Whitehall-Yearling High School girls soccer coach Deanna Mascia knew there would be growing pains with her first-year program.

Whitehall-Yearling High School girls soccer coach Deanna Mascia knew there would be growing pains with her first-year program.

Although the Rams lost their first three games without scoring a goal, Mascia said she was pleased with the players' effort and willingness to learn.

"I am continually impressed with the girls never giving up no matter what the score is," Mascia said. "I try to keep them upbeat. We try to keep them positive at the end of the game. There are parts during the game that we'll give them stuff to work on."

Mascia and assistant coach Kelsi Bobbitt have seen improvement, including with the number of players on the roster, which grew to 25 once school began.

"We have girls coming to practice now. We have girls putting the work in," Mascia said. "This season is all about teaching soccer and learning the game and learning skills that will ultimately help them in life."

The Rams were 0-3 before playing Madison Plains on Sept. 6 and London on Sept. 7. Madison Plains lost at Hartley 9-0 on Aug. 30, while London was 0-3 before playing Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan on Sept. 3 and had been outscored 27-0.

Whitehall was outscored 26-0 in its first three games.

"We're working on shooting," Mascia said. "I told the girls as long as I see you using what you learned in practice in the games I'm proud because that means I'm doing my job and that means you're learning and that's what this season is going to be about. It's going to be about teaching and learning and hoping the girls come back."

Mascia said the Rams were competitive in a 4-0 home loss to Westland on Aug. 27.

"I loved playing Westland. I absolutely love the coach (Bri Stone)," Mascia said. "The caliber of girls at Westland matches ours. Our players played very well. The girls were very pumped that game."

Stone is in her first season at Westland.

The Rams lost at Liberty Union 13-0 on Aug. 23 in the program's first game. They also lost at Whetstone 9-0 on Aug. 30.

After not having a regular goalkeeper during the preseason, sophomore Cheyenne Muncy has emerged as the starter.

Mascia said junior midfielders Patricia Paredes and Paula Wilson also have played well.

Paredes is playing her first year of organized soccer and expected the team would struggle early in the season.

"We're having fun," she said. "I'm trying to learn how to play, how to pass the ball, just normal things about soccer so I can get better. I want to at least win one game because this is the first year that our school has had a girls soccer team."

Even though school has started, those interested can still join the team, Mascia said.

Football team to face Whetstone

The football team will tune up for MSL-Ohio Division play when it visits Whetstone on Friday, Sept. 9.

The Rams, who were 1-0 before playing Northland on Sept. 2, open league play Sept. 15 at Bexley.

Whetstone opened with a 9-6 win against Watkins Mem-orial on Aug. 26 and played Buckeye Valley on Sept. 2.

Whitehall and Whetstone have met each of the last three seasons, with the Rams winning 22-16 last year, 35-20 in 2014 and 32-18 in 2013.

The Braves, who compete in the City League-North Division, are seeking their first winning season since 2013 when they finished 6-4. Last season, they finished 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the league.

"Their coach (Don Poff) stresses fundamentals and he stresses kids trying to elevate their game each week," Rams coach Rod Lightfoot said. "They have some athletes over there that we have to really be concerned with."

Against Watkins Memorial, quarterback Jack Staggs was 8-for-11 passing for 101 yards with a 22-yard touchdown to Jerrimi Williams while running back Marcus Benson rushed for 70 yards on 12 carries.

Defensive back Ibrahim Sesay intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Whitehall senior lineman Seymour Pierce said a strong start to the season would boost his team's confidence and improve its postseason chances as it seeks its first playoff berth since 2003.

"The last couple of years we got off to a (slow) start and that's made us miss the playoffs, but if we start off on a good note we'll have a good beginning of the year and a good end of the year," Pierce said.

Lightfoot has high praise for his team's seniors.

"This senior class has really bought into what we're trying to do," he said. "It all started this summer when we took the kids to a camp in Chillicothe. They set the tone for what they wanted to accomplish this year."

Boys soccer team out to good start

The boys soccer team was 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Columbus Academy on Sept. 3.

The Rams are seeking their first winning season since 2010, when they started 2-1-2 and went on to finish 10-6-2.

Whitehall also had winning seasons in 2009 (11-5-1) and 2005 (10-4-2).

The Rams opened league play by beating visiting West Jefferson 8-1 on Aug. 31 as sophomore forward Lauro Guijosa scored four goals and senior midfielder Chala Mosissa had two.

Despite the strong start, coach Monica Austin said there's still plenty of room for improvement.

"I don't want to sound too overconfident because we do have a lot of areas that we still need to improve as the season goes on," she said.

"We just keep looking forward and working on how we're going to continually improve until we're recognized as one of those stronger teams in the conference."

Despite being a freshman, goalie Jared Alvarez has played well, Austin said.

"Jared has stepped up and done a great job this year," Austin said. "His confidence is improving. He's doing what we ask of him."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for

the Whitehall-Yearling cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 10 -- Northland Invitational at Beechcroft

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Grandview

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 8 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 8 -- At London

Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights and Licking Heights

Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll

*Sept. 13 -- At Grandview

*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. West Jefferson

*League contest