The Columbus Academy boys soccer team has set its sights on defending its district title and reaching the Division II state tournament.
The Vikings lost in a regional semifinal last season, 4-1 to Tipp City Tippecanoe.
"We really don't talk about last season," said coach Ron Leach, who is in his 14th season. "We're raring to go. We have a bunch of good kids. They're pretty competitive."
Academy opened with wins over Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (3-1 on Aug. 18) and Zanesville Rosecrans (3-0 on Aug. 22) before losing to Division I Pickerington North 6-3 on Aug. 25.
"It's a difficult schedule, but we wanted to challenge the boys, so hopefully it could be helpful when the tournament comes," said Leach, whose team visits Division I Westerville South on Thursday, Aug. 30.
Academy captured its first district championship last season since 2015 when it competed in Division III. It also won the MSL-Ohio Division title at 3-0-2, ahead of second-place Grandview (2-0-3).
The Vikings open league play Wednesday, Sept. 5, at Worthington Christian.
"It's a tough league, but the boys are up for the challenge," Leach said.
Junior Charlie Mueller was named first-team all-league last season. Senior midfielder Colin Sullivan was second-team all-league, and senior forward Tyler Schlonsky was honorable mention all-league.
Also back are seniors David Barren (forward), Aiden Macchia (midfielder), Alex McClellan (forward), Jacob Sardo (defender) and Evan Scott (defender), junior Elliott Simpson (defender) and sophomores Jonah Huston (midfielder) and Jared Kass (defender).
The Vikings are looking to replace 2018 graduate Justin Kahle in goal. Seniors Gunnar Geiger and Malcolm Klingbeil, both of whom are in their first season, have been competing for the spot.
"They're both good, quality kids," Leach said. "Both boys are learning quickly and they're good athletes, so that's made the transition a lot easier."
Other players are seniors Jacob Beck (forward) and Oscar Giller (defender) and juniors Blake Chiovaro (midfielder), Ashton Cofer (midfielder), Ezra Johnson (defender), Elias Marquez (midfielder) and Josh Murry (forward).
Girls soccer team out to good start
The girls soccer team kicked off the season on a positive note, as it was 3-0 before opening MSL-Ohio play Aug. 29 against Rosecrans.
All three wins were by shutout, as freshman Sophie Spolter has enjoyed a successful debut in goal.
"Sophie has the things you can't teach," second-year coach Matt Thompson said. "She's pretty athletic. She has good hands, good instincts, she's fearless, but she's very raw. She has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper for us."
Sophomore Katie Schiano (midfielder/forward) scored in a 1-0 win over Central Crossing on Aug. 21. She was second-team all-league last season.
Freshman Aniah Crockett (defender/midfielder/forward) scored twice in a 4-0 win over Fairbanks on Aug. 25. Four players scored in a 4-0 win over Ready on Aug. 23.
"We set our goals a while ago and the girls hold themselves to high standards," Thompson said. "We're not going to temper our expectations, we're just going to have to do things a little bit differently."
Juniors Annalise Grammel (mid-fielder/forward) and Sarah Neltner (defender/midfielder) were first-team all-league last season. Grammel and Neltner also were second-team all-district, and Schiano was third-team all-district.
Also back are seniors Megan Schmitz (defender/midfielder), Leah Pierre-Louis (midfielder/forward) and Madalynn Farkas (midfielder/forward), junior Emma Belford (midfielder/forward) and sophomores Olivia Archibald (midfielder/forward), Allison Bergman (midfielder/forward) and Hannah Clay (defender/midfielder/forward).
Other players are senior Caroline Mallory (defender/midfielder), sophomore Maggie Walther (defender/midfielder) and freshman Ashi Gunawardena (defender/midfielder).
The Vikings reached a Division III district final last season, losing to MSL-Ohio foe Grandview 1-0 in a shootout after going 6-0-1 in the league to win the title ahead of runner-up Worthington Christian (4-1-2).
Football team to face Linden
The football team will look to bounce back from a 42-14 loss at Cincinnati Wyoming on Aug. 24 when it plays host to Linden-McKinley on Friday, Aug. 31.
"Linden always has some athletes," coach Robin Miller said. "They will maximize their personnel and do what fits them. This week is really about us anyway. We have to get better."
Academy defeated Linden 42-0 last season.
Against Wyoming, the Vikings trailed 21-0 after one quarter. Brady Hess threw touchdown passes of 1 yard to Dorrian Moultrie and 9 yards to Harry Mills in the fourth.
The Vikings' offense managed just 143 yards. Hess completed 15 of 21 passes for 128 yards.
Senior captain Deven Cobb (OL/DL) underwent surgery Aug. 27 to repair two torn ligaments in his right ankle, according to Miller. The surgery went well and Cobb could return before the end of the season, Miller said.
Linden opened with a 26-0 loss to Washington (D.C.) Kingsman Academy.
The Panthers, who finished 2-8 last season, are led by junior quarterback Daviontae Wilson, senior running back Eddie Lewis and junior running back Shawn Blount.
Seniors DeFranko Nelms (DL) and Manuel Dunson (LB) are returning starters on defense.
Aug. 18 — vs. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
Aug. 22 — at Zanesville Rosecrans
Aug. 25 — vs. Pickerington North
Aug. 30 — at Westerville South
Sept. 1 — at Bloom-Carroll
*Sept. 5 — at Worthington Christian
*Sept. 8 — vs. Whitehall
Sept. 12 — vs. Jonathan Alder
Sept. 15 — vs. Wellington
Sept. 20— at Hartley
*Sept. 26— vs. Bexley
Sept. 29 — at Lancaster
*Oct. 3 — at Grandview
Oct. 6 — at Watkins Memorial
Oct. 11 — at Hamilton Township
Oct. 13 — vs. Granville
Aug. 21 — vs. Central Crossing
Aug. 23 — vs. Ready
Aug. 25 — vs. Fairbanks
*Aug. 29 — at Zanesville Rosecrans
*Sept. 5 — vs. Worthington Christian
*Sept. 8 — at Whitehall
Sept. 12 — vs. Buckeye Valley
*Sept. 15 — vs. Wellington
Sept. 17 — at Hartley
Sept. 22 — at West Liberty-Salem
Sept. 24 — at Licking Heights
*Sept. 26 — at Bexley
Oct. 1 — at Fairfield Union
*Oct. 3 — vs. Grandview
Oct. 8 — vs. Johnstown
Oct. 10 — vs. Columbus School for Girls
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 1 — Dual at the DeWine’s in Cedarville
*Aug. 30 — At Lancaster
Sept. 1 — At Shaker Heights
*Sept. 5 — Home vs. Granville
Aug. 30 — Upper Arlington at Scioto Country Club
Sept. 1 — Upper Arlington Invitational at Pinnacle
Sept. 4 — Big Walnut at Clover Valley
Sept. 5 — Watterson at Columbus Country Club
*Sept. 4 — At Worthington Christian
Sept. 5 — Home vs. Columbus School for Girls
*Aug. 30 — At Worthington Christian
Sept. 4 — Home vs. Tree of Life