Making its first appearance in a Division I state semifinal still is paying off for the Dublin Coffman High School boys soccer team.
Many of the players who led the way, including last year's Ohio Mr. Soccer honoree Luke Kiley (24 goals) and Emeka Eneli (23 goals), were lost to graduation from the 19-2-2 team.
What the Shamrocks have is a nine-player senior class that includes some contributors from a year ago and a roster that third-year coach Brian Stoddard hopes will quickly mature.
"We're relatively young, but we have a lot of talent," Stoddard said. "This team is ultimately going to have to earn their respect and hopefully we can make a run at our eighth consecutive district title. I believe more in the idea that the deeper you get into the postseason, the more they get familiar with how they play under pressure in big games. It's an absolute learned game and if you'd done it a couple times you understand you're there for business."
Coffman opened Aug. 18 with a 2-1 loss at Olentangy but won 2-0 at Uniontown Green on Aug. 25 before playing Olentangy Orange on Aug. 28.
Junior midfielder Connor DesRoches is one of only three returning starters, along with seniors Colin Kirkley (midfielder) and Ben Sarver (defender).
Sophomore Trent McConnaughey is at goalkeeper, with sophomore Jered Harper serving as the backup.
DesRoches scored against Olentangy, while senior Troy McConnaughey (defender) and sophomore Ryan Sommerfeld (forward) scored against Green.
The other seniors are Hassan Ali (forward), Mert Buyulu (forward), Alex Fisher (defender), Nick Harris (forward), Hank Keefer (defender) and Sam Urwin (defender).
Joining Kirkley and DesRoches in the midfield are junior David Urrea Partida, who will be a "significant player for us," according to Stoddard, and junior Shinji Sakamoto.
Another playing a key role on defense is freshman center back Alex Anderson, with junior Sotaro Fujiyoshi also at defender.
Other key forwards include junior Hussein Ali and sophomore Braden Shoaf.
Also on the roster are juniors John Fuchik (midfielder), Joseph Gallo (midfielder) and Cade Williams (defender) and sophomores Jack Bailey (forward) and Roshan Singri (forward).
Volleyball team again has high expectations
One of the state's scrappiest girls volleyball teams the past three seasons has some of the same names returning this fall, but the Shamrocks might not look quite the same to those who watch them in person.
"It's a different look," 13th-year coach Mary Anne Souder said. "We're a little taller than we were last year. We had some good defensive players we graduated, so they're doing really well with it right now. I think we're a bigger hitting team this year. We would have a lot of long rallies, and now we're stronger in the front row and can put the ball to the floor."
Coffman followed its Division I state runner-up finish in 2015 by falling in back-to-back state semifinals.
Senior Riley Wagoner, a Hawaii commit at outside hitter, and senior Jacy Sheldon, an Ohio State commit for basketball who is moving from opposite hitter to setter, have been starters since they were freshmen.
With those two and 2018 graduates Dana Axner (libero) and Jennifer Schulze (setter) leading the way, Coffman finished with a state-record for Division I five-set matches with 148 digs in its 25-21, 25-27, 21-25, 25-21, 15-5 loss to eventual champion Cincinnati Ursuline Academy in last year's state semifinal.
The other seniors are Carmen Haefke (middle hitter), Kaitlyn Kopyar (middle hitter) and Lexi Piekarski (defensive specialist). Piekarski is a Kent State commit in women's lacrosse.
Also on the roster are juniors Angel Barrett (outside hitter/right-side hitter), Sadie Brown (outside hitter/middle hitter), Mackenzie Curry (opposite), Maddie Mayer (defensive specialist/outside hitter) and Arianna Rowe (defensive specialist) and sophomore Kendal Kolba (defensive specialist).
Brown and Curry are about 6-foot-1 and Haefke and Wagoner are about 6-0.
Coffman, which finished 25-3 overall last season and has won 11 consecutive league titles and 135 consecutive league matches, opened with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-19 win over Olentangy on Aug. 21 and beat Pickerington North 25-13, 25-20, 25-14 on Aug. 23.
The Shamrocks played Aug. 28 against Olentangy Orange, which they beat 25-13, 25-18, 25-21 in a regional semifinal last season.
"We have quite a few non-club players," Souder said. "They are a true high school team and their parents are all in on it."
Depth is strength for girls soccer team
With injuries to several players playing a major role, the girls soccer team struggled to a 4-6-8 overall finish in 2016.
Several freshmen and sophomores gained experience and returned from that team last season to help the Shamrocks improve to 12-2-4 overall and win the OCC-Central title at 3-0-2.
Now upperclassmen, seniors Ellie Redman (defender) and Zoe Wesp (defender) and juniors Emma Barthel (midfielder), Ashleigh Burris (defender), Kinsey Crabtree (midfielder), Simone Rivard-Roberts (forward/midfielder) and Kendra Siefker (defender) all are in their third seasons as key players.
Coffman opened by tying 2017 Division I state semifinalist Olentangy Liberty at 1 on Aug. 17 and followed with 3-0 victories over Thomas Worthington on Aug. 23 and Watkins Memorial on Aug. 25 before playing Olentangy Orange on Aug. 28.
"We invested pretty heavily in this junior class when they were freshmen coming in, so we've been accumulating talent and dealing with some setbacks each year, but overall every year they've been getting more consistent," third-year coach Costa Calorides said. "The first year is always hard because they don't know what to expect, but we've been fortunate in that each senior class we've had the last two years has been phenomenal on and off the field."
The only other senior in the program is defender McKenna Schaefer, but she is expected to miss the season with an injury.
Freshman Olivia Alford has taken over at goalie for 2018 graduate Izzie Vaccari, who is now playing for Fairmont State.
Sophomore forward Catherine Zugaro had three goals through three games, with Barthel contributing one goal and two assists.
Rivard-Roberts was Coffman's leading scorer last year with 10 goals and five assists.
Also on the team are junior Lara Schober (midfielder), sophomores Amanda Bailey (forward), Sydney Blake (midfielder) and MacKenzie Duff (midfielder/defender) and freshmen Julia Flynn (midfielder), Norah Roush (mid-fielder/defender) and Addie Vaccari (forward).
Aug. 18 -- at Olentangy
Aug. 25 -- at Uniontown Green
Aug. 28 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Sept. 4 -- vs. Westerville North
Sept. 8 -- at Copley
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 15 -- at Cincinnati St. Xavier
*Sept. 18 -- at Westland
Sept. 22 -- vs. Lexington (Ky.) Henry Clay
Sept. 23 -- vs. Lexington (Ky.) Paul Laurence Dunbar
*Sept. 27 -- vs. Marysville
Sept. 29 -- at Wadsworth
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Central Crossing
Oct. 4 -- vs. Jerome
*Oct. 9 -- at Upper Arlington
Oct. 13 -- at Cincinnati Moeller
Aug. 17 -- at Olentangy
Aug. 23 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Aug. 25 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
Aug. 28 -- at Olentangy Orange
Sept. 4 -- at Westerville North
Sept. 8 -- at Gahanna
Sept. 11 -- vs. Jerome
*Sept. 13 -- at Hilliard Davidson
*Sept. 20 -- vs. Westland
Sept. 22 -- vs. Canal Winchester
*Sept. 25 -- at Marysville
Sept. 29 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Oct. 2 -- at Central Crossing
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Oct. 11 -- vs. Delaware
Oct. 13 -- vs. Springboro
Aug. 21 -- at Olentangy
Aug. 23 -- at Pickerington North
Aug. 28 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
Aug. 30 -- vs. Westerville North
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson
*Sept. 6 -- at Westland
Sept. 7-8 -- Louisville (Ky.) Invitational
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Marysville
Sept. 15 -- vs. Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame
*Sept. 20 -- vs. Central Crossing
*Sept. 25 -- at Upper Arlington
*Sept. 27 -- at Davidson
Sept. 29 -- vs. Cleveland St. Joseph
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Westland
*Oct. 4 -- at Marysville
*Oct. 9 -- at Central Crossing
*Oct. 11 -- vs. Upper Arlington
Oct. 13 -- at Mason
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 1 -- Asics Hot Summer Bash at Hilliard Davidson
Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Sept. 1 -- Pinnacle Classic
Sept. 4 -- New Albany Invitational at New Albany Country Club
*Aug. 30 -- Home vs. Marysville
*Sept. 4 -- Home vs. Central Crossing