Despite having just two key seniors a year ago, the Beechcroft High School boys soccer team didn't take much of a step back after winning eight games in 2012.

Despite having just two key seniors a year ago, the Beechcroft High School boys soccer team didn't take much of a step back after winning eight games in 2012.

After going 7-5-2 last season, the Cougars took a more experienced roster into their opener Aug. 19 against Horizon Science.

Beechcroft, which finished fourth (5-4-2) in the City League-North Division last season behind champion Columbus International (10-1-1), opens league play Sept. 2 at home against Northland.

"It's natural that we want to improve from last year," second-year coach Shane Huey said. "For it being my first year, I was really proud of my guys.

"I know it's going to be a process, but we're in it for years three, four and five. But I think we'll actually do pretty well this year considering we only graduated three seniors."

Beechcroft should be led by senior forward Ibrahim Davis, junior midfielder Peter Darko and sophomore goalkeeper Anthony Wolff.

Senior Abass Ceesay, who also will play for the football team, is a transfer from Brookhaven who will contribute at defender.

Also at defender is senior Ibrahim Sesay, who is in his fourth year on the team.

Seniors Abdul Bundu and Daniel Bishoff and sophomore Mohammed Fadika are playing in the midfield.

Northland girls hopeto build on last year

After going 1-13 in 2012, the Northland girls soccer team improved to 6-8-1 a year ago.

Although the Vikings had five seniors last year, two of their top players -- junior Lucy Ndive (midfielder) and sophomore Alejandro Montero (forward) -- are back. Montero was the team's leading scorer a year ago, according to first-year coach Brent Sells.

"Last year was the first year they've had some success at Northland," said Sells, whose team opened Aug. 18 against Madison Plains. "I looked up previous years and there weren't too many wins. Montero and Ndive are good players."

Northland, which went 5-4-1 in the City last year to finish third behind Whetstone (9-0) and Centennial (7-2), will feature junior Taylor Williams at goalie along with senior Sarah Spillman.

Playing at defender are senior Priscilla Frimpong, junior August Poulson and freshmen Shaiekia Jackson and Esther Pascal.

Joining Ndive at midfielder is junior Maria Molina, a newcomer who is expected to be one of the team's top players, as well as senior Jasmine Caldwell and freshman Kathryn Pickelsimer.

Also on the team are juniors Andrea De La Rosa and Tamia Reed and freshman Sydnee Thompson. All are expected to be at defender.

The Vikings' league opener is Sept. 2 against visiting Beechcroft.

Sells, who previously coached track and cross country at Walnut Ridge and is a head soccer coach for the first time, took over after Tori Moore stepped down after four seasons.

Cougars tennis teamexpects big season

With no seniors in its lineup a year ago, the Beechcroft girls tennis team went 8-3 overall and finished sixth (16.5 points) in the 11-team City tournament behind champion Whetstone (95.5).

Senior Alexis Weaver, who won one singles match in the City tournament, is back after being the team's No. 1 singles player last season. She and senior Naajee Mix competed throughout the preseason for the team's top singles spot.

Beechcroft opens Saturday, Aug. 23, in the Mount Vernon Invitational and plays its league opener Monday, Aug. 25, at home against Whetstone.

"We have quite a few girls out, so we're going to be able to have a (junior varsity)," said Daphne Hess, who is in her second season as coach. "We'll have probably 15 or 16 girls when it's all said and done."

Also back after playing singles last year are seniors Karleyia Washington and Christine Wolff.

Seniors Malika Clifton, Jobita Masariegos and Reagan Thomas are experienced in doubles.

"Most of the girls hadn't played before last year," Hess said. "We've been focusing on serves a lot, and just a lot of the mechanics."

Vikings runnersexcited for season

The Northland boys and girls cross country teams opened Aug. 20 in the Hamilton Township Invitational and run Saturday, Aug. 23, in the Whitehall Invitational.

There are 14 boys out including Darius Owens, who made first-team all-league each of the last two seasons.

The Vikings finished eighth (182) in the nine-team City meet last year behind champion Whetstone (33) and then were last (434) in the 14-team Division I, district 1 meet behind champion Hilliard Davidson (29) as Owens was 78th (20 minutes, 34.08 seconds).

"This year we're hoping he can run in the 17s and win City," coach Tom Fast said.

Others competing for the boys team include seniors Matthew Burress, Zach Jordan and Morgan Lee, juniors Charles Bonsu, Octavius Kennedy, Romel Moore and Gentry Payne and sophomores Solomon Beaufort and Thaddeus Jones.

The girls were third (97) in the six-team City meet behind Centennial (33) and Whetstone (41) as 2014 graduate Mackenzie Pahren was runner-up (20:47).

Junior Sheba Beaufort is expected to be the team's top runner. Also competing are seniors Aleah Holley, Ilieshia Long and Kitashia Price, junior Nataysia Edmonds and sophomore Kiarra Price.

"I always like working with girls cross country because they're such nice girls and have good character," coach Maureen Kennedy said. "Most of the kids have 3.7 or 3.8 (GPAs) and a lot of the girls are going to drop time and run a lot of personal bests."

SCHEDULES BEECHCROFT BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- vs. Horizon Science

Aug. 25 -- at Madison Christian

Aug. 28 -- at Columbus West

*Sept. 2 -- vs. Northland

*Sept. 4 -- at Mifflin

Sept. 8 -- vs. Walnut Ridge

*Sept. 11 -- at Whetstone

*Sept. 16 -- at Centennial

*Sept. 22 -- at Columbus International

Sept. 30 -- at Marion-Franklin

Oct. 1 -- vs. Independence

BEECHCROFT GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 23 -- Mount Vernon Invitational

*Aug. 25 -- vs. Whetstone

*Aug. 27 -- at Linden-McKinley

*Aug. 28 -- vs. Columbus East

Sept. 3 -- vs. Marion-Franklin

Sept. 4 -- at Independence

*Sept. 8 -- at Northland

*Sept. 10 -- vs. Mifflin

*Sept. 15 -- vs. Centennial

Sept. 16 -- vs. Franklin Heights

Sept. 18 -- vs. Whitehall

Sept. 22, 24 -- City League coaches tournament at TBA

Sept. 25 -- at Westerville South

NORTHLAND CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 20 -- Hamilton Township Invitational

Aug. 23 -- Whitehall Invitational

Aug. 30 -- Westerville Classic at Westerville North

Sept. 6 -- Northland Invitational at Woodward Park

Sept. 13 -- Newark Invitational

Sept. 17 -- Braves Invitational at Whetstone

Sept. 27 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North

Oct. 8 -- City League meet at Walnut Ridge

NORTHLAND GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 18 -- vs. Madison Plains

Aug. 21 -- at Delaware

Aug. 28 -- at Gahanna

*Sept. 2 -- vs. Beechcroft

*Sept. 4 -- at Whetstone

*Sept. 9 -- vs. Centennial

Sept. 11 -- at Franklin Heights

*Sept. 16 -- vs. Columbus International

*Sept. 18 -- at Columbus East

Sept. 23 -- at Madison Christian

*Sept. 25 -- at Briggs

Sept. 29 -- at Columbus International

Oct. 2 -- vs. Newark

Oct. 6 -- vs. Columbus East

*League contest