Having returned four of its top five athletes, the Columbus School for Girls golf team is aiming for a berth in the Division II state tournament this season.
The Unicorns narrowly missed advancing to state last year, shooting a 382 at district at Darby Creek to place third behind champion Bloom-Carroll (379). The Bulldogs won a fifth-score tiebreaker against Worthington Christian (379) to earn the only state berth.
"The girls were very disappointed last year to just miss getting out and that shows me how important it was to them," fourth-year coach Chris Ditello said. "But they seem to have used it for motivation because they're entering the season more prepared. They're hungry and they realize they have potential.
"Each one of them knows they could have saved at least one or two shots over 18 holes (at district) and that's what was behind a stronger offseason commitment. They competed in junior tournaments and attended clinics and it was easy to see that in their scores during the tryouts."
Returning to the lineup are senior Vera Mehra, juniors Kate Kramer and Caroline Kromalic and sophomore Emily Bruce.
Kramer, Bruce and Kromalic had the team's top averages last season when the Unicorns won the CCL postseason tournament after tying DeSales in league duals at 7-1. However, the Stallions won the season tiebreaker with fewer combined total strokes in the preseason and postseason league tournaments.
CSG has moved to the MSL-Ohio Division with Bexley, Buckeye Valley, Columbus Academy, Grandview, Wellington, Whitehall and Worthington Christian.
Also on the roster are sophomore Sienna Basso-Schricker and freshman Emma Kim.
"We've got a number of strong freshmen who will grow their games on the j.v. level and could be ready to join the varsity by the end of the year," Ditello said. "The line between Nos. 6 and 12 is pretty thin."
Competing in the MSL-Ohio preseason tournament Aug. 6 at Airport, the Unicorns finished first (353) ahead of Bexley (362), Buckeye Valley (399), Worthington Christian (400) and Academy (411). Grandview and Whitehall do not have teams and Wellington did not have a team score.
CSG opened league dual play Aug. 12 against Worthington Christian at Airport.
Field hockey team seeks improvement
The field hockey team has some strong returnees and is looking to build around them in hopes of improving on last season's 5-11 record.
"There is some great leadership on this team and they communicate well with each other and they support each other," seventh-year coach Jessica Schirner said. "We've got six or seven very solid players back and it looks like we have some great underclassmen, but it's tough to name a starting lineup this soon."
The Unicorns, who went 2-6 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-East last season to place seventh behind champion Academy (8-0), open Monday, Aug. 19, at Olentangy Berlin. They begin league play Aug. 22 at Academy.
Senior midfielders Maura Donnelly and Ellen Monahan are back to lead the way. Monahan was honorable mention all-league last season and Donnelly is a third-year starter.
"Ellen is our returning center midfielder and she is fast," Schirner said. "I believe she will be our leader on the field. Maura and Ellen work very well together and will help lead the younger players."
Also returning are juniors Gabby Anthony (defender), Olivia Barry-Wilson (goalkeeper), Kayla Carpenter (forward), Jolien Kusi (defender) and Charlotte Love (defender).
"Kayla Carpenter has been working in the offseason and her stick work and shot have really improved," Schirner said.
"Gabby Anthony and Charlotte Love are great defenders. They're very patient and smart."
Seeking to fill spots are seniors Amirah Lomax (defender) and Grace McNeil (defender) and sophomores Grace Edic (forward), Sarah Lonser (forward), Gia Noel Manokas (forward), Kiera Rennick (defender) and Elizabeth Schrim (forward).
Also on the team are freshmen Sophia Baker, Jacey Cassandra, Kayla Kirby (goalie), Payton Lafferty, Ffion Love and C.C. Seamon. As of last week, all but Kirby had yet to be assigned a position, Schirner said.
"Our goals are to have a positive season, play with great sportsmanship, grow together, build a better team together and have fun," Schirner said.
Tennis team has experience, depth
Having some experienced returnees and some strong newcomers, sixth-year tennis coach Sean Delaney is excited about his team's depth this season.
However, his excitement is tempered somewhat by the health of senior Helen Hoag, a two-time Division II district qualifier.
"Helen is a seasoned player, but she will be missing part of the season with a medical situation but will continue to offer her leadership both on and off the court," Delaney said.
Last season, Hoag and 2019 graduate Rosie Gliatis finished third in doubles in a home sectional before losing their first-round district match at Reynoldsburg.
Also returning from last year's postseason lineup are seniors Megan Hardy, Sophia Perry and Haley Tobias and junior Sophia Vershinin.
When Hoag is out of the lineup, Delaney anticipates Vershinin playing first singles.
"(Vershinin) has really come into her own as a tennis player and will bring a steady singles game to our lineup," Delaney said.
Junior Maya Garg and freshman Lanie Klatt are expected to complete the singles lineup.
"Lanie is a ninth-grader who brings hard work, strong tennis skills and intense competitive spirit to the table," said Delaney, whose team finished 4-10 last season. "We have some good, young talent entering the program, so depth is one of our greatest attributes. With a total of 22 girls (in the program), we have a lot to offer."
In doubles, Hardy and Tobias will be paired, Perry will be paired with junior Emma Young and junior McKenna Merriman and freshman Maya Carpenter likely will be partners. Delaney plans to use all three combinations.
The Unicorns, who open Saturday, Aug. 17, with the annual CSG Doubles Invitational, are excited about moving from the CCL to the MSL-Ohio. Their first MSL-Ohio match is Tuesday, Aug. 20, at home against Worthington Christian.
"We're looking to learn more about our opponents in our new conference and we want to perform at a high level both on and off the court," Delaney said. "That would be another successful season."
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus School for Girls cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball teams:
Aug. 17 -- OHSAA Early Season Invitational at National Trail Raceway
Aug. 19 -- Galion Northmor Invitational
*Aug. 15 -- Bexley at Blacklick Woods
*Aug. 19 -- Wellington at Blacklick Woods
Aug. 20 -- Olentangy Liberty at Scioto Reserve
Aug. 15 -- At Hamilton Township
Aug. 19 -- At Central Crossing
Aug. 17 -- CSG Doubles Invitational
Aug. 19 -- Home vs. Dublin Scioto
*Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
Aug. 19 -- At West Jefferson
Aug. 20 -- Home vs. Bloom-Carroll