The roster for the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys soccer team has undergone major changes since last season.

The roster for the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys soccer team has undergone major changes since last season.

The Wolves, who finished 10-4-7 overall and won a Division I district championship last fall, lost 10 players to graduation, including defenders Brian Hanks and Brett Hanna and midfielder Adam Hren.

Last season, Hanna was named first-team all-OCC-Central Division. Hren was second-team all-league and Hanks was honorable mention all-league.

Kilbourne also lost two players who were expected to return. Senior forward Charlie Reymann, who had 18 goals and eight assists last season and was first-team all-league, and junior defender Carter Grimm are playing for Crew Academy this fall.

"We only have one player returning who started every game last season," 10th-year coach Jon Sprunger said, referring to junior goalkeeper Joey Cipicchio, who had 79 saves last season and was special mention all-league. "We have three others who started some and just five (letterwinners) altogether.

"The Crew Academy decided they wanted their players to be in a 10-month system, which eliminates their players from competing in high school. I can see the pros and cons of it."

Cipicchio stopped a penalty kick with 39 seconds remaining in the first overtime of a 3-2 double-overtime win over second-seeded Gahanna in a district final last season.

"Joey tried out for one of the Crew Academy (teams) and made backup keeper," said Sprunger, whose team opens Thursday, Aug. 23, at home against New Albany. "But he's so smart and is looking for an Ivy League-type of college education, so he knows that's his ticket to college and he decided he enjoys high school soccer and wants to finish here at Kilbourne."

Seeded ninth in the district, Kilbourne beat Whetstone 6-0 in the first round, Pickerington Central 5-1 in the second round and Watkins Memorial 2-1 in overtime in a district semifinal before defeating Gahanna.

The Wolves then lost to Olentangy Liberty 2-1 in a regional semifinal as the Patriots scored the decisive goal with 55.3 seconds remaining.

In addition to Cipicchio, Kilbourne returns seniors Kyle Wahl (forward) and Cameron Gall (defender) and juniors Jake Kovacs (midfielder/forward) and Grant Nash (midfielder/ forward).

"We're a young team in experience with a heavy junior class and, for once, very few club players," said Springer, who was OCC-Central Coach of the Year last season. "We've got several multi-sport athletes but not as many with refined soccer skills, so we're still trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.

"Kovacs is a scrappy and hard-working player whose motor is always running and Nash is very physical, a real grinder with some speed. Wahl is very, very fast and aggressive and Gall should anchor our defense at center back."

Also on the team are seniors Kyle Justice (defender), Ben Lawson (defender), Tyler Martin (midfielder), Robbie Morris (utility player) and Garrett Pauly (forward), juniors Miguel Cruz (goalie), Ray Gardner (midfielder), Ian Redding (defender/midfielder), Sam Shaffer (defender) and Lucky Shaut (midfielder), sophomores Justin Jiang (midfielder/forward) and James Reymann (midfielder/defender) and freshman Josh Stoner (midfielder).

"We definitely have challenges, but most of these kids played (junior varsity) last year for a team which had one of the best records we've ever had," Sprunger said. "So they've seen success. We know there will be some speed bumps, but hopefully they can carry that success up to varsity."

Kilbourne went 3-0-4 in the OCC-Central to finish third, behind Upper Arlington (6-0-1) and Dublin Coffman (5-1-1) and ahead of Hilliard Davidson (3-2-2), Hilliard Darby (2-3-2), Thomas Worthington (2-3-2), Westland (1-6) and Central Crossing (0-7).

As part of OCC realignment this summer, Kilbourne and Darby moved to the OCC-Cardinal with Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Westerville Central, Westerville North, Westerville South and fellow newcomer Hilliard Bradley.

The Wolves begin league play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at South.

Thomas returns eight starters

Thomas, which finished 6-7-4 overall last season, opened Aug. 21 against New Albany and begins OCC-Central play Tuesday, Aug. 28, at UA.

The Cardinals, who lost to Davidson 1-0 in their opener in the Division I district tournament last year, have nine seniors and return eight starters.

"This is the opposite of last season when we had few seniors," second-year coach Josh Fenton said. "We obviously have a lot more experience and it's already been a pleasure seeing the senior mentality bubbling up. They know they only have one season remaining, so they have a more driven attitude. That carries over and increases the mentality of the entire team."

The returning starters are seniors James Burpee and Ben Carloni and sophomore Christian Quinn in the midfield, seniors Ryan Dunick and Thomas Roberts on defense, senior Jesse Green in goal and juniors Ben Frazier and Marcos Viscaino at forward.

Last season, Roberts was first-team all-OCC-Central and second-team all-district. Also earning all-league honors were Greene (second team), Burpee (special mention) and Dunick (honorable mention).

Also back are seniors Ethan Cameron (midfielder/forward), Trace Castle (midfielder), Will Edwards (defender) and Sam Nash (midfielder) and junior Carter Wright (forward). Rounding out the team are juniors Stephen Withers (defender) and Hunter Young (forward).

"We worked out in the weight room and ran together in the offseason so that we could become a more physical team," Fenton said. "We need to control the tempo and possession.

"I keep telling them that we want to be tactically superior where we're not technically superior. Since we don't have those elite club players, we need to anticipate and be in the right positions."

The Cardinals went 2-3-2 in the OCC-Central last year to place sixth. Liberty, which was the Division I state runner-up last year, and Marysville have replaced Kilbourne and Darby in the league.

"Our goal is to win our conference and make the deepest playoff run we possibly can," Fenton said. "We're a defensive team with a senior-laden defense and a senior goalkeeper. That is our strength and was last year, too. We hope to build on that and make our defense part of the attack this year.

"Our league is tough from top to bottom, maybe one of the toughest in the state. We also play a tough non-league schedule because the best way to improve is by playing the best. I think every team in our league has a legitimate chance to win the league title this year. That's how strong and balanced it is."