When she thinks about the latest group of players to come through her program, eighth-year Watterson High School girls soccer coach Alyx Portier sees a roster that is "a bit more technical, more fit and willing to work" than in some past years.

When she thinks about the latest group of players to come through her program, eighth-year Watterson High School girls soccer coach Alyx Portier sees a roster that is "a bit more technical, more fit and willing to work" than in some past years.

Without question, the Eagles will field a more experienced team than a year ago as they aim for a winning record and try to win their sixth consecutive CCL championship.

After having four seniors a year ago, Watterson has 11 this year, including its top two scorers from last season in midfielder Juliana Rotolo and forward Priscilla Severance, who scored six and five goals, respectively.

"We have 11 seniors this year, and four of them have been on varsity since their freshman year," Portier said. "Seven of them were on varsity last year, so we have a good core group. It should be a really exciting year."

Watterson, which went 7-8-2 overall and 4-0 in the CCL last season, opens the season Aug. 25 at Dublin Jerome. It begins its league title defense Aug. 30 at home against Columbus School for Girls.

Severance's twin sister, senior Regina Severance, should be at outside back as part of a defense that also features seniors Grace Coleman and Jen Jaszek.

Joining Priscilla Severance at forward should be seniors Emily Ganz, Hope Gleason and Sam Mikula and junior Olivia Rotolo.

Seniors Allison Luckscheiter and Dena Wenzinger are midfielders along with junior Sam Nation, sophomores Elizabeth D'Sa and Sammy Francis and freshman Isabella Ginnochi.

Senior Christina Simmons is the goalkeeper.

Other defenders are juniors Betsy Gaby, Brigid O'Brien, Maura Pirrman and Maeghan Thomas.

Junior Halle Vozar, who could see time as a forward or midfielder, rounds out the roster.

"I couldn't be happier with the group of girls I get to work with," Portier said. "I'm looking for them to go far this year, and I'm extremely excited to add the players we have in the last year or two."

Boys soccer team out for steadier season

It's been a much smoother beginning to the season than a year ago for the boys soccer program.

After Chad Smith stepped down as coach after leading the program to a 63-34-8 record from 2010-14 that included one CCL and three Division II regional titles, Ed Mikula took over just before the start of last summer.

Combine a relatively late start to Mikula's coaching tenure with the fact that the Eagles had just four seniors, and the result was a 6-11 finish that included a loss in the second round of the district tournament.

"Last year we had an entirely new coaching staff and had 11 seniors from the year before," Mikula said. "So we had a new coach, a totally new game plan and I think we had a little bit of growing pains.

"I'm really big on after-action reviews, and we sat down with everybody after the season. As a result, it's been a little tougher on the kids, which is a good thing."

Watterson opens the season Friday, Aug. 19, at home against Columbus International and begins CCL play Sept. 13 at DeSales.

The Eagles are led by senior center midfielder Matt Adams, who scored 11 goals and was named first-team all-league last season.

Also making first-team all-league a year ago was senior defender Nate Meyers, while senior forward Nick Rocci and junior goalie Bryant Pratt were second-team all-league. Pratt totaled 82 saves and had three shutouts last season.

Senior forward Sam Alves and junior midfielder Gilberto Quintero should be other key offensive players after scoring five and seven goals, respectively, last season.

Daniel Cobb (midfielder), Francisco Cortes-Fontcuberta (defender), Simone' Hicks-Prieto (midfielder), Johnny Murray (midfielder) and Andrew Szczesny (defender) round out the senior class.

Other juniors are Liam Aman (midfielder/forward), Tom Anglim (defender), D.J. Brown (forward/midfielder), Zach Gilbert (midfielder), Kevin Laming (center back), Eamon McDonough (defender) and John Viola (midfielder).

The biggest loss among the four players who were lost to graduation was defender Matt Pardi, who was first-team all-league last season and is now playing for Ohio Dominican University.

"Hopefully, this season we'll do better than we did last season," Mikula said. "They're working hard and their work ethic and attitude is tremendous."

Ghidotti leading girls tennis team

The girls tennis team will be host to CSG, Dublin Coffman, New Albany, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Toledo Notre Dame Academy and Thomas Worthington in the Watterson Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Park of Roses.

Among those playing singles for the Eagles in the event likely will be junior Claire Ghidotti, who reached the second round of the Division I state tournament last season.

A sectional champion who went on to take third at district, Ghidotti is playing first singles and is one of the area's most seasoned returning players.

Watterson, which finished 10-7 overall and 4-0 in the CCL last season, opened Aug. 16 at Dayton Chaminade Julienne. Its league opener is Tuesday, Aug. 23, against Hartley at Ohio Dominican.

"Claire practiced a lot in the offseason, and I think it's going to be pretty interesting in central Ohio this year because a lot of schools just have one strong player," fifth-year coach Susan Weil said.

Senior Sarah Jonesco, who was expected to play second singles after reaching the second round of the sectional last season, could miss much of the season with a knee injury, Weil said.

Seniors Haley Rague and Bridget Fountain reached a sectional quarterfinal in doubles last season. Rague should be at second singles this year and Fountain should be at first doubles or third singles.

Senior Gabby Kappel, who lost in the first round in singles at the sectional a year ago, likely will be at third singles.

Senior Sami Morse, sophomore Jenna Mar and freshman Abbey Giesler are others looking to contribute in doubles.

"I'm only keeping seven players on varsity, with eight on (junior varsity), and we're hoping (Jonesco) can play toward the end of the season," Weil said. "I think we have a decent team. I haven't scheduled as hard of a schedule as I have in some years when we've had two or three really strong players at the top. We have some hard-working girls, and I think we'll have a pretty positive season."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- vs. Columbus International

Aug. 23 -- at Bexley

Aug. 27 -- at Granville

Aug. 30 -- at Whetstone

Sept. 3 -- at Hilliard Bradley

Sept. 8 -- vs. Dayton Carroll

Sept. 10 -- at Holland Springfield

*Sept. 13 -- at DeSales

Sept. 17 -- at Lancaster

*Sept. 20 -- vs. Ready

*Sept. 27 -- at Hartley

Oct. 1 -- at Columbus Academy

*Oct. 4 -- vs. St. Charles

Oct. 8 -- at Rocky River

Oct. 10 -- vs. Wellington

Oct. 13 -- vs. Centennial

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 25 -- at Dublin Jerome

Aug. 27 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*Aug. 30 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls

Sept. 1 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Sept. 3 -- Pickerington North at Otterbein

Sept. 8 -- at Marysville

Sept. 10 -- at Perrysburg

*Sept. 15 -- at DeSales

Sept. 17 -- vs. Olentangy

*Sept. 20 -- vs. Ready

Sept. 22 -- at Dublin Coffman

Sept. 24 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*Sept. 29 -- at Hartley

Oct. 1 -- at Grove City

Oct. 8 -- at Hudson

Oct. 15 -- at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit

GIRLS TENNIS

Aug. 16 -- at Dayton Chaminade Julienne

Aug. 19 -- vs. Toledo Notre Dame Academy

Aug. 20 -- Watterson Invitational

Aug. 22 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*Aug. 23 -- Hartley at Ohio Dominican University

Aug. 29 -- vs. New Albany

*Aug. 30 -- vs. Ready

Aug. 31 -- at Pickerington Central

Sept. 7 -- at Olentangy Orange

Sept. 12 -- vs. Wellington

*Sept. 13 -- vs. CSG

Sept. 14 -- Pickerington North at TBA

*Sept. 20 -- at DeSales

Sept. 26 -- at Olentangy

Sept. 29 -- at New Albany

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys golf, girls golf and girls volleyball teams:

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 18 -- CCL preseason tournament at Denison Golf Club at Granville

Aug. 20 -- Cincinnati Moeller Invitational at Walden Ponds

Aug. 23 -- DeSales at Champions

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 20 -- The Links at Groveport Invitational

Aug. 23 -- Olentangy Liberty at Bent Tree

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 20 -- At Cincinnati Ursuline Academy

Aug. 22 -- At Olentangy