Despite expecting to be without a key player for most of the season, the goals remain the same for the Grove City High School boys soccer team.

The Greyhounds again have hopes of contending for OCC-Ohio Division and Division I district titles.

Senior forward Will Isaac is recovering from a left ACL injury suffered during the spring club season. Fifth-year coach Bryan Mulvany hopes Isaac can return late in the season.

"His goal is to come back for senior night (Oct. 9)," Mulvany said. "It's by committee (for now). You don't replace 26 goals by yourself, but if we can keep the ball out of the net, we might not have to score 26."

Isaac scored a team-high 26 goals last season and was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district.

Grove City was 1-0-1 before playing Central Crossing on Aug. 28, defeating Westerville North 1-0 on Aug. 17 and tying Canal Winchester at 2 on Aug. 23.

Junior forward Colin Mountain scored against North, and senior defender Randy Ith and junior forward Jordan Gray scored against Canal Winchester.

Ith was second-team all-league last season.

Junior goalkeeper Casey Thompson, who played junior varsity last season, totaled 14 saves in the two games.

"He's always had physical tools, it's just been can you make that jump in maturity level and now I feel real confident," Mulvany said of Thompson. "He's playing with confidence."

Also back are seniors Cameron Gantz (defender), Jared Lepard (defender), Logan McCrary (midfielder) and Justin Swavely (defender), juniors Alec Bollinger (midfielder), Colby Ross (forward), Nathan Steinhauser (defender) and Connor Williams (midfielder) and sophomores Nick Isaac (forward) and Tyler Lantzy (defender).

"We have a lot of young talent, which is really helpful, along with seven seniors," Lepard said. "We've been moving the ball really well and communicating a lot."

Other players are senior Sepehr Rodriguez (forward), junior Tilden LaBarge (midfielder), sophomores Alec Ray (midfielder) and Luke Taylor (midfielder) and freshman Brayden Harvey (forward).

Last season, Grove City finished 8-6-3 overall and 3-1-1 in the OCC-Ohio to place second behind Pickerington North (5-0).

"We finished second to Pick North two years in a row and the guys know what the goal is -- the goal is no more second," Mulvany said. "It's us, Pick North, Pick Central, Gahanna, Reynoldsburg (and) Lancaster. It's always tough, but we like it that way."

New-look girls soccer team again optimistic

Despite losing 11 players to graduation, the girls soccer team entered the season feeling optimistic.

The Greyhounds were 2-0 before playing Central Crossing on Aug. 28, defeating Westerville North 2-0 on Aug. 17 and Dublin Scioto 3-2 on Aug. 21.

Senior forward Sofie Galiffo and junior midfielder Anjuli Anderson scored against North. Junior forward Kennedy Fulks scored two goals and Anderson added one against Scioto.

Last season, Anderson was special mention all-league and Fulks was honorable mention all-league.

Junior Anna Guy returns as the starting goalie.

Also back are senior Allyson Schall (midfielder), juniors Arica Dougherty (defender), Alexia Jones (forward), Natalie Querry (defender), Maria Rossi (midfielder) and Camryn Rush (midfielder) and sophomore Kendall Jameson (midfielder).

Other players are seniors McKenna Buckley (defender), Autumn Hawkins (goalie) and Skylar Todd (defender), sophomores Macie Dearth (defender), Jenna Slabaugh (midfielder) and Sophia Tristano (defender) and freshman Alissa Schiff (midfielder).

"Our defense is coming together," said coach Josh Keller, who is in his ninth season. "I only have one true returner (Querry) on our defense. She started last year on the outside, but they're coming together and I'm happy with where we are right now. It's a long season. We're playing some tough teams this year and it's going to be hard."

Last season, Grove City went 12-5-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the OCC-Ohio to finish third behind Pickerington North (4-0-1) and Gahanna (3-0-2).

"It's going to be Pick North and Gahanna again," Keller said. "Pick North was a really good team last year, but also had really good juniors. Obviously, (senior forward) Alicia Donley is one of the best players in the state. I hope we're in the mix. We just have to keep working, keep grinding and get better."

Volleyball team looks to build on success

The girls volleyball team is looking to build on last season's 13-10 finish.

The Greyhounds were 3-0 before playing Central Crossing on Aug. 28. They begin OCC-Ohio play Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Lancaster.

Grove City defeated Lancaster 23-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-14 on Aug. 18 in a non-league match, Franklin Heights 25-3, 25-11, 25-8 on Aug. 21 and Newark 25-17, 25-9, 25-18 on Aug. 23.

"I like where the program is currently," said coach Alan Pham, who is in his 11th season. "The chemistry they built last year showed early this year. Normally we have young kids coming up, but this year the older kids basically held their own. They left no doubt who was going to make varsity this year."

Junior outside hitter Molly Michalak was second-team all-league last season, and senior libero Emily Scholl was honorable mention all-league.

Also back are seniors Kylie Chaney (setter), Cierra Dunn (middle hitter), Mya Linder (defensive specialist) and Kelli Schultz (setter), junior Lexi Bapst (outside hitter) and sophomores Lauren Lucas (right-side hitter/outside hitter) and Emily Parrett (middle hitter).

Junior Lauren Clark (defensive specialist) and sophomore Jaedyn Stonerock (right-side hitter/defensive specialist) round out the team.

Last season, Grove City went 3-7 in the OCC-Ohio to tie Lancaster for fourth behind champion Pickerington North (9-1).

"I really don't know which way this league is going to lean," Pham said. "I don't expect it to be anything different this year with rough competition for the league title. We just have to be prepared for it."

The Greyhounds lost just one player to graduation in right-side hitter Emily Moore, who was first-team all-league and second-team all-district last season after recording 144 kills.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 17 -- at Westerville North

Aug. 23 -- at Canal Winchester

Aug. 28 -- at Central Crossing

Aug. 30 -- at DeSales

Sept. 1 -- vs. Olentangy

Sept. 4 -- vs. Westland

*Sept. 13 -- at Lancaster

Sept. 15 -- vs. Grandview

Sept. 17 -- vs. Watkins Memorial

*Sept. 19 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Sept. 22 -- at Groveport

*Sept. 25 -- vs. Gahanna

Sept. 27 -- at Hilliard Darby

*Oct. 2 -- at Pickerington Central

*Oct. 9 -- vs. Pickerington North

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 17 -- at Westerville North

Aug. 21 -- at Dublin Scioto

Aug. 28 -- vs. Central Crossing

Aug. 30 -- vs. Bexley

Sept. 1 -- at Olentangy

Sept. 4 -- at Westland

Sept. 11 -- at Watkins Memorial

*Sept. 13 -- vs. Lancaster

*Sept. 19 -- at Reynoldsburg

Sept. 22 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*Sept. 25 -- at Gahanna

Sept. 27 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

*Oct. 2 -- vs. Pickerington Central

Oct. 4 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*Oct. 9 -- at Pickerington North

Oct. 11 -- vs. DeSales

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 18 -- at Lancaster

Aug. 21 -- at Franklin Heights

Aug. 23- vs. Newark

Aug. 26 -- at Bloom-Carroll with Canal Winchester and Hartley

Aug. 28 -- at Central Crossing

Aug. 29 -- at Olentangy

Aug. 30 -- vs. Westland

*Sept. 4 -- at Lancaster

*Sept. 5 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Sept. 11 -- at Ready

*Sept. 13 -- vs. Gahanna

Sept. 15 -- Kilbourne Tournament

*Sept. 20 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 25 -- vs. Pickerington North

*Sept. 27 -- vs. Lancaster

*Oct. 2 -- at Reynoldsburg

*Oct. 4 -- at Gahanna

*Oct. 9 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*Oct. 11 -- at Pickerington North

*League contest

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

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 1 -- Best of the South-West Invitational at Westland

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 30 -- Hilliard Davidson at Hickory Hills

Sept. 1 -- Upper Arlington Invitational at Pinnacle

Sept. 4 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 4 -- Davidson at Oakhurst

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 30 -- Home vs. Gahanna

*Sept. 4 -- At Pickerington Central

*League contest