Last year, the Bexley High School field hockey team set the program record for goals in a season, scoring 74.

Last year, the Bexley High School field hockey team set the program record for goals in a season, scoring 74.

The offensive production helped the Lions finish 13-5-1 overall and 7-3-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League, tying Dublin Coffman for fourth behind Columbus Academy (11-0), Thomas Worthington (10-1) and Watterson (7-2-2).

Olentangy Liberty (7-4), Columbus School for Girls (6-4-1), Hartley (5-4-1), Upper Arlington (6-5), Granville (5-5-1), Dublin Jerome (4-6-1), Olentangy (4-7), Olentangy Orange (2-8-1), Lancaster (1-10) and Worthington Kilbourne (0-10-1) completed the standings.

Bexley reached a district final before losing to Columbus Academy 1-0.

After losing four players who combined to provide 40 goals and 28 assists last season to graduation, ninth-year coach Kara Hardesty wonders where the firepower will come from this season.

"(The returnees) are used to having (2011 graduates) Gabby Goldach, Sam Urell and Zoe Beaumier as superstars for the team and some were content to hang back a little bit," said Hardesty, whose team opened Aug. 31 with a league game against Lancaster and plays host to Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame on Saturday, Sept. 3. "This year, we're counting on them to be leaders. They are fully capable of that."

Seniors Abby Ghitman, Emily Hart and Nikki Seletz and sophomores Kayley Barno and Courtney Peterson will play forward and sophomore Marissa Kelly will be in the midfield.

Senior Annie Adams is expected to shift between forward and defense and senior Ann Sharpe and juniors Talia Goldach, Alexis Levy and Ellie Williams will alternate between forward and midfield.

Hart had seven goals and three assists last year and Williams had four goals and three assists. Sharpe was honorable mention all-league.

Hardesty hopes that group of forwards and midfielders can step up offensively to fill the void left by Urell (21 goals, 10 assists in 2010), Goldach (14 goals, 6 assists), Beaumier (2 goals, 8 assists) and Reilly Hughes (3 goals, 4 assists). Last year, Goldach and Urell were first-team all-league and Beaumier was second-team all-league.

Senior Jade Underwood replaces graduate Diane Zanner at goalkeeper. Zanner was honorable mention all-league last year.

Senior Maddy Hess and junior Kelsey Stephenson anchor the defense with senior Maggie Janco and junior Sarah Jones rotating between midfield and defense.

Because the roster is down from 35 players last year to 25 this year, Hardesty has asked the players to learn how to play more than one position.

After losing in a district championship game the past two years, Hardesty said the Lions are confident they can take the next step.

"I can remember years ago (the players would) say to me, 'We keep losing in the second round in the tournament," Hardesty said. "Now that we've made it (to a district final twice), they actually believe we can make it to the final four."

•The girls volleyball team is looking to improve on last season, when it finished 9-14 overall after losing to Big Walnut 25-10, 25-14, 25-14 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.

"(The players) saw a taste of what they could be last year," said second-year coach Corrie Feldmann, whose team defeated New Lexington 33-31, 25-16 and lost to Fairfield Union 25-18, 22-25, 25-19 in its opening matches Aug. 27. "They're working hard to get better."

Bexley returns three seniors in Zoey Bush (outside hitter), Sarah Dressel (middle hitter/ right-side hitter) and Ainslee O'Donnell (setter/defensive specialist).

Last season, Bush (172 kills) made honorable mention all-MSL-Ohio Division and Dressel (91 kills, 10 solo blocks, 30 block assists) was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Juniors Catherine Cronk (libero) and Kate Morgan (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and sophomore Maddie Copp (outside hitter/setter) also return. Last year, Cronk had 423 digs and Morgan had 126 kills.

Also on the team are junior Camille Pipino (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and sophomores Taylor Simmons (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and Emily Munch (setter).

Copp and Munch replace graduate Kylee Soga at setter. Last season, Soga had 433 assists and made second-team all-league.

The Lions open MSL-Ohio play Thursday, Sept. 1, at Licking Valley.

Last year, they went 4-10 in the league to place sixth, behind Newark Catholic (14-0), Heath (12-2), Granville (10-4), Licking Valley (8-6) and Lakewood (6-8) and ahead of Whitehall (2-12) and Academy (0-14).

"The league is going to be just as tough as it was last year," Feldmann said. "There are a lot of teams that we didn't beat because we didn't believe we could beat them, but we're a little better prepared for them this year."