Expectations change little from year to year for the Worthington Christian High School boys soccer team.
After losing in back-to-back Division III district finals in 2015 and '16, the Warriors beat Wellington 1-0 for a district title before losing to Mansfield Christian 3-1 in a regional semifinal last fall.
Making another deep postseason run remains Worthington Christian's aim, despite fielding a roster that returns just three starters and has only five seniors.
"We're a young team," 11th-year coach Dan Roads said. "We will have many chances to grow and improve into a competitive team. We have many hard-working and respectful players that possess the potential to make this a great year. ... Our goal is to once again reach a district final and carry on the traditions that the programs and teams have set previously."
The top returnees are senior Ian Davison (center back), junior David Rettstatt (defender) and sophomores Levi Yoder (midfielder) and Ethan Kraynak (goalkeeper).
The other seniors are Andrew Han (midfielder), Grant Ostermeyer (def-ender), Andrew Rider (midfielder/forward) and Peter Sherfey (defender).
Junior Daniel Cardenas and sophomore Tyler Kindberg are the top forwards.
Worthington Christian split its first four games, losing to Westerville South (3-0 on Aug. 17) and Wellington (3-2 on Aug. 21) and beating Madison Christian (4-1 on Aug. 23) and Tree of Life (2-1 on Aug. 25).
The Warriors' game Aug. 29 against Grandview was postponed and was not immediately rescheduled, and they lost to Dayton Christian 5-1 on Sept. 1 to fall to 2-3.
Also on the roster are juniors Josh Burton (defender), Bryce Lawrence (midfielder), Ben Place (defender), Brien Wall (forward) and Alex Williams (defender), sophomores Scott Ruane (defender), Zach Thomas (midfielder) and Trent Wenger (midfielder) and freshmen Tommy Anthony (forward), Caleb Denorme (goalie) and Kael Oosterbaan (midfielder).
Football team set to face Spartans
The football team could face its toughest task this season when it travels Friday, Sept. 7, for its first meeting with Marion Pleasant.
The Spartans have made back-to-back Division V, Region 18 playoff appearances, including last year when they went 10-2 and were regional runners-up.
Worthington Christian opened with a 20-13 win over Springfield Northeastern on Aug. 24 and lost to Galion Northmor 48-26 on Aug. 31.
Pleasant opened with a 40-7 win over Lewistown Indian Lake on Aug. 24 and beat Fredericktown 43-7 on Aug. 31.
Against Indian Lake, the Spartans attempted just two passes and had 11 players carry the ball, with Patrick Blubaugh rushing eight times for 125 yards and two touchdowns and adding an interception on defense and returning a punt for a touchdown.
Against Northmor, Worthington Christian gave up 355 yards rushing, including 262 yards and three scores to Conor Becker.
Also in that game, Lucas Hartings completed eight of 22 passes for 91 yards with one touchdown and Michael Hartings rushed 14 times for 72 yards.
Girls soccer team off to strong start
Before playing Columbus Academy on Sept. 5, the girls soccer team was 2-0-2 overall and 1-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division.
The Warriors' game Sept. 1 against Westerville North at Mapfre Stadium was postponed.
Worthington Christian, which was runner-up in the league last season at 4-1-2 behind Academy (6-0-1), played Grandview to a scoreless tie in its league opener Aug. 29.
Seniors Alanna Raikes (midfielder) and Grace Todd (forward), juniors Mianna Hartings (forward) and Eliana Styer (midfielder) and sophomore Riley Myers (forward) are the top returnees from last season, when the Warriors went 9-6-4 overall.
Other key players include juniors Lillia Bishop (midfielder) and Maddie Skidmore (midfielder) and sophomore Alex Friedman (goalie).
Also on the roster are seniors Ella Bishop (defender), Caroline Lawrence (defender), Tara Leneghan (defender), Hailey Mast (midfielder) and Kate Tomallo (defender), junior Hannah Schuler (midfielder), sophomores Erin Davidson (midfielder) and Maya Kurzen-knabe (midfielder) and freshmen Blessing King (forward) and Paige Tomallo (midfielder).
"I have high hopes for this group," third-year coach Steve Raikes said. "We return a fair number of starters, and I believe if they work hard and want to compete, they could have a nice year. I'm more focused on how we finish the year than the beginning."
Volleyball team working on defense
The girls volleyball team is looking to develop its "team identity," according to third-year coach Lorraine Smith.
After losing six players to graduation, the Warriors have a revamped lineup this fall.
After going 2-1, including losing to Shekinah Christian 25-14, 25-20 in the championship match of their home Warrior Invitational on Sept. 1, Worthington Christian was 3-4 overall.
The Warriors are 1-1 in the MSL-Ohio a season after going 18-6 overall and finishing runner-up in the league at 8-2 behind London (10-0), which is no longer in the league.
"We'd like to win the conference. That's the team's first goal," Smith said. "We also want to develop a stronger back row to support the good hitters that we have. Right now, that's our weak link, but they're getting stronger back there with every practice. We need to develop a team identity."
The top returnees are seniors Betsy Cunningham (lib-ero/defensive specialist/outside hitter), CeCi Dalton (setter) and Smith (right-side hitter) and juniors Maddie Patrick (specialist/outside hitter).
Rounding out the senior class are Isabelle Gilham (outside hitter) and Cassady Wolf-inger (defensive specialist).
Also on the roster are juniors Claire Dalton (libero), Libby Dalton (setter), Mary Lake (outside hitter) and Izzie Slaughter (middle hitter) and sophomores Alyssa Frumkin (middle hitter/outside hitter) and Hannah Walters (lib-ero/defensive specialist).
Aug. 25 -- Baron Blast at Buckeye Valley
Sept. 1 -- Westerville North Classic
Sept. 8 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 15 -- Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park
Sept. 22 -- Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster
Oct. 6 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Grandview
Aug. 17 -- vs. Westerville South
Aug. 21 -- at Wellington
Aug. 23 -- vs. Madison Christian
Aug. 25 -- vs. Tree of Life
*Aug. 29 -- at Grandview
Sept. 1 -- vs. Dayton Christian
*Sept. 5 -- vs. Columbus Academy
*Sept. 12 -- at Bexley
Sept. 18 -- at Licking Heights
*Sept. 19 -- vs. Whitehall
Sept. 25 -- vs. Grove City Christian
Oct. 1 -- vs. Watterson
Oct. 4 -- at Delaware
Oct. 6 -- at Mansfield Christian
Oct. 11 -- vs. Hartley
Oct. 13 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Aug. 17 -- vs. Westerville South
Aug. 21 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Aug. 25 -- at West Liberty-Salem
*Aug. 29 -- vs. Grandview
Sept. 1 -- Westerville North at Mapfre Stadium
*Sept. 5 -- at Columbus Academy
*Sept. 8 -- vs. Wellington
*Sept. 12 -- at Bexley
Sept. 15 -- at Johnstown
Sept. 18 -- vs. Licking Heights
*Sept. 19 -- at Whitehall
Sept. 25 -- vs. Buckeye Valley
Sept. 27 -- at Delaware
Oct. 2 -- vs. Fairbanks
*Oct. 6 -- at Zanesville Rosecrans
Oct. 11 -- at Hartley
Aug. 21 -- vs. Centerburg
*Aug. 23 -- at Grandview
Aug. 25 -- vs. Berne Union
*Aug. 30 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Sept. 1 -- Warrior Invitational at home
Sept. 6 -- at Delaware Christian
Sept. 8 -- at Ready
Sept. 11 -- vs. Westland
*Sept. 13 -- vs. Whitehall
Sept. 18 -- at Fairfield Christian
*Sept. 20 -- at Bexley
Sept. 22 -- at Liberty Union
*Sept. 27 -- vs. Grandview
Sept. 29 -- vs. East Knox
*Oct. 2 -- at Columbus Academy
Oct. 4 -- at Columbus School for Girls
*Oct. 9 -- at Whitehall
*Oct. 11 -- vs. Bexley
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian boys golf, girls golf and girls tennis teams:
Sept. 8 -- Worthington Christian Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 9-10 -- Kiely Cup at Canterbury
Sept. 6 -- Bexley at Blacklick Woods
Sept. 10 -- Wellington at Blackhawk
Sept. 6 -- At Granville
Sept. 10 -- At DeSales
*Sept. 11 -- At Wellington