By the end of last season, Wellington School boys soccer coach J.J. Bain believes his team was clicking similarly to the way it was at the end of 2016 when it won a Division III district championship.
The Jaguars lost just two starters from last season to graduation and might be a step ahead of where they were at this time a year ago.
On Aug. 21 in its opener, Wellington beat Worthington Christian 3-2 as junior forward Ahmet Ozer had two goals and junior midfielder Freddie Lin scored the other.
Last season, the Jaguars lost to the Warriors 1-0 in a district final to finish 11-6-2.
"Last year, we had a lot of turnover from 2016, so it kind of felt like by the end of the season we had gotten ourselves back to that level," said Bain, who is in his fifth season. "We were probably good enough to win (the district title), but we lost a tight game and now we have most everyone back so we're hopefully starting at a better starting point than last year."
The Jaguars opened MSL-Cardinal Division action with wins over Fisher Catholic (5-0 on Aug. 27) and Zanesville Rosecrans (2-0 on Aug. 29) before playing Harvest Prep on Sept. 5.
Leading the senior class are J.R. O'Toole (goalkeeper), Katz Kadlic (center back) and Ben Sierzputowski (center back).
Junior Eli Dulle (midfielder/forward) also has returned after totaling 15 goals and 10 assists last season. Sophomore Jordan Livits (forward), who had four goals and 14 assists a year ago, has been recovering from an injury.
Ozer scored three goals against Fisher Catholic as the Jaguars continue to find ways to replace Brad Biehl, a 2018 graduate who had 25 goals and six assists last year.
The other seniors are Ian Frim (defender), Mac Hammett (defender), Andrew Haraburda (forward), Evan Scott (forward), Adam Sorrels (midfielder) and Luke Wilson (forward).
Also on the team are juniors Adenola Atekoja (forward), Nick Robinson (defender) and Julian Shuttleworth (defender) and freshman Henry Lin (midfielder).
Last fall, Wellington went 7-0-1 to win the MSL-Cardinal in its first season in the league.
"We played Reynoldsburg and Upper Arlington in our scrimmages and I felt pretty good about those two games," Bain said. "We've got a lot of good Division II teams on our schedule and we play Dayton Christian (Saturday, Sept. 8) and they're usually state-ranked in Division III."
Girls soccer team molding new, old
The girls soccer team is 2-1 after opening with a 2-1 loss to Bloom-Carroll on Aug. 20 and beating Johnstown 2-0 on Aug. 27 and Hartley 1-0 on Aug. 30.
The Jaguars, who won five games in 2016 but improved to 12-5-1 last season, have six seniors leading the way.
"It's been going well," third-year coach Lindsey Smith said. "We lost a lot of seniors that were key players for us, but we've picked up some new kids that are contributing in a major way, so it'll be exciting to see what they can accomplish."
Senior Addie Shock (defender/midfielder), who has significant club experience but is in her first season with the Jaguars, is taking on a key leadership role, according to Smith, along with senior Chloe Locker (midfielder/forward). Shock had two goals and one assist through three games.
Shock's sister, freshman Sloane Shock, is at center back and could be the team's best defender, according to Smith.
Junior Maddy Morosky (midfielder/forward) is a transfer from Grandview who played as a freshman for the Bobcats but did not play last fall. Her sister, freshman Mary Morosky (forward), was expected to play a key role on offense but is out for the season with a knee injury.
Junior Eli Burkhardt and sophomore Lina Grohovsky are splitting time at goalie, with Burkhardt also seeing time at forward and Grohovsky also playing in the midfield.
Senior Catherine Zallanta (midfielder/forward) had 13 goals and four assists last season while making honorable mention all-MSL-Ohio as the Jaguars finished fourth in the league at 4-3.
Other key returnees include seniors Mackenzie Beam (defender) and Ana Dorenbusch (defender/midfielder) and sophomores Christine Cooke (midfielder) and Reagan Kadlic (defender).
Also on the team are senior Soleil Tibbets-Barnes (def-ender/midfielder), juniors Anna Chester (defender), Mia Croft (defender) and Ellie Weinberg (forward), sophomores Caroline Cooke (midfielder), Lu Godfrey (forward), Mari Hannah (defender) and Lola Perez (defender) and freshmen Abigail Burkhardt (midfielder/forward) and Jamie Murphy (midfielder/forward).
The Jaguars lost three of their top scorers from last season in 2018 graduates Jakaysha Williams (25 goals, 9 assists), Liv Penegor (12 goals, 7 assists) and Zoe Beatty (6 goals, 14 assists). Penegor is playing for Rochester, Beatty is at Caltech and Williams is playing for Ohio State's club team.
"We have new pieces we're combining with our old pieces, so a big emphasis is chemistry and cohesiveness, but also challenging each other," Smith said. "We've got a lot of room to grow."
Girls golf team grows in depth, talent
After having four competitors and sometimes not being able to post a team score last fall, the girls golf team has six players on its roster this season.
According to 13th-year coach Bill Miller, all of the returnees have improved their averages compared to past seasons.
Seniors Ella Sweitzer and Veronica Poster, junior Lexi Horan and sophomore Paige Bennett all are returnees.
Junior D'nisa Oocumma, a transfer from Westerville Central, and junior Ali Winter are new to the team.
"We've had a good start to the season," Miller said. "Each of our returning players has improved their shot placement and manages the course better. We have two new golfers (who) are learning the game and just getting the course during a match."
Because Grandview doesn't have enough players to post a team score, the Jaguars were 2-6 in the MSL-Ohio before facing London on Sept. 4.
The seeding meeting will be held Sept. 16 and the postseason begins with sectionals Sept. 24 at Blacklick Woods and Sept. 25 at Bent Tree.
Wellington finished fifth at last year's Division II sectional at Mill Creek, as 2018 graduate Allison Sprochi led the Jaguars with a 106 and Horan, Sweitzer and Bennett also competed.
Horan and Sweitzer have been the team's top scorers this season, according to Miller.
"Both are solid players, make good decisions and score well," Miller said.
Aug. 7 -- MSL-Ohio preseason at Airport
Aug. 8 -- North Union Invitational at Mill Creek
Aug. 10 -- Marion Elgin at Windy Acres
*Aug. 13 -- Bexley at Blacklick Woods
*Aug. 16 -- London at Raymond Memorial
*Aug. 30 -- Bexley at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 4 -- London at London Country Club
Sept. 6 -- Marion Elgin at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 10 -- Worthington Christian at Blackhawk
Sept. 12 -- Watkins Memorial at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 13 -- Worthington Christian and Grandview at Raymond Memorial
Sept. 18 -- MSL-Ohio postseason at Airport
Sept. 19 -- Centerburg at TBA
Sept. 20 -- Watkins Memorial at Cumberland Trail
Aug. 21 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Aug. 27 -- vs. Fisher Catholic
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Zanesville Rosecrans
*Sept. 5 -- at Harvest Prep
Sept. 8 -- vs. Dayton Christian
*Sept. 11 -- at Grove City Christian
Sept. 12 -- at Grandview
Sept. 15 -- at Columbus Academy
Sept. 18 -- vs. Granville
*Sept. 21 -- vs. Harvest Prep
*Sept. 22 -- at Rosecrans
Sept. 25 -- at Hartley
*Sept. 29 -- at Fisher Catholic
Oct. 1 -- vs. Bexley
*Oct. 3 -- vs. Grove City Christian
Oct. 13 -- at Watterson
Aug. 20 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll
Aug. 27 -- vs. Johnstown
Aug. 30 -- vs. Hartley
Sept. 6 -- at Columbus School for Girls
*Sept. 8 -- at Worthington Christian
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Whitehall
*Sept. 15 -- at Columbus Academy
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Rosecrans
Sept. 21 -- vs. Dayton Miami Valley
Sept. 24 -- vs. Fairbanks
*Sept. 26 -- at Grandview
Sept. 29 -- at Lancaster
*Oct. 1 -- vs. Bexley
Oct. 3 -- vs. Ready
Oct. 10 -- at Fisher Catholic
Oct. 13 -- vs. Central Crossing
Below are the coming schedules for the Wellington boys golf and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 8 -- St. Charles Invitational at Brookside
Sept. 10 -- Gdovin Memorial Invitational at Zanesville Country Club
Sept. 6 -- At Watterson
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Watkins Memorial
*Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian