Third-year Hilliard Bradley girls soccer coach Becky Alcox has a veteran team that is focused on success.
The Jaguars have returned 11 starters, including two goalkeepers who split time in net, from last season when they finished 8-8-2 overall and 5-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to place second behind Dublin Jerome (7-0).
"We have a lot of players back, 10 or 10 1/2 that started," Alcox said. "We have nine (returning starters) and also (junior midfielder) Sydney Malehorn, who tore her ACL and won't be back until probably the end of September.
"I also like our experience. We have a lot of girls that have been around for a long time and they are really focused."
Seniors Macy Enneking and Emily Keck both saw playing time in goal last season and will do so again this year. Enneking, who has committed to Iowa, and Keck, who is a North Carolina-Charlotte commit, both were named second team all-league a year ago.
Other key returning starters include junior defender Janna Lundy (second-team all-district, first-team all-league), junior forward Avery Jantonio (third-team all-district, first-team all-league), senior defender McKenzy Kuhn (special mention all-league) and senior forward Morgan Bowers (honorable mention all-league).
Last season, Jantonio had a team-high seven goals and Bowers scored four.
Rounding out the returning starters are senior midfielder Lauren Cerda, junior defenders Emily Marschhausen and Delaney Porter and junior forward Shea Stephens.
Juniors Korey Love and Abby Ullom complete the midfield.
"(The preseason) has been pretty good because we have done a lot of senior-led training and we have built a good foundation," Bowers said. "We have really good chemistry and that should help us.
"We play well with each other. We are not individuals; we are big on playing as a group. We flow well together and we know where everyone is on the field, and that should help."
The Jaguars opened Aug. 16 by tying Davidson at 1. They begin OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday, Aug 27, at home against Thomas Worthington.
"We have looked really good, and we have been picking up where we left off last year," Alcox said. "We need to play a little quicker in the middle of the field, and we need to focus more on our set pieces and being more purposeful running them."
Boys soccer team young but talented
Chad Snider has a young group of talented players in his second season as boys soccer coach.
The Jaguars finished 11-6-2 overall and 3-2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal last season, but lost two key players from a year ago in midfielder Ethan Love (9 goals, 5 assists; first-team all-district and all-league) and forward Jordan Mendez (7 goals, 4 assists; third-team all-district, first-team all-league).
Love graduated and Mendez did not return for his senior season.
"Experience-wise, we're a young group, but talent-wise, we're not," said Snider, whose team opened Aug. 16 with a 2-all tie against Davidson and begins league play Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Thomas. "We're talented, but we don't have a lot varsity experience. So many of the kids are new to playing varsity."
The Jaguars do have experience on the defensive end of the pitch as junior defender Rishil Patel and junior goalie Dominic Williams both return, and senior Zac Meyers and junior Devon Hess will anchor the midfield.
"Dom should be a rock for us in goal," Snider said. "The kids are hard-working, and they are willing to put in the time. They are anxious to get going. This could be a really exciting team by the time the season ends."
Hess could be a scoring threat for the Jaguars, as could two newcomers in sophomore forward Tony Baxendell and freshman midfielder Cesar Diaz.
"Right now, we have a lack of experience," Snyder said. "We have speed and physicality, but they need more varsity experience.
"Tony and Cesar are similar in stature and they are similar players. They have a quick motor and they won't give up."
Below are the coming schedules for the Bradley cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 24 -- Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North
Aug. 27 -- Marysville Nine-Hole Invitational at Darby Creek
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Cardinal at Darby Creek
Aug. 26 -- Westerville North at Raymond Memorial
Aug. 27 -- Dublin Scioto at Mentel Memorial
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Cardinal at Royal American
Aug. 22 -- At Chillicothe Unioto
*Aug. 27 -- At Thomas Worthington
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Thomas
*Aug. 22 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*Aug. 27 -- At Delaware
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Kilbourne