After winning consecutive district titles, the Grandview Heights High School boys soccer team underwent a leadership change.

After winning consecutive district titles, the Grandview Heights High School boys soccer team underwent a leadership change.

James Gerdes was hired to replace coach Brian Neidenthal, who left the program after 14 seasons. In 2014, Grandview was the Division III state runner-up, losing to Mansfield Christian 4-3 in overtime in the championship game. Last fall, the Bobcats lost to Zanesville Rosecrans 5-1 in a regional final to finish 12-6-3 overall.

Enter Gerdes, who brings in an aggressive, possession style of play.

"The players have really bought into our new possession style of offense," he said. "The conversations have been really technical and advanced, so they are a very intelligent group that wants to learn."

The Bobcats are talented throughout the lineup. Senior Kaleb Orr (second-team all-league) and junior Indigo London return at forward, and juniors Wes Ryan (second-team all-league) and Johnny Volker are back in the midfield. Seniors Alan Field (honorable mention all-league) and Atom Slaughter (honorable mention all-league) and juniors Eli Hall and Dylan Gerdes are returning defenders.

"We have played well defensively with Alan and Dylan anchoring the defense," said coach Gerdes, who has played and coached professionally in Europe. "Alan is tall and great in the air, and Dylan relies on speed and being aggressive. Eli Hall is also back there with good size and speed."

The Bobcats need to replace 2016 graduate Micah Miller, a two-year starting goalkeeper. Stepping into that role is junior Jake Kelley.

"Jake is kind of a sweeper-keeper," coach Gerdes said. "He's good with his feet and comes out (of goal) to play the ball. He's like an 11th outfield player, which is what we like. We don't want a goalie with an ice-hockey mentality. We encourage him to be part of the team and part of the defense."

Also returning are seniors Breon Backus (forward), Peter Beals (midfielder) and Zyg Stafa (midfielder), juniors Jonah Bode (defender), Eli Evans (defender), Ben Kelley (midfielder), Christian Lynch (defender) and Ben Murphy (defender) and sophomore Sam Freeman (forward).

"One thing we need to do is be a little more aggressive," coach Gerdes said. "Sometimes we're too nice. We stand off too much and need to work on being aggressive."

The Bobcats open Friday, Aug. 19, at home against Chillicothe Zane Trace in a doubleheader with the girls team. They open MSL-Ohio Division play Aug. 31 at Columbus Academy.

Last season, Grandview finished fourth (4-2-1) in the league behind co-champions Bexley and Worthington Christian (both 6-1).

Girls soccer team looks for balance

The girls soccer team is coming off a record-setting season, but 13th-year coach Mike Merna doesn't expect the Bobcats to take a step backward.

Grandview switched the lineup around several times last year, meaning 10 players return after starting games in a season when the Bobcats won their first district and regional titles.

The Bobcats won a Division III regional title by defeating Rosecrans 3-0 and won their district championship by defeating Academy 1-0.

Grandview also won its second consecutive MSL-Ohio title, going 5-0 to finish ahead of runner-up Worthington Christian (3-1-1).

"We have a pretty good core group coming back," said Merna, whose team finished a program-best 18-3-1 overall after losing to eventual state champion Cincinnati Summit Country Day 2-0 in a state semifinal. "We didn't have a set lineup so we have 18 letterwinners back and a pool of 10 players who started at times for us last season."

Seniors back in starting roles are forward Maria Claypool (honorable mention all-league; 7 goals, 7 assists), defender Lauren Collier and midfielder Molly Smith (second-team all-district first-team all-league; 4 goals, 5 assists). Defender Anna Dobies (third-team all-district, second-team all-league), defender Paige Crabill, forward Maddy James (honorable mention all-league) and midfielder Kirsten Lower are returning junior starters.

Sophomores Maddie Arndt (4 goals, 4 assists), Olivia Giriardi and Whitney Schaefee are back in the midfield.

The Bobcats lost the program's all-time leading scorer when Haley Rees graduated last spring after being named district and league Player of the Year and finishing her career with 77 goals. A forward, she had 30 goals as a senior and a program-record 36 goals as a junior.

Rees is playing at Hanover College, an NCAA Division III school in Indiana.

"You can't replace Haley individually, so we have to score by committee," Merna said. "Four years ago, we reached a district final and scored 86 goals with 11 players. We have the potential to do that again this year. It's something that makes it difficult for teams to defend."

Three-year starting goalie Izzy Esber also graduated and will be replaced by sophomore Ruby Gentile.

"Ruby has worked hard in the offseason and her game is coming along nicely," Merna said. "She is a better organizer and communicator than Izzy, and she has a good set of hands. She needs to stay focused on making the routine play."

Laura Brannan (midfielder), Kynsie Burton-Smiles (forward), Amelia Hatem (forward) Riley Henningsen (midfielder), Learin McHugh (midfielder) and Lizzy Van Deusen (defender) round out the senior class.

Freshmen Hallie Georskey (midfielder), Maddy Morosky (defender) and Addi Holcomb (goalie) also are on the roster.

The Bobcats open league play Aug. 31 at home against Academy.

Koester leading girls golfers

Sophia Koester led the first-year girls golf team in its first two outings.

The junior shot an 88 in the MSL preseason tournament Aug. 9 at Crown Hill, tying Teays Valley's Brooke DeVolld for second behind medalist Kara Godsey (82) of Worthington Christian.

The Bobcats tied Liberty Union for fifth (442) behind Worthington Christian (397), Teays Valley (400), Circleville (430) and Bexley (434) and ahead of Logan Elm (491) and London (495).

"We're pretty happy with the way she played because she has been eliminating mental mistakes," coach Ray Corbett said. "You know you will have physical mistakes on the course, but if you can handle the mental game you can keep from putting up big numbers."

The MSL postseason tournament is Sept. 19, also at Crown Hill.

One day later, the Bobcats won their first dual match, defeating Licking Heights 216-241 at Willow Run. Koester led with a 43 and Carolyn LaPrete shot a 49.

Boys golfers finish fourth in MSL opener

Luke McCollough and Matt York both shot 81 to lead the boys golf team in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 9 at Darby Creek.

The Bobcats finished fourth (339) behind Academy (298), Bexley (316) and Worthington Christian (317) and ahead of West Jefferson (357) and London (386). Academy's Cole Walter (70) was medalist.

Cam Richards (88) was next for Grandview, followed by Aaron Cincione (89), Zach Redifer (91) and Hunter Fitch (103).

The Bobcats competed against West Jefferson on Aug. 16 at Hickory Hills and do not have a scheduled match until the MSL-Ohio midseason tournament Aug. 27 at Turnberry.

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- vs. Chillicothe Zane Trace

Aug. 23 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

Aug. 25 -- vs. Circleville

*Aug. 29 -- vs. London

*Aug. 31 -- at Columbus Academy

Sept. 6 -- at Jonathan Alder

Sept. 8 -- at Centennial

*Sept. 14 -- at Whitehall

*Sept. 17 -- at West Jefferson

Sept. 19 -- vs. Wellington

*Sept. 21 -- vs. Worthington Christian

*Sept. 28 -- at Bexley

Oct. 4 -- vs. Central Crossing

Oct. 6 -- at Tree of Life

Oct. 11 -- vs. Grove City

*Oct. 13 -- vs. Grove City Christian

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- vs. Chillicothe Zane Trace

Aug. 23 -- at Hilliard Darby

Aug. 25 -- at Circleville

*Aug. 29 -- at London

*Aug. 31 -- vs. Columbus Academy

*Sept. 7 -- vs. West Jefferson

Sept. 10 -- vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

Sept. 13 -- at Fairbanks

Sept. 19 -- vs. Wellington

*Sept. 21 -- at Worthington Christian

Sept. 26 -- at Columbus School for Girls

*Sept. 28 -- vs. Bexley

Oct. 4 -- at Central Crossing

Oct. 8 -- vs. Jonathan Alder

Oct. 11 -- at Grove City

Oct. 13 -- vs. Licking Heights

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights girls golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 18 -- Teays Valley at Airport

Aug. 24 -- London at London Country Club

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 23 -- At Worthington Christian in MSL-Ohio opener

Aug. 24 -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Africentric and Patriot Prep in opener

Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Utica

*League contest