Losing a five-member senior class that included a first-team all-American means that the Dublin Coffman High School girls volleyball team entered this season with more uncertainty than in much of its current stretch of nine consecutive league and Division I district championships.

Losing a five-member senior class that included a first-team all-American means that the Dublin Coffman High School girls volleyball team entered this season with more uncertainty than in much of its current stretch of nine consecutive league and Division I district championships.

That's doesn't necessarily mean that the Shamrocks' run, which includes a state runner-up finish a year ago, is over.

"This year is different in Ohio because everybody good lost a lot," 11th-year coach Mary Anne Souder said. "People have asked me who the top five teams are, and it's really hard to say. I think there are some strong teams in central Ohio. I don't think we're ever going to change our goal of winning a state championship. I think we absolutely have an opportunity to do so."

Coffman opened Aug. 23 by beating Olentangy 25-18, 25-17, 25-22 and defeated Pickerington North 25-16, 25-16, 25-18 on Aug. 25 before losing to Cincinnati Ursuline Academy 31-29, 25-20, 25-13 on Aug. 27. The Shamrocks were 2-1 before playing Olentangy Orange on Aug. 30.

Seniors Gabby McCloy (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and Rika Yoshimura (outside hitter), junior Dana Axner (libero) and sophomores Jacy Sheldon (outside hitter) and Riley Wagoner (middle hitter) are the top returnees.

Yoshimura was named second-team all-OCC-Central Division and second-team all-district last season, and Wagoner, one of the team's tallest players at 6-foot, was special mention all-league and special mention all-district.

Junior Jenn Schulze, who was the backup setter last season, takes over at the position after the Shamrocks lost Hunter Atherton to graduation. Atherton was named Player of the Year in the league and district and made first-team all-state and first-team All-America last year and is now playing for the University of Nebraska.

Others on the team are junior Destiny Proctor (right-side hitter/middle hitter), sophomores Carmen Haefke (middle hitter), Kaitlyn Kopyar (middle hitter/right-side hitter) and Lexi Piekarski (defensive specialist) and freshmen Sadie Brown (middle hitter), McKenzie Curry (right-side hitter) and Arianna Rowe (setter).

Curry and Brown both are 6-0 and Haefke is 5-11.

Two key boys back in cross country

Of the seven runners who helped the boys cross country team finish ninth at last year's Division I state meet, five were lost to graduation.

Softening the blow of losing such a large group of seniors is that junior Lucas Bons, who finished 21st (15 minutes, 47.5 seconds) at state to earn all-Ohio honors, is one of the returnees.

Also back is junior Ryan Bosworth, Coffman's fifth finisher at state a year ago.

Two other returnees who ran faster than 18 minutes and earned letters last season are senior Joe Donnelly and junior Arnaldo Gonzalez-Calero.

The Shamrocks finished first in the OCC-Central meet last season. As part of OCC realignment, runner-up Thomas Worthington has move to the OCC-Cardinal and third-place Olentangy Liberty has moved to the OCC-Buckeye.

"We hope to compete for the league title again, and our league is much weaker than it was with us losing Liberty and Thomas Worthington," 37th-year coach Chad Biegler said. "We want to be competitive with (league incumbent) Hilliard Davidson. Our next goal after that is to go to the regional meet. We're probably going to live and die with where our No. 5 man finishes, but that's the way it is a lot of seasons."

Others looking to be key runners are senior Dean Strup, sophomore Alex Hess and freshman Alex Dediu.

Most of girls runners return

The girls cross country team returns an experienced cast as it looks to build on a 13th-place finish in last year's Division I regional meet.

Back to lead the way is junior Delaney Marsalek, who finished 50th (19:17.7) at state a year ago after taking 12th (18:57.3) at regional.

Also back after competing at regional are senior Brittany Stritar, juniors Janelle Gans and Ellie Weber and sophomore Leah Jablonski.

Others looking to contribute are seniors Aimee Gradeless and Karli Siesker, junior Mackenzie Mesher and freshmen Katherine Kinzeler and Emma Niswongger.

"With everybody we have back, we hope to be in the top 10 in the region," third-year coach Greg King said.

"Davidson's going to be really, really tough, but we should be able to get second or third in the OCC. I think probably our top five or six are going to be underclassmen, and I'd like to at least get a couple to state."

Field hockey team building around youth

With just two seniors but 17 freshmen in her program, seventh-year field hockey coach Caren Leslie is excited for the future.

Senior midfielder Shannon Aumiller, who has committed to play for Ohio University, will lead the way this fall.

The Shamrocks were 0-2 before playing Granville on Aug. 29.

"We have a really great senior in Shannon Aumiller," Leslie said. "We have a very large freshman class, so we're a little young, and we've got some freshmen on varsity. I don't want to call it a rebuilding year, but it's just a young year."

Janani Subramanian (attacker) is the other senior for Coffman, which finished 8-8-1 last season.

Juniors Maddie Mitchell (goalkeeper), Megan Murphy (defender) and Erica Steller (forward) also are key returnees.

The other juniors are Leia Goldberg (defender), Aubrey Jones (midfielder), Katy Magee (forward), Maggie March (midfielder) and Kate Weinheimer (goalie).

Also looking to contribute are sophomores Alexis Frantz (midfielder), Sophie Mitchell (midfielder) and Mary Peters (defender) and freshmen Mia Citino (midfielder/forward) and Ashley Crotty (midfielder).

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

CROSS COUNTRY

Aug. 22 -- vs. Jerome and Scioto

Aug. 27 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North

Sept. 3 -- Dual at the DeWine's at Cedarville University

Sept. 10 -- Mason Invitational

Sept. 17 -- Otterbein Invitational

Sept. 24 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster

Oct. 1 -- Midwest Meet of Champions at Hilliard Bradley

Oct. 8 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

Oct. 15 -- OCC-Central meet at Hilliard Darby

FIELD HOCKEY

*Aug. 22 -- at Olentangy Orange

*Aug. 24 -- at Thomas Worthington

Aug. 29 -- at Granville

*Aug. 31 -- vs. Olentangy

*Sept. 7 -- vs. Lancaster

Sept. 12 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

Sept. 14 -- vs. New Albany

*Sept. 19 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Sept. 21 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls

Sept. 24 -- at Kettering Fairmont

Sept. 28 -- vs. Watterson

*Oct. 3 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*Oct. 10 -- vs. Jerome

*Oct. 12 -- at Scioto

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 23 -- at Olentangy

Aug. 25 -- at Pickerington North

Aug. 27 -- vs. Cincinnati Ursuline Academy

Aug. 30 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Sept. 1 -- vs. Westerville North

*Sept. 6 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

*Sept. 8 -- at Westland

Sept. 10 -- vs. Toledo St. Ursula Academy

*Sept. 13 -- vs. Marysville

*Sept. 15 -- vs. Central Crossing

*Sept. 20 -- at Upper Arlington

*Sept. 22 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*Sept. 27 -- vs. Westland

*Sept. 29 -- at Marysville

Oct. 5 -- vs. Casstown Miami East

*Oct. 6 -- at Central Crossing

Oct. 8 -- at Painesville Riverside

Oct. 11 -- at Westerville Central

*Oct. 13 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 3 -- Celtic Invitational at Muirfield Village

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 1 -- At Olentangy Orange

Sept. 6 -- At Pickerington North

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 3 -- Home vs. Brecksville-Broadview Heights

Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Pickerington North

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 1 -- Home vs. Marysville

*Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Central Crossing

*League contest