While holding an alumni day Aug. 10, the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys soccer program honored the 2009 Division I state championship team and retired 2011 graduate Wil Trapp's No. 20.

While holding an alumni day Aug. 10, the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys soccer program honored the 2009 Division I state championship team and retired 2011 graduate Wil Trapp's No. 20.

Trapp, who was the National High School Player of the Year as a senior in 2010 and now plays for the Columbus Crew, helped the Lions go 41-1-2 over his final two prep seasons.

It was the kind of day that new coach Matt Kovach hopes will have an impact on his players.

"The hope is that the varsity guys will see the work that went into that state championship and will see the amount of pride and want to come out and work," Kovach said. "We always preach that you always stand on the shoulders of those who came before you. It's great to have them interact with all of those (former players)."

Kovach, who has coached in the program the last three years, has been pleased with the work ethic he's seen so far.

He took over after Todd Keenan stepped down to become dean of students at New Albany. Keenan led the Lions to a 26-4-8 mark in two seasons.

Back from the team that went 11-2-5 overall last fall and won at least a share of Gahanna's 10th consecutive OCC championship are senior Tim Geary and juniors Nick Christoff, Jace Lukasko and Cole Popelas at midfielder, senior defender Alex Alatsis and senior forward Mike Metz. Christoff was honorable mention all-league.

The Lions open Friday, Aug. 22, at Dublin Coffman and play host to Groveport on Tuesday, Aug. 26, in their OCC-Ohio Division opener.

"We've been very pleased with the progress," Kovach said. "We're returning nine letterwinners, but these guys have to step into bigger roles."

The Lions have 12 seniors.

Lukasko led Gahanna in goals (6) and Christoff led in assists (7) a year ago.

The biggest question mark heading into the offseason was who would replace 2014 graduate Christian Grimme at goalkeeper.

Senior Jordan Holder and junior Devin Ruff are the top players at the position after Grimme was named OCC-Ohio Player of the Year. He now plays for Case Western Reserve.

Joining Alatsis on defense are seniors Derek Maddy, Tyler Neese and Duncan Thomas.

Also at midfielder are seniors Mitch Bauman, Brad Leonard and Alex Will.

Junior Eli Crognale, who has played for the Columbus Crew Academy's fall team the last two years, will be at forward along with junior Kennedy Mensah.

Gahanna lost nine players to graduation. In addition, senior Chad Barrick, who was special mention all-league last year, decided to play football this fall.

"Our No. 1 goal every year is always to win the OCC," Kovach said. "We've talked about this being the fifth-year anniversary of the state championship team and all the things that have happened in the past, but we also want to remind them that their story has yet to be written."

Girls soccer teamlooks to bounce back

With nearly 60 players in the program, up from 46 a year ago, and with several key returnees, girls soccer coach Natasha Churches is looking to have her team take a step forward.

Gahanna, which opened Aug. 19 at Worthington Kilbourne and travels Tuesday, Aug. 26, to Groveport for its OCC-Ohio opener, went 5-10-2 a year ago.

"It's going to be a big year," said Churches, whose last name was Ballard before she got married in June. "I actually told the girls that I've never seen the amount of mentorship that I'm seeing this year. They're all leading by example."

Gahanna returns three of its five players who received league honors a year ago.

Sophomore midfielder Alison Smitley, who made first-team all-league, will be out for the first few weeks because of an injury, according to Churches.

Junior Remi Eades is back at forward after making second-team all-league, and sophomore Morgan Marquez will lead the defense after being special mention all-league.

Senior Erica Schrader, who played for the Lions as a freshman but competed for the Ohio Premier fall team the last two seasons, has returned and will be at midfielder. She has committed to Akron.

Also expected to play midfielder are senior Katy Karper, junior Teagan Pfister and freshmen Mia Dragich and Molly Rose.

Joining Marquez at defender are junior Megan Hersey and freshmen Allison Groves and Madison Hansen.

Sophomore Carly DeSalvo-Sexton and freshman Kaylee Hensley will play goalie.

Senior forward Jenna Holder, who scored in Gahanna's 2-1 loss to Kilbourne in the first round of the Division I district tournament, is expected to miss the season because of a knee injury, according to Churches.

The Lions also lost 2014 graduates Mary Kate Munz (midfielder), who was first-team all-league and now is at Ohio Northern, and Sara Richards (defender), who was honorable mention all-league.

Maggie Donnellan, who played for Capital, is serving as an assistant coach.


Aug. 22 -- at Dublin Coffman

*Aug. 26 -- vs. Groveport

Aug. 30 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*Sept. 2 -- at Newark

Sept. 4 -- vs. Westerville Central

*Sept. 9 -- at Reynoldsburg

Sept. 11 -- at Dublin Jerome

Sept. 13 -- vs. Olentangy

*Sept. 16 -- vs. Lancaster

Sept. 18 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*Sept. 23 -- at Grove City

Sept. 27 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

*Sept. 30 -- at Pickerington North

Oct. 4 -- vs. New Albany

*Oct. 7 -- vs. Pickerington Central


Aug. 19 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

Aug. 21 -- at Columbus Academy

*Aug. 26 -- at Groveport

Aug. 28 -- vs. Northland

*Sept. 2 -- vs. Newark

Sept. 4 -- at Westerville Central

Sept. 6 -- vs. New Albany

*Sept. 9 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Sept. 13 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*Sept. 16 -- at Lancaster

Sept. 18 -- at Thomas Worthington

Sept. 20 -- vs. Watterson

*Sept. 23 -- vs. Grove City

*Sept. 30 -- vs. Pickerington North

*Oct. 7 -- at Pickerington Central

Oct. 9 -- at Westerville South

*League contest