The Delaware Christian School boys soccer team lost only one player to graduation and is gearing up for a run at the MOCAL championship with senior Austin Hill leading the way.

The Delaware Christian School boys soccer team lost only one player to graduation and is gearing up for a run at the MOCAL championship with senior Austin Hill leading the way.

A forward, Hill was first-team all-district in Division III and was the MOCAL Player of the Year after scoring 17 goals. Fifth-year coach Aaron Welsh has been impressed with Hill's maturity and unselfishness early this season after moving him to the midfield.

"He's playing a lot more under control and he's showing that he's much more team-oriented," said Welsh, whose team finished 8-8-2 overall and 3-2 in the MOCAL. "We're trying to make him a more well-rounded player and he's working hard at that."

Hill played in the midfield for a Columbus Crew select team this summer and that helped him become more of a team player, according to Welsh.

"We're looking for a lot of production from him, maybe two goals and an assist per game," Welsh said. "I know just by his attitude, work ethic and maturity that he'll easily have more assists than last season."

Hill is one of eight seniors returning from a team that lost to Horizon Science Academy in the second round of the district tournament.

Evan Callis, a senior defensive midfielder, returns after earning second-team all-league honors last season when the Eagles finished third behind Tree of Life (5-0) and Madison Christian (4-1) and ahead of Gahanna Christian (2-3), Grove City Christian (1-4) and Northside Christian (0-5). Northside will not compete in the league this season.

"Evan is indispensable, we can put him anywhere on the field and he'd shine," Welsh said. "But he's our best defender and we also need him to create passes for Austin. He also plays the ball overhead to (Jeremy) Buchanan very well and he takes our free kicks."

Buchanan, the lone sophomore on the roster, is a forward who was honorable mention all-league a year ago.

The rest of the senior class includes John Bocanegra (defender), Austin Conn (goalkeeper), Quinn Davenport (stopper), Arvin Griffin (midfielder/defender), Josh Griffin (forward) and Ben Wells (midfielder/forward).

Juniors include Jason Art (defender), Josh Blakemore (defender), Laura Bush (forward) and Michael Kapraly (forward). Rounding out the roster are freshmen Michael Desrosiers (defender), Luke McGrath (goalkeeper/forward), Joey Miser (midfielder), Jessica Kapraly (defender), Phillip Scoles (midfielder) and David Tobin (defender).

"Josh Griffin has been the early surprise with his improvement and I also expect a much better year from Arvin Griffin," Welsh said. "Buchanan is stepping up tremendously and, with his speed and improved footwork, I think he's our next Austin Hill in the making."

•The girls volleyball team lost four starters to graduation, including a pair of all-district performers.

But coach Jackie Boggs is confident in her squad's ability as the Eagles embark on a path to match or better last season when they finished 14-9 overall and 7-5 in the MOCAL.

"I think we have another group that will produce a solid season and compete well in the league even though we're a younger team," said Boggs, who returns after moving to Indiana last year because of her husband's work. "We only have one senior, but we picked up four girls and two of them have played club volleyball."

The lone senior is outside-hitter Pam Stricklin. Returning juniors are right-side player Heidi Evans and defensive specialist Ashleigh Hovda. The other returnee is sophomore libero Sarah Harp.

Newcomers are junior outside hitter Hayley Huston, sophomore middle-hitter Becca Hughes, sophomore setter Haley Kirby and freshman middle-hitter Lenora Boyer. Huston and Boyer are new to the school and Hughes and Kirby are new to the program.

"Kirby and Hughes gained a lot of strength and speed in a summer conditioning program," said Boggs, who been head coach of the program for six years and assistant for one year, as well as coach of the basketball team for eight years overall. "Boyer has been playing club and Huston has also played club in the past. We really have a solid core."

The Eagles tied Gahanna Christian and Northside Christian for second place in the MOCAL last year as Madison Christian (11-1) won. Fairfield Christian (5-7), Tree of Life (5-7) and Grove City Christian (0-12) rounded out the standings.

In the Division IV district tournament, Delaware upset seventh-seeded Danville 19-25, 25-20, 12-25, 25-18, 15-11 in the second round before falling to third-seeded Fisher Catholic 25-19, 25-23, 25-15 in a district semifinal. Fisher Catholic won a district championship.

"The girls gained some experience and confidence last year and with the athleticism we have this year, I've got tons of options," Boggs said. "We can switch from a 5-1 on offense to a 6-2 without trouble and we have three options for serve-receive every time we rotate."