Following the loss of 12 players to graduation, the Dublin Jerome girls soccer team understands that there is uncertainty surrounding who will fill some of its key roles this season.
What is unquestioned is that the Celtics have proven time and again that they are capable of reloading.
Jerome is coming off a season in which it went 15-4-1 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division and captured a Division I district title. The league championship was the Celtics' eighth in a row.
The Celtics opened Aug. 16 with a 1-0 loss to defending Division I state champion Beavercreek. They begin league action Tuesday, Aug. 27, at home against Worthington Kilbourne.
"We definitely have a new group," fifth-year coach Kelly Brothers said. "Pretty much half of our team is brand new to varsity, but it should be a good year. Off the field, they're all great friends, so we should have good team chemistry."
Seniors Riley Mullady (center midfielder/forward) and Sophie Magilligan (forward) and juniors Sydney Browning (defender) and Nicole Ogden (midfielder) are expected to lead the way.
Mullady has been a key player since her freshman season and was named first-team all-league last season and Magilligan was second-team all-league, with both being among the team's leading scorers. Mullady has committed to Louisville.
Browning, an Ohio State commit, split time last season between defender and forward but should play mostly in the back this fall.
Senior Natalie Coontz, an Ohio Wesleyan commit, returns at goalkeeper after earning honorable mention all-league honors a year ago but has been out with an injury.
Junior Sam Melican also is a strong option in goal, according to Brothers.
Seniors Laine DeWalt, Kristen Francis and Megan Sullivan are returning forwards and senior Elyse Muresan and junior Kirsten Mitchell return at midfielder.
Seniors Ellie Browning and Katie Razor are at center back.
Freshmen Sophie Penegore (defender/midfielder) and Ava Watson (outside back) also are expected to be key players.
Others looking to contribute include seniors Julia Burch (forward), Alyssa Heinlen (defender), Lily Kiefer (midfielder) and Ellen Swift (midfielder), junior Piper Lockwood (midfielder) and sophomore Maya Fuller (defender).
"It's definitely a different mix from last year," Brothers said. "I look around and this is a whole new team, but they get along really well off the field."
Boys soccer team expects to stay solid
The boys soccer team followed up winning a trio of Division I district titles by finishing as a district runner-up last season.
The Celtics, who went 9-6-5 overall and 4-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal to tie Scioto for second behind Worthington Kilbourne (6-1), opened Aug. 16 with a 3-0 win at Cincinnati Sycamore. They begin league action Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Kilbourne.
"We've got a pretty veteran group," 16th-year coach Nate Maust said. "It'll be interesting to see if they can find their mojo. I obviously have high expectations for them, but ... they haven't really realized their potential quite yet."
Leading an eight-member senior class are Young Mu Lee (forward), Jacsen Luthy (defender), Connor Moser (defender) and Eric Sunderhaus (forward). Luthy was first-team all-league last season and the other three made the second team.
Sunderhaus might not be available until September because of a back issue, Maust said.
The other seniors are Tyler Dring (forward), Vishal Kumar (outside back), Manny Morales (outside back) and Antony Yang (forward). Morales was special mention all-league a year ago and Yang made honorable mention.
Also at forward is junior Simon Cole, while junior Crossen Schoch is at attacking midfielder.
Juniors Charlie Kane and Ethan Smythe are other midfielders and junior Devin Howard is at defensive midfielder. Junior Nicholas Campagni also could see time at defensive midfielder as well as at center back and outside back.
Juniors Arvin Alam, Andrew Butcher, Luke Laufenberg and Andrew Rozsits provide depth in the midfield.
Junior Nitin Sanga returns at goalie and will be backed up by sophomore Kyle Chonko.
"The team will revolve around (Lee) offensively and around Luthy on defense for the most part," Maust said. "We've got 11 really quality juniors. Obviously, the seniors are the ones that are going to make this team and help this team reach the potential they have. They're a good leadership group, so I'm counting on that first and foremost."
Below are the coming schedules for the Jerome cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 24 -- Girls: Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Aug. 24 -- At Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
Aug. 26 -- Centerville Invitational at Yankee Trace
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek
Aug. 26 -- Lexington Invitational at Westbrook
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Cardinal at Royal American
Aug. 23 -- Home vs. Upper Arlington
*Aug. 27 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 24 -- Home vs. Hudson
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
*Aug. 22 -- At Olentangy Berlin
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
*Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
*Aug. 27 -- At Berlin