Pickerington High School North boys soccer coach Darrin Monhollen was honored with two plaques commemorating his 300 career victories before the season opener Aug. 18 against Licking Heights.

The Panthers wasted no time giving Monhollen his 301st with a 9-0 shutout of the visiting Hornets, but he and his players leave no doubts regarding their ultimate goal -- a Division I district championship that has been all too elusive in the program's first 14 seasons.

"We're very proud of what we accomplished last year," said Monhollen, whose team went 15-3-1 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division and lost to New Albany 3-0 in a district final. "We had a lot of sophomores who played a lot of minutes last year, so I think the team maybe overachieved. ...

"The expectation is we are competing for that OCC championship again and that we're competing to add to (getting to) the district final. I think those are realistic expectations on our part, and anything short of that honestly will be a disappointment for our players."

North, which has been a district runner-up five times but never won a title, was 2-1 overall before playing Westland on Aug. 29.

Sophomore forward Reece Allbaugh is the Panthers' top returning scorer, having recorded 12 goals last year, and is expected to help anchor an offense that also includes seniors Will Harr (forward) and Scott Harrington (midfielder) and juniors Luke Kenyon (midfielder), Noah Kenyon (midfielder) and Brennan Nincehelser (midfielder).

Senior goalkeeper Cole Patton backs up a defense led by juniors Brendan Khan, Kai Newman, Drew Salinas and Guillermo Zarate.

"Our big problem is trying to figure out who is going to play when, where (and) the best combinations," Monhollen said. "Maybe we won't have the same guys starting all the time. I think it makes everybody more competitive."

Rounding out the roster are seniors Mitch Frost (midfielder), Hayden Morgan (defender), Carson Rogers (midfielder), Jazz Shaw (defender), Keaton Sigman (midfielder) and Cameron Williams (midfielder), juniors Marcus Baily (midfielder), Jonathan Cunningham (midfielder), Evan Herd (midfielder) and Adam Sherry (defender) and sophomores Duvall Brannon (midfielder), A.J. Dinsmore (midfielder), Emery Mast (goalie), Corry Pulles (goalie) and Antonio Zarate (forward).

Harr scored three goals against Licking Heights and recorded another hat trick in a 3-0 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Aug. 22. The Panthers suffered their first loss of the year two days later, 2-0 at Logan.

North, which edged Gahanna (4-1) for the OCC-Ohio championship last year, begins league play Sept. 12 at Pickerington Central.

"People are setting their sights high," Monhollen said. "We're capable of it if we play well and as a team."

Forwards to pace
girls soccer team

On paper, the girls soccer team should be able to score with anybody this year.

North returns its top two scorers from last year's Division I regional championship team in junior forward Avery Hart (17 goals) and senior forward Makenzie Kelly (15 goals), and adds a player whom 15th-year coach Greg Van Kannel hopes will be another solid scoring threat in junior forward Alicia Donley.

"Any of them are a threat at any time," said Van Kannel, whose team was 2-0 overall before playing Westland on Aug. 29.

"It's a work in progress. We didn't really even hit stride until midway through the season last year. It's one of those things when you're trying to find combinations. It's going to be a struggle at times, but we've also done some pretty good things at times, too."

Last season, North went 18-3-1 overall, losing to Springboro 1-0 in overtime in a state semifinal.

Donley, who previously played for Columbus School for Girls, is a University of Tennessee commit.

"Once we get to know each other better, we will click even better than last year," Hart said. "I think we're already ahead of the curve."

Other starters early in the year have included seniors Lauren Dragich (midfielder), Kelsey Haas (defender) and Laini Warns (defender), juniors Camryn Dees (midfielder), Makenna Greer (defender), Kylie Jacobs (defender), Grace Kenyon (goalie) and Aleece Lukacsko (midfielder) and sophomore Elise Moore (goalie).

Hart and Lukacsko each had two goals in a 7-0 season-opening win over visiting Licking Heights on Aug. 18. The Panthers also defeated Hilliard Davidson 3-2 on Aug. 22.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Kaleigh Enyart (defender), Katie Thomas (forward) and Lexi Van Kannel (forward), juniors Rachel Brim (defender), Kaylin Caminiti (defender), Brandi Filippi (midfielder) and Leigha Zunich (forward), sophomores Claire Combs (midfielder) and Haley Moore (defender) and freshman Tori Haggit (midfielder).

North begins OCC-Ohio play Sept. 12 at Central. The Panthers went 4-1 in the league last year to finish second behind Gahanna (5-0), but avenged their only league loss with a 1-0 win over the Lions in a regional final.

"We are looking forward to a competitive season. We will see how everything falls together," Van Kannel said. "We have to work well as a team, and we have so far."

Girls volleyball team
has lofty goals

Although the girls volleyball team has a few holes from last year's 17-win squad, fourth-year coach April Boudreau is confident she has the players to fill them and maybe contend for the Panthers' first Division I district championship since 2012.

Seniors Ilana Sark (libero) and Julia Vermilion (outside hitter) and juniors Bri Hollingshed (middle hitter) and Megan Vayansky (setter) were among the anchors of a team that went 17-7 overall last season, losing to Watterson 25-19, 25-20, 25-10 in a district semifinal. Vermilion had a team-best 249 kills and was named first-team all-OCC-Ohio and all-district.

Hollingshed had 121 kills and led North in digs with 92.

The Panthers were 4-1 overall before playing Groveport on Aug. 29.

"When you have a year like last year where we did some unexpected things and turned some heads, it gave the girls the confidence they needed to work in the offseason and just get better," Boudreau said. "The big thing is we have some younger kids who are coming in and filling those spots, and we have to remain focused on what we need to do."

According to Boudreau, Hollingshed and Vermilion will play opposite of each other in the front row to help make up for the loss of 2017 graduate Jalisa Hollingshed, a middle blocker who had 116 kills last year. Seniors Zoie Holley (middle hitter/outside hitter) and Lauren Norwood (right-side hitter) also will figure into the rotation.

North went 3-0 in the season-opening Marysville Spike-Off Invitational on Aug. 19, defeating Jonathan Alder (25-15, 25-20), New Albany (25-19, 25-10) and Dublin Jerome (25-14, 25-15). The Panthers then swept Westland 25-6, 25-15, 25-10 in their home opener Aug. 22 before losing 32-30, 25-8, 25-22 at Dublin Coffman on Aug. 24.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Shannon Dornfeld (defensive specialist) and Kyla Sawyer (outside hitter) and sophomores Lindsey Maziarz (outside hitter), Emma Perry (outside hitter), Kaitlyn Rhoades (defensive specialist/libero/outside hitter), Peyton Roberts (middle hitter) and Lily Wittman (defensive specialist/setter).

North begins OCC-Ohio play Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Central. The Panthers went 6-4 in the league last year to finish third behind champion Gahanna (10-0).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

Schedules

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 18 -- vs. Licking Heights

Aug. 22 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Aug. 24 -- at Logan

Aug. 29 -- vs. Westland

Aug. 31 -- at Westerville North

Sept. 5 -- at Dublin Coffman

*Sept. 12 -- at Pickerington Central

Sept. 14 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*Sept. 19 -- vs. Gahanna

Sept. 21 -- at Westerville South

*Sept. 26 -- vs. Lancaster

Sept. 30 -- at Watkins Memorial

*Oct. 3 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Oct. 7- at Bexley

*Oct. 10 -- vs. Grove City

Oct. 12 -- vs. Canal Winchester

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 18 -- vs. Licking Heights

Aug. 22 -- vs. Hilliard Davidson

Aug. 29 -- at Westland

Aug. 31 -- vs. Olentangy

Sept. 5 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

Sept. 9 -- at Beavercreek

*Sept. 12 -- at Pickerington Central

Sept. 14 -- vs. Watterson

*Sept. 19 -- at Gahanna

Sept. 21 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*Sept. 26 -- at Lancaster

Sept. 28 -- vs. DeSales

*Oct. 3 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Oct. 5 -- at Granville

*Oct. 10 -- at Grove City

Oct. 12 -- at Dublin Jerome

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Aug. 19 -- Marysville Spike-Off Invitational

Aug. 22 -- vs. Westland

Aug. 24 -- at Dublin Coffman

Aug. 29 -- vs. Groveport

Aug. 31 -- at Canal Winchester

*Sept. 5 -- at Pickerington Central

*Sept. 7 -- vs. Gahanna

*Sept. 12 -- vs. Lancaster

*Sept. 14 -- at Reynoldsburg

Sept. 16 -- Pickerington North Invitational

*Sept. 19 -- vs. Grove City

Sept. 21 -- vs. Mount Vernon

*Sept. 26 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*Sept. 28 -- at Gahanna

*Oct. 3 -- at Lancaster

*Oct. 5 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

*Oct. 10 -- at Grove City

Oct. 12 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*League contest

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

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 2 -- Boys: Ashland Invitational; Girls: Westerville Classic at Westerville North

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 2 -- Pine Hill Invitational

Sept. 5 -- Lancaster Invitational at Lancaster Country Club

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 2 -- Lady Thunderbird Invitational at Lost Creek

GIRLS TENNIS

*Aug. 31 -- Home vs. Lancaster

*Sept. 5 -- At Reynoldsburg

Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Chillicothe

*League contest