at Thomas Worthington

Sept. 18 -- vs. DeSales

Sept. 20 -- at Hilliard Bradley

Sept. 25 -- vs. Delaware

Sept. 26 -- vs. Grandview

Sept. 27 -- vs. Hartley

Oct. 1 -- at Watkins Memorial

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 20 -- New Albany Invitational

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 17 -- At Westerville North

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 17 -- At Westerville North

Aug. 21 -- At Dublin Scioto

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 21 -- At Franklin Heights