Dublin Scioto High School boys soccer player Will Stephens could sense a different mindset as his team kicked off the season.
Although the Irish began 0-3, Stephens believes this year's team will be able to bounce back from last season's disappointing 1-13 record.
Scioto opened with 3-0 losses to Findlay on Aug. 18 and Hilliard Davidson on Aug. 22 and a 5-2 loss to New Albany on Aug. 24. The Irish led New Albany 2-1 in the first half before the Eagles scored the game's final four goals.
Sophomore midfielder Zack McQuade scored Scioto's first goal of the season on a penalty kick against New Albany, and senior midfielder/forward Haden Gill scored to give the Irish their first lead of the season.
"It's an improvement from last year," said Stephens, a senior midfielder. "Last year we only won one game, but with having some experience, we're becoming more of a team instead of individuals. We do need to work on a couple things like reacting to the ball. We need to read the ball. We have to improve on many things, but it's 10 times better than last year."
Scioto, which played Logan on Aug. 29, opens OCC-Cardinal Division play Tuesday, Sept. 5, at home against Delaware. The Irish went 0-6 in the league last year.
"It's night and day from last season," 10th-year coach Chad Snider said. "The skill level and where we should be and what we can do is night and day from last year."
Stephens and senior midfielder/forward Haden Gill are captains.
Junior Ben Bolyard has returned and is the starting goalkeeper.
Also back are seniors Matt Hilliard (defender), Shreyas Rajkumar (defender) and Andrew Zhang (defender), junior Bradley Rohrig (mid-fielder/defender) and sophomores Aidan Bunner (midfielder), Colin McKenzie (mid-fielder/defender), Marshall Smilonich (midfielder/forward), Jayden Tharp (mid-fielder/defender) and Gavin Wigg (midfielder).
Other players are senior Connor McClellan (defender), juniors Tanzim Chowdhury (midfielder), Cameron Gastaldo (mid-fielder/defender), Ryan Sheeran (forward/midfielder) and Ty Snyder (defender) and sophomores Gerardo Cebada-Argueta (midfielder) and Declan Farrell (goalie).
"Darby is tough and Jerome is always very technical," Snider said of the OCC-Cardinal. "We have a chance. We can compete with anybody. I'm not worried about that. It's just a matter of getting over that little hump and getting a couple early wins and these guys will just take off."
Girls soccer team
aims to build on 2016
The girls soccer team entered the season looking to improve on last season's 8-7-1 record.
The Irish opened by defeating Watkins Memorial 1-0 on Aug. 19 and lost to Grove City 1-0 on Aug. 22 before playing Lancaster to a scoreless tie on Aug. 26.
"Overall, the whole culture is better," second-year coach Doug Williamson said.
"We're playing better. The kids have done a good job raising their level of play. What we call soccer IQ is much higher, so that's good."
Senior forward/midfielder Brooke Woolum, who was honorable mention all-OCC-Cardinal last season, scored against Watkins Memorial.
Other key returnees are senior defender Maggie Harter (first-team all-league) and junior midfielder Brianna Jordan (special mention all-league).
Also back are seniors Natalie McFadden (midfielder) and Alli Snider (defender/midfielder), juniors Ali Adams (defender/midfielder), Jessie Hartman (def-ender/midfielder), Kiara Jones (midfielder/defender), Brianna Rogers (goalie), Mady Suba (midfielder) and Allie Vogel (forward/midfielder) and sophomore Maddie Salvator (forward/midfielder).
Junior Sabrina Veliev (forward) also returns after missing last season with an ACL injury, and sophomore Alexis McKee (forward/midfielder) is a move-in from West Virginia.
Other players are senior Dom Lombardo (defender/midfielder), sophomores Sarah Booth (for-ward/midfielder), Andrea Downing (midfielder) and Alayna Stannard (forward/midfielder) and freshman Abbey Topetzes (goalie).
Harter, McFadden, Snider and Suba are captains.
Scioto opens OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Delaware. Last season, the Irish went 1-4-1 in the league.
"We toughened up the schedule, so it's going to be a challenge," said Williamson, whose team plays at Coffman on Thursday, Aug. 31.
"We could play better overall and maybe not have a better record. At this point, we're playing pretty well."
Volleyball team faces
Because of high levels of moisture in the gymnasium floor, the girls volleyball team won't be playing anymore "home" matches this season.
Repairs to the floor were scheduled to begin Aug. 28. According to athletics director Nick Magistrale, the project could take eight or nine weeks.
Scioto played a true home match against Delaware on Aug. 24, losing to the Pacers 25-18, 25-14, 25-22 in its OCC-Cardinal opener to fall to 1-3 overall.
Magistrale and eighth-year coach Jackie Wilson were devising a schedule for the remaining home matches, with Davis Middle School being an option.
Scioto has returned five players, including senior middle hitter Madison Heasley, a fourth-year varsity player.
Also back are seniors Edan Jones (libero) and Emily Jordan (opposite hitter), junior Natalie Hutras (outside hitter) and sophomore Lauren Erickson (outside hitter).
Other players are senior Brooke Anderson (middle hitter/opposite hitter), juniors Mary Grace Hamlin (defensive specialist/setter), Sam Higley (opposite hitter) and Sydney Zupnick (defensive specialist/setter) and freshmen Abby Leonard (setter), Ashleigh Rothe (setter/opposite hitter) and Karleigh Rothe (middle hitter/outside hitter).
Heasley, Hamlin, Hutras and Jones are captains.
"We're a young group," said Wilson, whose team finished 10-12 overall and 6-6 in the OCC-Cardinal last season.
"I have three freshmen and a sophomore that might be on the court all together at any given time. I expect some ups and downs as we gain some experience, but I also have some upperclassmen who have been on varsity for three or four years, so it's a nice mix of old and new."
Aug. 18 -- at Findlay
Aug. 22 -- at Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 24 -- vs. New Albany
Aug. 29 -- vs. Logan
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Delaware
Sept. 8 -- at Big Walnut
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
Sept. 16 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
*Sept. 19 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 21 -- at Olentangy
Sept. 23 -- vs. Beechcroft
*Sept. 26 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 30 -- at Westland
*Oct. 3 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Oct. 10 -- vs. Jerome
Oct. 12 -- vs. Horizon Science Academy
Aug. 19 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
Aug. 22 -- at Grove City
Aug. 26 -- at Lancaster
Aug. 31 -- at Coffman
*Sept. 5 -- at Delaware
Sept. 9 -- vs. Mount Vernon
*Sept. 12 -- at Hilliard Darby
Sept. 14 -- vs. Ready
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 23 -- vs. Cincinnati Landmark Christian
*Sept. 26 -- at Thomas Worthington
Sept. 30 -- at Newark
*Oct. 3 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
Oct. 5 -- vs. Centennial
*Oct. 10 -- at Jerome
Oct. 14 -- vs. Chillicothe
Aug. 19 -- vs. Canal Winchester and Hamilton Township
Aug. 22 -- at Mount Vernon
*Aug. 24 -- vs. Delaware
Aug. 26 -- vs. Fairfield Christian and Franklin Heights
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Aug. 31 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
Sept. 6 -- at Pickerington Central
*Sept. 12 -- vs. Jerome
Sept. 16 -- vs. Cincinnati Walnut Hills, Sparta Highland and Upper Arlington
*Sept. 19 -- at Delaware
*Sept. 20 -- at Hilliard Bradley
*Sept. 26 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 28 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Oct. 3 -- at Thomas Worthington
*Oct. 5 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Oct. 10 -- at Jerome
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto field hockey, boys golf, girls golf and girls tennis teams:
*Sept. 6 -- At Lancaster
Sept. 5 -- Westerville North at Blackhawk
Sept. 6 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Buck Ridge
*Aug. 31 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 5 -- At Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 6 -- Home vs. Olentangy