With eventual Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year Luke Kiley leading the way in 2017, the Dublin Coffman boys soccer team reached a Division I state semifinal for the first time.
According to coach Brian Stoddard, the Shamrocks already have shown one of the same characteristics that could help them make another deep postseason run.
Coffman has won eight consecutive district championships, including last season when it lost 3-0 to St. Charles in a regional semifinal to finish 14-3-3 overall.
"This team probably thus far has shown the best attitude and leadership that I've seen in my fourth year here," Stoddard said. "We've got some seniors that seem bound and determined to make sure things go the right way. We've been able to instill our beliefs and a system of play to give ourselves an opportunity to get out of the gate really well."
Coffman, which opened Aug. 17 with a 2-0 win over Brunswick, has an 11-member senior class.
The top returnee is Connor DesRoches, a 6-foot-2 senior who could see time at both midfielder and forward after recording 13 goals and six assists and being named first-team all-league last season when the Shamrocks finished first in the OCC-Central Division at 4-0-1.
Coffman begins its league title defense Sept. 10 at Hilliard Davidson.
Senior midfielder David Urrea Partida and junior forward Ryan Sommerfeld return after earning second-team all-league honors and junior goalkeeper Trent McConnaughey is back after being named honorable mention all-league.
Senior Joe Gallo missed last season with an injury but should be a key midfielder and senior Hussein Ali should lead the defender unit.
Seniors John Fuchik (forward) and Cade Williams (midfielder), juniors Jack Bailey (forward) and Braden Shoaf (midfielder) and sophomore Alex Anderson (defender) also should take on key roles.
Rounding out the seniors are Leo Alvarez (forward), Luke Lister (midfielder), Andrew Rappach (forward), Roshan Singri (midfielder) and Josh Yokum (defender).
Others looking to contribute include juniors Felipe Flores Cruz (midfielder), Sean Gore (defender), Jered Harper (goalie) and Lucas Sarver (defender), sophomore Soshi Tanaka (forward) and freshman Andre Roberts (midfielder).
"It's Coffman, and the expectation at minimum is a district title," Stoddard said. "We haven't lost a home game in my time with Coffman, so there's some great records there. But at the same, it puts some real positive pressure to carry on the Coffman tradition of excellence and take another step this year. This team is another talented team."
Most of girls soccer team has returned
A large group of players who helped the girls soccer team win a combined 23 games the past two seasons have returned this fall.
Six seniors and four juniors are expected to lead the way for the Shamrocks, who finished 11-4-3 overall last season after going 12-2-4 in 2017.
Also last season, Coffman went 4-0-1 in the OCC-Central to win its second consecutive league championship and lost in a Division I district semifinal for the second year in a row.
"We're excited to begin the 2019 season and are fortunate this year to be led by a talented group of seniors," fourth-year coach Costa Kalorides said. "As a program, we'll rely on the experience and ability of the senior class to help us have a successful season."
Coffman opened Aug. 16 with a scoreless tie against Olentangy Liberty in a rematch of a game the teams tied at 1 last season. The Shamrocks begin league action Sept. 10 at home against Davidson.
Senior midfielders Emma Barthel, Kinsey Crabtree and Lara Schober are the top returnees, with all three earning first-team all-league honors last season. Crabtree had five goals and two assists.
Junior forward Catherine Zugaro was the team's leader in goals last season with seven and was second-team all-league along with senior defender Ashleigh Burris. Junior forward Addie Vaccari was special mention all-league and had five goals and four assists.
The other seniors are Simone Rivard-Roberts (forward/midfielder) and Kendra Siefker (defender).
Sophomore Olivia Alford returns at goalie.
Rounding out the roster are juniors Amanda Bailey (forward) and Mackenzie Duff (midfielder/defender), sophomores Sydney Blake (midfielder), Lizzie Elliott (forward), Julia Flynn (midfielder), Tara Flynn (defender), Neve Mayer (defender), Norah Roush (midfielder/defender) and Lauren Widman (defender) and freshmen Kacey Collier (defender) and Bella Paoletti (defender).
"We have a strong group of upperclassmen and will rely on them to lead the program in addition to underclassmen that we expect to contribute at a high level," Kalorides said. "With this year's group, we feel strongly that any player that steps on the field will be able to perform and maintain the standard of our program that we've been building over the last few seasons and that has traditionally been part of Coffman soccer."
Below are the coming schedules for the Coffman cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 24 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Aug. 26 -- At Granville
*Aug. 28 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Aug. 22 -- Olentangy Liberty at Kinsale
Aug. 26 -- Centerville Invitational at Yankee Trace
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Central at Apple Valley
Aug. 22 -- Liberty at Scioto Reserve
Aug. 26 -- Orange at Blackhawk
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Central at Mentel Memorial
Aug. 24 -- Home vs. Olentangy
Aug. 27 -- At Orange
Aug. 24 -- Home vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit
Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Orange
*Aug. 22 -- At Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 24 -- Eagle Invitational at New Albany
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Westland
Aug. 28 -- Home vs. Columbus School for Girls
Aug. 22 -- Home vs. Pickerington North
Aug. 27 -- At Olentangy Orange