Having lost 12 players to graduation, Hilliard Davidson High School boys soccer coach Dan Hoover knew his team was entering the season with several question marks.

The 2017 senior class helped the Wildcats reach the Division I state final in 2015 and a district final last season, but Hoover is confident his current players can keep the success going.

Davidson was 2-1 before playing Lancaster on Aug. 29. The Wildcats opened by winning at Bradley 2-1 on Aug. 18, and they can lock up the Hilliard Cup when they visit Darby on Thursday, Aug. 31.

"That's a good way to start the season," said Hoover, who is in his fourth season. "We made a goal to get that first leg of the Hilliard Cup. We knew Bradley was gunning for us. As young as we are, I'm very happy with where we're at right now."

The Wildcats defeated visiting Dublin Scioto 3-0 on Aug. 22 and lost at Olentangy Liberty 3-0 on Aug. 24.

The top returnees are senior midfielder/defender Luke Pet-ersen and junior midfielder/forward Coby Stover.

"We love each other," Petersen said. "We're one of the closest teams I've ever been a part of. There are no divisions between us. We just all trust each other (and) get along real well, and that helps us on the field."

Also back are senior Daniel Waid (midfielder), junior Alex Larzelere (midfielder) and sophomores Josh Burton (defender), Sean Carrier (midfielder/forward), Carter Ely (defender/forward), Jackson Lightfoot (forward) and Charlie Riddle (defender).

Carrier is the kicker on the football team, and Lightfoot is the punter.

The Wildcats have several new players, including two move-ins. Hoover expects junior forward Radames Rosales from Mexico and sophomore midfielder Daiki Matsuoka from Japan to contribute.

Freshman Lorenzo Nieves has been the early starter in goal in place of 2017 graduate David Hoyle, who was special mention all-OCC-Central Division last season.

"Lorenzo is very polished for his age," Hoover said. "He made a couple huge saves (against Bradley). He knows the game and he's stepping right in. The guys have rallied around him. Losing Hoyle last year, we really haven't made a step back."

Other players are seniors Vince Isabelle (defender), Mo Jahshan (forward), Christian Morales (midfielder), Stu Weinstein (forward) and Ryan Woodford (defender), juniors Dominic Canestraro (midfielder), Tony Flores (forward), Eric Goya (midfielder/forward), Evan Hill (defender) and Cameron Lilly (goalie), sophomore Avery Book (defender) and freshman Peter Nash (midfielder).

"We talk about brotherhood a lot and they are a bunch of brothers," Hoover said. "They really stick up for each other and they really work hard in practice and they do everything you expect. We try to set the culture here to have a lot of discipline and have a lot of a positive mindset and work ethic and that's what they do."

Among the key graduation losses were defender Ryan Schoener, who was first-team all-district and all-league and second-team all-state, and forward Tanner Montgomery, who was first-team all-league and third-team all-district.

The Wildcats open OCC-Central play Sept. 12 against visiting Dublin Coffman. Last season, the Wildcats finished 10-6-3 overall and went 2-2-1 in the league to place fourth behind the champion Shamrocks (5-0).

"Obviously, it's a rough road in our OCC with Coffman, and Marysville is going to be very good this year," Hoover said.

Girls soccer coach
begins second season

The girls soccer team is looking to improve on last season's 9-4-3 finish.

The Wildcats were 1-2-1 before playing Lancaster on Aug. 29.

After losing to Bradley 4-1 on Aug. 18 and Pickerington North 3-2 on Aug. 22, Davidson defeated Granville 3-2 on Aug. 24 and tied New Albany at 2 on Aug. 26.

"We're a young team. We lost eight seniors last year," second-year coach Heather Coonfare said. "We have a couple weeks until (league play) starts and we want to grow every game, and this is definitely a learning experience for us. We had a lot of girls step up to varsity, so they have to get used to varsity level play."

The returnees are led by senior Emily Wile (midfielder), junior Sydney Brown (forward/midfielder) and sophomore Sonia Vargas (midfielder/forward), who were second-team all-league. Senior Riley Harper (midfielder/forward) was special mention all-league, and sophomore Alivia Wile (forward/defender) was honorable mention all-league.

Also back are seniors Gillian Losey (forward/midfielder), juniors Audrey Kaufman (forward) and Lauren White (goalie) and sophomore Erin Kodger (defender).

Senior defender Kendra Luppino also returns after missing last season with an ACL injury.

Other players are juniors Christina Gillotti (midfielder), Alexandra Lenko (forward) and Sydney Ryan (forward/mid-fielder), sophomores Ellie Brorein (defender), Aidan Everett (midfielder), Tessa Gundrum (goalie), Emily Sculli (defender) and Gretta Syrett (midfielder) and freshmen Megan Harper (midfielder) and Grace Royer (forward).

Davidson is looking to defend its OCC-Central championship after going 4-0-1 last season for its first league title since 2010.

The Wildcats open league play Sept. 12 at Coffman.

Girls volleyball team
features new look

The girls volleyball team has a new look as it seeks a return trip to a Division I district final.

The Wildcats, who fell to Gahanna 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 in the district final, lost several key players to graduation. Middle hitter Kendyl Paris, who was named district and league Player of the Year, is now playing at the University of Kentucky.

"You have to move on," 19th-year coach Betty Cameron said. "You can't live in the past. You have to look for the future and make best of the situation and get the girls ready for the next season."

Senior outside hitter Lauren Sampson and junior middle hitter Emilee Fecht were second-team all-league last season, and sophomore outside hitter/middle hitter Elyse Simensky was honorable mention all-league.

Also back are senior Sydney George (outside hitter) and sophomore Maria Salamony (defensive specialist).

Other players are juniors Brooke Barrington (setter), Hannah Neal (right-side hitter) and Malia McWherter (defensive specialist), sophomores Grace Fry (defender specialist) and India McCruter (right-side hitter/middle hitter) and freshman Bri O'Connor (setter).

McWherter is a move-in from North Carolina, and McCruter is a transfer from Central Crossing.

Davidson opens league play Tuesday, Sept. 5, against visiting Coffman. Last season, the Wildcats finished 21-3 overall and went 8-2 in the league to place second behind the Shamrocks (10-0).

The Wildcats were 0-4 before playing Liberty on Aug. 29.

"We're playing together," Cameron said. "Obviously, we have to fine-tune some areas, but we are playing together and playing hard and going after everything, so that's a good thing."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 18 -- at Bradley

Aug. 22 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

Aug. 24 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Aug. 29 -- vs. Lancaster

Aug. 31 -- at Darby

Sept. 5 -- at Olentangy Orange

Sept. 7 -- vs. New Albany

*Sept. 12 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

Sept. 14 -- vs. Pickerington North

*Sept. 19 -- at Upper Arlington

Sept. 21 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 26 -- at Central Crossing

*Oct. 3 -- vs. Westland

Oct. 5 -- vs. Olentangy

*Oct. 10 -- at Marysville

Oct. 12 -- vs. St. Charles

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 18 -- at Bradley

Aug. 22 -- at Pickerington North

Aug. 24 -- vs. Granville

Aug. 26 -- vs. New Albany

Aug. 29 -- at Lancaster

Aug. 31 -- vs. Darby

Sept. 5 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Sept. 7 -- at Grove City

*Sept. 12 -- at Dublin Coffman

Sept. 14 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 19 -- vs. Upper Arlington

Sept. 21 -- vs. Canal Winchester

*Sept. 26 -- vs. Central Crossing

*Oct. 3 -- at Westland

*Oct. 10 -- vs. Marysville

Oct. 12 -- at DeSales

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 22 -- vs. Lancaster

Aug. 24 -- at Olentangy Orange

Aug. 26 -- Darby and Pickerington Central in Sharon M. Huesman Memorial at home

Aug. 29 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Aug. 31 -- vs. Olentangy

*Sept. 5 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 7 -- at Upper Arlington

*Sept. 12 -- at Central Crossing

*Sept. 14 -- vs. Westland

Sept. 16 -- at Mansfield Madison

*Sept. 19 -- at Marysville

Sept. 21 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

Sept. 23 -- at Bradley

*Sept. 26 -- at Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 28 -- vs. Upper Arlington

Sept. 30 -- vs. Big Walnut and Gahanna

*Oct. 3 -- vs. Central Crossing

*Oct. 5 -- at Westland

*Oct. 10 -- vs. Marysville

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson cross country, boys golf, girls golf and girls tennis teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 2 -- Hot Summer Bash at home

BOYS GOLF

Aug. 31 -- Reynoldsburg at Thorn Apple

Sept. 2 -- Pickerington North Invitational at Pine Hill

Sept. 6 -- Olentangy Liberty at Heritage

GIRLS GOLF

Aug. 31 -- Westerville Central at Royal American

Sept. 5 -- Thomas Worthington at Mentel Memorial

Sept. 6 -- Centerburg at Wyandot

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 31 -- At Central Crossing

*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Westland

Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Big Walnut

*League contest