During its first two seasons under coach Marc D'Auteuil, the Olentangy Liberty boys soccer team lost its only game to a central Ohio program when it fell to Westerville South 3-2 in a shootout in a Division I district final in 2017.
Continuing that consistency, which included winning all 17 of the games the Patriots played against central Ohio teams last season, is among the motivating factors this fall.
Liberty went 18-3 overall last year with two losses to Cincinnati Moeller, including 1-0 in a shootout in a state semifinal. Its other loss was 2-0 to eventual state semifinalist Cleveland St. Ignatius to close the regular season.
"We've got 14 kids back," D'Auteuil said. "A lot of things have got to fall into place for us to do what we want to do and what we're capable of doing. The area is going to be good again and it's always tough to win a district title and win our league. We've got to make sure health-wise that we stay healthy. We're going to need a couple new faces to step up and grow into the season. Finding that motivation to bring it every night we have a game (is something that) for the most part I've been happy with."
Liberty opened with a 3-0 victory Aug. 16 over Thomas Worthington and plays its OCC-Buckeye Division opener Sept. 10 at Orange.
The top returnees are senior center back Blake Collins, who has committed to Ohio State, and senior center midfielder Tyler Harris. Both were first-team all-league last season as the Patriots went 5-0 to capture the title.
Senior forward Jaggar Brooker, who was the team's leader in goals a year ago, and senior center midfielder Luke Sensky were second-team all-league.
Senior forward Ludwig Conrad, a Wright State commit who was special mention all-league, and senior Theran Handlon, who was honorable mention all-league, also have returned.
The other seniors are Marcello Aguilar (goalkeeper), Nick Belt (midfielder), Greyson Follmer (defender), Liam Garcia (forward), Nate Logozzo (defender) and Graydon Shook (forward).
Others looking to contribute include juniors Jayson Castellanos (forward), Jack Cruise (defender) and Luke Ettefaugh (midfielder), sophomores Parker Cameron (defender) and Riley Carrier (midfielder) and freshman Adi Rajmohan (midfielder).
"It's a new year, and every time you slide out a couple kids it's amazing how the whole dynamic changes," D'Auteuil said. "This is the most seniors I've had as a coach, so we'll see how that plays out. It's good to have a lot of experience coming back. A lot of them have played some very big games."
Girls soccer team looks to bounce back
After reaching a Division I state semifinal in 2017, the girls soccer team couldn't overcome a 2-7-2 start and had its 2018 season end with a 4-2 loss to Dublin Jerome in a district semifinal.
The Patriots finished 6-10-2 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye but return key players throughout the field.
On Aug. 16, Liberty opened with a scoreless tie against Dublin Coffman, which went 11-4-3 last season and returns nearly its entire team. The Patriots open league action Sept. 10 against Orange.
"(Last year) was definitely a learning experience for me because it's very different when you take on the head-coaching role," second-year coach Hillary Carter said. "Last year the girls were adjusting to my approach and I do think we learned a lot about what we need to do. This year I've tried to put my touch on things a little bit more."
The top returnee is senior Addi Moeller, a special mention all-league honoree who leads the defense.
Senior forward Emma Lindsey also returns after making honorable mention all-league.
Senior Maddie Kelley was the backup goalie last year but has taken over the starting role.
Senior Caitlin Curmode, juniors Nora Gilger and Victoria Susi and sophomore Sami Sincek also are defenders. Senior Elisa Koshan is a defensive midfielder.
Joining Lindsey at forward are senior Abigail Towne, juniors Rachel Davidson, Audrey Petrucci and Sydney Rohl and sophomore Jazlyn Brooker, with junior Quinn Casey serving as an attacking midfielder along with seniors Mia Hill and Miranda Stefanik.
Others looking to contribute include senior midfielders Grace Linscott and Bess Mosier.
"We have (a few) sophomores that we pulled up as practice players at the end of last year and I envision all of them getting significant time, and we have a good group of juniors," Carter said. "We have a good mix of veteran leaders and also some good, solid knowledge of the expectations."
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 24 -- Baron Blast at Buckeye Valley
Aug. 24 -- At Dayton Oakwood
*Aug. 28 -- At Olentangy
Aug. 22 -- Dublin Coffman at Kinsale
Aug. 26 -- New Albany at New Albany Country Club
Aug. 27 -- OCC-Buckeye at Denison Golf Club
Aug. 22 -- Coffman at Scioto Reserve
Aug. 24 -- The Fall Open at New Albany Links
Aug. 28 -- OCC-Buckeye at Blacklick Woods
Aug. 24 -- At Gahanna
Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
Aug. 24 -- At Oregon Clay
Aug. 27 -- At Davidson
*Aug. 22 -- At Orange
Aug. 24 -- Eagle Invitational at New Albany
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Westerville South
Aug. 22 -- At Gahanna
Aug. 24 -- Toledo St. Ursula Invitational
*Aug. 27 -- Home vs. Davidson