With her career on the Gahanna Lincoln High School girls soccer team winding down, there are a few things Madison Hansen is hoping she and her teammates can accomplish, and there's at least one thing she's eager to achieve individually.

The Lions are coming off a season in which they went 18-1-2 and reached a Division I regional final, and they plan to be in the mix for another deep postseason run again this fall.

As for Hansen, whose team also is battling to defend its OCC-Ohio Division championship, she's hoping she can complete a rare streak.

Beginning with Gahanna's 2-0 victory over Worthington Kilbourne to open the 2014 season and heading into her team's game Oct. 3 against Lancaster, the senior defender -- along with senior goalkeeper Kaylee Hensley -- had made 65 consecutive starts.

"I haven't missed a game, and I want to continue to do it," Hansen said. "I've been fortunate enough, and hopefully it lasts all season."

The Lions, who were 7-1-3 overall and 1-0-2 in the league before playing the Golden Gales, close the OCC-Ohio schedule Tuesday, Oct. 10, at home against Pickerington Central.

Pickerington North, which beat Gahanna 2-1 in a regional final last season, played the Lions to a scoreless tie Sept. 19. Gahanna also tied Grove City at 1 on Sept. 26.

The Lions were second in last week's Division I area coaches poll behind North.

While Hensley was the ThisWeek Super 12 captain last fall when she finished with 15 shutouts, Hansen's contributions haven't been overlooked by coach Bob McGee since he took over last season.

With Hensley and Hansen leading the defense, the Lions entered the week a combined 47-9-9 since the beginning of 2014.

"(Hansen's) kind of an unheralded player," McGee said. "She's probably one of the best sweepers I've coached. She flies underneath the radar, but when you see her in a game, she's phenomenal."

Hansen has spent most of her soccer career at defender but also has experience playing forward at the club level because at times she "had the biggest foot" on her team.

"For club I play forward because I know the defenders and know how to get by them, but I like high school better because I can play defense all the time," Hansen said.

Hansen and Hensley, who also spent years playing on the same club teams, will team up at the next level as well after both committed to the University of Charleston.

Hansen is interested in studying to become a nurse. Her mother, Gaye Hansen, is a nurse at Champion Middle School.

"(Hensley and I are) best friends, and she committed there because she wanted a small school," Hansen said. "She told me about it and said I'll get you in contact with (one of their coaches), and he called me the next day."

Girls cross country
team coming together

Learning how to be "cerebral" is what girls cross country coach Ernie Ziegler has made a point of emphasis to his runners.

"They have an opportunity to do some amazing things," Ziegler said. "It's been a bit of a learning experience for them."

Led by senior Claire Steigerwald, the Lions appear to be rounding into form with the season's biggest meets approaching.

On Sept. 30 in the 15-team Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club, Steigerwald won the title in 19 minutes, 7.7 seconds as the Lions scored 30 points to capture the team championship.

Freshman Elise Wunderlin took third (19:43.5) while senior Maddie Larick (sixth, 20:18.0), sophomore Riley Dickson (eighth, 20:20.2) and juniors Ari Redmond (12th, 20:42.0), Areli Ramos-Ochoa (15th, 20:48.2) and Hannah Schlegel (26th, 21:40.6) also competed.

Sophomore Tara Shope is another who could factor into the Lions' plans as they prepare for the OCC-Ohio meet Oct. 14 at Lancaster as well as the postseason.

"Once we can get them to realize their true potential, you'll see Gahanna be a dangerous team," Ziegler said.

Boys runners prep
for OCC, postseason

The boys cross country team hopes its pack continues to move up behind senior Jason Mehalic.

On Sept. 23, the Lions were seventh (265) in the 22-team Centerville Stampede behind the champion and host Elks (99) as Mehalic was 18th (16:14.0)

He was followed by senior Tyler Story (60th, 17:01.6), sophomore Riley Jackson (63rd, 17:03.1), freshman Steffano Molina (72nd, 17:09.2), sophomore Ryan Mehalic (84th, 17:17.6) and senior Connor Ryan (104th, 17:32.3).

Junior Evan Pfeifer and freshmen Donovan Hight and Isaac Mair are others who have contributed.

"We've had to replace the large majority of our guys, and we're pleased with the way the sophomores and freshmen have replaced some older guys," coach Ryan Beck said. "We still have room to grow. Really it's just about our varsity pack continuing to gain ground on the packs of Lancaster, Pickerington North and Pickerington Central."

Boys, girls golfers
begin postseason

The boys and girls golf teams opened the postseason Oct. 3.

The boys competed in a Division I sectional at Turnberry, with the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advancing to the district tournament Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Apple Valley.

The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams at district move on to the state tournament Oct. 20 and 21 on Ohio State's Scarlet Course.

On Sept. 26, the Lions closed the regular season with a 151-168 victory over Reynoldsburg at Little Turtle as Mitchell Soma was medalist with a 35.

The girls began the postseason in a Division I sectional at Mentel Memorial, with the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advancing to district Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Cooks Creek.

The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams at district move on to state Oct. 20 and 21 on Ohio State's Gray Course.

On Sept. 30 in the 12-team Canal Winchester Invitational at Westchester, the Lions finished third (342) behind Upper Arlington (310) and New Albany (330).

Gahanna also competes Saturday, Oct. 7, in the Fall Classic at Cooks Creek.

Tennis team
set for sectional

The girls tennis team opens the Division I postseason with a sectional Thursday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 7, at Pickerington Central. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 12 at Hilliard Bradley and Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington.

The Lions lost to Thomas Worthington 3-2 on Sept. 28 but closed the regular season Oct. 2 with a 3-2 victory over Westerville Central.

At sectional, the doubles team of seniors Natalie Chen and Reegan Pomponio is seeded fourth and the other doubles entrant is seniors Ankita Satish and Sara McCloud.

Senior Jennifer Jackson, junior Rachel Becker and sophomore Maddie Herrmann will compete in singles.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington

BOYS SOCCER

Oct. 7 -- At Olentangy

*Oct. 10 -- At Pickerington Central

GIRLS SOCCER

Oct. 7 -- At Watkins Memorial

*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Oct. 5 -- At Lancaster. The Lions beat the Golden Gales 25-12, 25-10, 25-14 on Sept. 14.

*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central. The Lions beat the Tigers 25-15, 25-18, 25-20 on Sept. 19.

*League contest