Despite losing 13 players, including seven starters, to graduation and undergoing a coaching change during the offseason, the Delaware Hayes High School boys soccer team has high hopes this season.
Robb Morgan replaced Joshua Diehl as coach after having served as an assistant the past three seasons. Prior to joining the Pacers, Morgan was an assistant for the Dublin Coffman girls team for seven seasons.
Diehl, who guided Delaware for four seasons, is now the coach at first-year Olentangy Berlin, which also is in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
The Pacers are 2-1 heading into their league opener Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Hilliard Darby. They will play at Berlin on Oct. 9.
"We had a strong summer and even though we're young, I expect us to keep after it and have a good season," said Morgan, whose team defeated Mansfield Christian 7-1 in the opener Aug. 18 and Buckeye Valley 3-0 on Aug. 20 before losing at Beechcroft 2-1 on Aug. 21. "We have a bunch of tough kids who work hard and I think that will help us get a lot of takeaways and win 50-50 balls."
Last season, Delaware finished 8-5-4 overall and 2-3-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to place fifth behind champion Dublin Jerome (5-0-1).
Leading the returnees are junior midfielders Briggy Kanally and Kyle Klumpp. Kannally scored five goals against Mansfield Christian and Klumpp scored two against Buckeye Valley in a game that was shortened to 48 minutes because of bad weather.
"Briggy has an unmatched work rate and knack for the game," Morgan said. "He is a solid leader and will be instrumental in our success. We will rely on the performance and leadership of Briggy and Kyle on and off the field.
"Kyle's technical ability is second to none. His soccer IQ is the highest on the team. He reads the game as good as any high school player out there."
Also back are seniors Max Draper (forward) and Matt Thompson (defender).
"Max is hoping his tenacious work rate translates into creative attacking and scoring this year," Morgan said. "He will be a key member of this team."
Junior Brian Frisch is another leader at forward, while seniors Chase Cudia and Arvand Ossoli and junior Dylan Kiefer round out the midfield.
Joining Thompson in the back are senior Brennan Lovett and juniors Kyle Martinez and Derrick Brooks. They will try to make the job easier for senior goalkeeper Davidka McCammon, a first-year starter.
Others looking to contribute are seniors David Gray (defender), Jacob Marsch (midfielder) and Colin McGrail (defender), juniors Colin Ashworth (goalie), Sam DeLong (goalie) and Noah Smith (forward), sophomore Brian Wallace (midfielder) and freshman Jordan Malisiak (forward).
Among the graduation losses were all-league honorees in midfielder/forward Brody Kannally (first team), defenders Nate Reed (second team) and Sam Green (special mention) and goalie Noah Meehan (honorable mention). Kannally, who scored 19 goals, also was first-team all-district.
"The keys for us this year are to be tactically simple and technically strong," Morgan said. "The kids are very coachable and we had a good summer of technical training. I like the work rate and pace of this team."
Trio to lead girls soccer team
The girls soccer team had to replace 10 graduates who helped the Pacers finish 9-6-3 overall last season, marking their first winning season since 2004 when they went 8-7-2.
"We are a young team with the loss of seven starters and a senior-dominated class a year ago," said fourth-year coach Bradd Smiley, whose team was 1-0-1 before playing Watterson on Aug. 23. "Our success will be centered around how quickly we can jell as a team."
Leading the returnees are juniors Sydney McMillin, Payje Wilson and Abby Weller.
"Sydney is our leading returning scorer and she has improved in every aspect of the game," Smiley said. "We will rely on her leadership up front. Abby will start in net for the second season. She sees the field well and has good communication with the back line. Payje has moved from forward to defense. She is very athletic and brings veteran leadership to the back."
McMillin (honorable mention) and Weller (second team) were all-league honorees last season for the Pacers, who went 1-3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Dublin Scioto for fifth place behind champion Jerome (5-0-1).
Joining McMillin at forwards are seniors Grace Miller and Emma Vessels.
The midfield consists of seniors Rachel Borden and Sydney Breese and sophomore McKenzie Hayes, while Wilson is joined on defense by juniors Monica Taglione and Savanna Deibert and sophomore Maddy Green.
Senior Maya Morita is expected to contribute at forward, along with sophomores Alyssa Griner and Marissa Lovett. Freshman Taylor McMillin will help in the midfield and perhaps on defense with freshmen Hannah Halstead and Hayli Marsch. Senior McKenna Miller and sophomore K.J. Hudson are backup goalies.
Delaware opened Aug. 18 by tying Buckeye Valley at 1 and then beat Pickerington Central 5-1 on Aug. 21. The Pacers' league opener is Tuesday, Aug. 28, at home against Darby.
Griner scored against Buckeye Valley and McMillin scored three goals against Central.
"We returned a couple all-league players and we have a solid group of girls who return with some experience, but it may take us a bit to come together and play as a unit," Smiley said. "I'm sure we will see lots of improvement from start to finish during the season."
Football team getting ready for Monarchs
The football team will be looking for a bit of redemption when it plays host to Marysville on Friday, Aug. 31.
Last season, the Pacers allowed 339 yards rushing in a 35-0 loss to the Monarchs, which marked the largest point discrepancy in the series since 2000 when Marysville won 42-15.
Marysville won eight consecutive meetings through 2007 before the series was interrupted. The teams have split their four meetings since the series resumed in 2014.
The Monarchs, who finished 4-6 last year, opened Aug. 24 against Jonathan Alder. That same night, Delaware played Buckeye Valley in Scott Wetzel's debut as Pacers coach.
Walker Heard has returned at quarterback to lead Marysville's wing-T offense. He rushed for a pair of touchdowns against the Pacers last season. Chase Kilgore and Brody Lewis are expected to get the bulk of the carries at running back, and second-year coach Brent Johnson said the Monarchs will pass more often this season with Mike Bonzak and Blaine Williams as the main receivers.
Mike Powers has returned to lead the linebacking corps in the Monarchs' 4-3 defense, while Bonzak and Bodie Eberhart are expected to be key players in the secondary and Tyler Connolly, Ethan Smegal and Ben Warden will see time on the line.
Sophomore quarterback Blake Eiland ran for 90 yards on eight carries against Marysville last year.
Aug. 18 -- at Mansfield Christian
Aug. 20 -- at Buckeye Valley
Aug. 21 -- at Beechcroft
*Aug. 28 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
Sept. 8 -- at Mansfield Madison
Sept. 11 -- vs. Groveport
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 18 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 22 -- at Fairbanks
*Sept. 25 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 26 -- vs. Whitehall
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
Oct. 4 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Oct. 9 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Oct. 11 -- vs. Teays Valley
Aug. 18 -- at Buckeye Valley
Aug. 21 -- at Pickerington Central
Aug. 23 -- vs. Watterson
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
Aug. 30 -- vs. Olentangy
*Sept. 4 -- at Dublin Scioto
Sept. 6 -- vs. Reynoldsburg
Sept. 8 -- at Kenton
*Sept. 13 -- at Thomas Worthington
*Sept. 18 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
Sept. 22 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*Sept. 25 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 27 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Oct. 2 -- at Dublin Jerome
*Oct. 9 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
Oct. 11 -- at Dublin Coffman
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes cross country, boys golf, girls golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 1 -- Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion
Aug. 28 -- Marysville at Darby Creek
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek
Aug. 27 -- Gahanna and Worthington Kilbourne at Jefferson
Aug. 29 -- OCC-Cardinal at Cooks Creek
Aug. 30 -- Olentangy Berlin at Scioto Reserve
Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Marion Harding
*Aug. 28 -- At Hilliard Bradley
Aug. 29 -- At Watkins Memorial
*Aug. 30 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Aug. 28 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
*Aug. 30 -- At Hilliard Bradley